Tuesday, April 3, 2007
With Jewish intellectuals attacked as anti-Semitic by supporters of Israel, Israeli filmmaker and academic Haim Bresheeth* makes the case for a cultural boycott of his home country
A Very Good Article Contributed by Lucia
By Haim Bresheeth
"Over the last few months a campaign of vile propaganda has been waged, not for the first time, against liberal Jewish intellectuals who have angered the dominant Jewish communities of the main Western countries.
The charge? Anti-Semitism, no less. In different communities, an accusatory finger is pointed at those Jewish thinkers and artists who have dared to criticise Israel and its illogical, barbaric and counter- productive policies and actions. Anyone who strays from the simple line of full support for whatever Israel chooses to do, however infuriating, is tarred with the brush of anti-Semitism, used as a magical incantation against heretics outside the Zionist faith.
In Paris, the Philosopher Alain Finkielkraut found it acceptable to blame an Israeli filmmaker, Eyal Sivan, with more than anti-Semitism -- incitement to murder of Jews -- just for making a film, Route 181, with Palestinian Filmmaker Michel Khleifi. The film, a sophisticated expose of conditions for Palestinians within Israel and in the occupied territories, questions Israel's record of brutality and lawlessness. Nowhere in the film do they call, or condone calls, for any harm against Jews or Israelis. The film was widely shown in Israel itself, where the filmmaker works and teaches......
Across the pond, the American Zionist lobby, not known for its subtlety or adherence to simple facts, has found new victims, having managed to isolate the Linguist Noam Chomsky so that he cannot find an outlet on US media to voice his criticism of Israel. The new targets are Playwright Tony Kushner and prominent Historian Tony Judt. The charge? The same -- they have dared to disagree with Israel and its inalienable right to bomb, destroy and detain just about anything and anyone, anywhere in the Middle East. Apparently, as reported in the Observer in January, organised Jewry plans to "confront" such Jews with accusations of anti- Semitism, and much more besides......
All the above are part of a wider phenomenon: the closing of ranks within Jewish communities against the increasingly prevalent voice of Jewish critics of Israeli atrocities, both in Palestine and beyond. It was not such a long time ago that Israel, in one of its many reoccupations of the Gaza Strip, not only killed many Palestinian civilians, destroyed their only source of electricity, stopped the passage of food into the Strip, but also sealed the border, not allowing medical supplies through, exactly at the time they were most needed.....
In many communities, Jews have realised that it is time to stand up and be counted, exactly because of the abuse of the Holocaust and its use in defending that that is indefensible. Many have joined the growing boycott of Israel -- the trade, academic and cultural boycotts -- as non-aggressive options for public and international action against Israel and its continued aggression against Palestine and other Arab countries. That is the real source of worry for organised Zionist institutions; this growing snowball is starting to move, at last, collecting force and momentum along the way and swaying public opinion in a number of countries against Israel and its uncritical protection by Western powers.
The results of such protest actions can be foreseen. We witnessed the growth of the anti-apartheid movement from a small group of radicals and activists to worldwide action that swept away the South African regime and its injustices. This is what Israel and its allies in crime fear most -- a genuine popular movement that will force international involvement in finding a peaceful and just solution to the conflict after all Western-led attempts have failed miserably due to their total commitment to the Israeli cause and their implicit support for the continued occupation and its iniquities......."