A campaign to suppress all criticism now extends to smearing Israeli human rights activists as hostile to Jewish statehood
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 22 April 2010
"The word "delegitimisation" has become the most significant weapon in the rhetorical arsenal of those defending Israel against external and internal enemies. In Israel, rightwing policymakers, thinkers and Zionist groups are deploying the word to describe the underlying motives of the country's critics. Outside Israel, pro-Israel groups and Jewish defence organisations use it to attack those who protest when Israeli officials speak in public, promote boycott campaigns and accuse Israel of apartheid policies.
The Israeli Reut Institute promotes the term assiduously. It produced a highly influential report, Building a Political Firewall Against Israel's Delegitimisation, that defines delegitimisation as criticism that "exhibits blatant double standards, singles out Israel, denies its right to exist as the embodiment of the self-determination right of the Jewish people, or demonises the state".......
Despite the call for "global and systemic pro-action" (which sounds like meaningless jargon), it's hard to believe that the delegitimisation argument will lead to anything but more violence and further repression of dissent. The failure of this apocalyptic thinking to even consider the idea that Israel is delegitimising itself is perverse. Not because it's the argument made by the human rights groups, but because some of Israel's own leaders have made it. Defence minister and Labour leader Ehud Barak said recently: "If millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state." In November 2007, former prime minister Ehud Olmert said Israel risked being compared to apartheid-era South Africa if it failed to agree to an independent state for the Palestinians.
The continued denial of the Palestinians' human and political rights is the most effective way of delegitimising Israel."