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Friday, April 22, 2011

Barbara Kay: Lean times for Middle East’s useful idiots

On April 18 and 19 Jews in the Diaspora gathered to their family’s and friends’ seder tables to celebrate Passover. The seder is the single most-observed ritual amongst Jews, even those nominally atheist, because it celebrates liberation from slavery, the defining event of Jewish peoplehood, and a story that speaks to the heart of all who have known oppression.

Precisely because it is sacred to Jews, the seder in recent years has been appropriated by leftwing Jews, eager to prove their loyalty to the rabidly Israel-hating mafia known as the Israel Apartheid Week (IAW). In their “third seder,” they turn the narrative of Jewish liberation from pharaonic oppression upside down and assign the role of victims to the Palestinians with the Hebrews – i.e. Israel – cast as the wicked and rebarbative Pharoah.

I haven’t heard a word about a third seder this year. In fact, one doesn’t hear much from the IAW crowd at all these days. They are lying low from embarrassment, it seems, because events have conspired to ridicule their obsessive fixation on Israel as the sole cause of Arab misery and the only Middle East player whose alleged sins cry out for justice.

There’s the infamous Goldstone report, for one. In his UN-mandated investigation into the 2009 report on the Israel-Gaza conflict, South African judge Richard Goldstone, relying solely on Palestinian accusations condemned Israel for deliberately targeting civilians.

With its UN stamp of approval, the report gave a huge boost to anti-Israel activism, even though it was widely understood by all objective observers at the time that Goldstone was a shill for the UN, coming to a foregone conclusion in a script that had been virtually written for him before he began. In an op-ed in the Washington Post earlier this month, Goldstone finally acknowledged that an internal Israeli investigation had convinced him that Israel had not committed war crimes and had not targeted civilians. This was not good news for the IAW crowd.

Then there’s all these uprisings in Arab countries. According to the IAW scenario, all would be well in the Arab world if only those murderous Israelis would end their occupation of Palestinian lands. But what are they to make of people rising up in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria to denounce their oppressive leaders and demand all manner of reform – without a word about Israel as the source of their unhappiness? The uprisings have proven that in the scheme of things, Israel has been a scapegoat used by the dictators now under siege to take their people’s minds off their real troubles.

The IAW is finally starting to take a hit on campus too. Like all bullies, the IAW only thrives when it has little or ineffectual opposition. After years of virtually uncontested domination of campus life, opposition groups have jelled and strengthened. Ordinary people have grown sick of IAW’s mindless hatred, their righteous self-aggrandizement, their intimidation of protesters and their degradation of the principles of academic freedom. In the last few years we have seen robust blowback against them. The wind of the anti-Israel zeitgeist is no longer in their sails.

The best example of this blowback is the surge of public revulsion in Toronto toward Queers Against Israel Apartheid (QUAIA), an Israel-hating, and Jew-intimidating group that parasitically insinuated itself into the annual Pride parade some years ago. A determined campaign by gays devoted to maintaining Pride as a safe place for everyone galvanized public opinion and encouraged politicians to take a principled stand. QUAIA withdrew recently under a cloud of opprobrium. Symbolically this is a huge victory – not for Zionists, but for fairness and justice.

The final blow to the IAW’s Big Lie that Israel is the source of all wrongs in the Middle East was the recent slaying in Gaza by an al Qaeda splinter group of naïve Italian “activist” Vittorio Arrigoni. Arrigoni was attached to the “International Solidarity Movement” (ISM), a group attracting the kind of passionate but totally ignorant “idealists” who believe all Palestinians are innocent victims and Israel a Nazi state bent on their annhilation. Like many other grievance-collecting groups, the ISM claims to be about anti-racism and peace, but in fact serves as a useful idiot for terrorists and anti-Semites. Jihadis who couldn’t care less who their western “friends” are, and kill them indiscriminately because they are western, are really not the kind of people a credible political activist group wants to be associated with. It’s tough to stand up for Hamas when they are a hair’s breadth less monstrous than al Qaeda.

But the IAW are associated with them, and by their own choice. By condoning, and therefore enabling, terrorism against Israel for years in the name of “liberation” and other such pernicious bromides, the IAW movement has been lying down with very dangerous dogs. Now they should not be surprised that they are covered in fleabites, never an attractive sight in the public forum of ideas.

Toronto Pride 2010: Minor tension over Queers Against Israeli Apartheid