Prosecute groups that support Israeli crimes

Prosecute hasbara

Jewish hasbara bodies aiding and abetting Israeli crimes must face the full force of the law

By Nureddin Sabir
Editor, Redress Information & Analysis

The world of Jewish politics is so back to front and upside down that, when it comes to Israel, bad is good and wrong is right.

That is the sad fact of which we need to remind Israel flag wavers, such as failed US politician Katrina Lantos Swett, who from time to time rear their heads to bleat “anti-Semitism” and decry the “deligitimization of Israel”, which they blame for allegedly rising anti-Jewish sentiment.

On 5 April the Times of Israel reported that a Jewish organization in Melbourne, Australia, could face expulsion from the country’s Jewish umbrella body for launching a campaign that calls for the boycott of products from West Bank settlements.

These settlements – colonies and squatter camps, in fact – are illegal under international law and, with their rapid expansion under successive Israeli governments, both of the left and the right, are terminally undermining any prospect of a two-state solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Boycott settlements call

The Australian campaign “Don’t Buy from the Settlements” was launched on 26 March by the Melbourne-based Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) with the aim of encouraging Australian Jews to avoid buying products made in Jewish colonies and squatter camps located in the Palestinian territories occupied after the 1967 war.

In a media release published on its website, the AJDS said:

Israeli settlements are seen around the world as a major obstacle to creating peace between Israelis and Palestinians. One way to take a stand against the harm they create is not to buy the products they produce. This sends a clear message that we will not be complicit in the settlement programme.

According to Jordy Silverstein, an executive member of the AJDS:

Not buying products from settlements will not work on its own, but it is one small step that we can take. When we add in the possibility of sharing knowledge about what the settlements mean and what they do … we can work alongside Palestinians, Israelis and people throughout the diasporas to create an exciting, liberating future.

However, this principled stance of the AJDS quickly prompted Australia’s Israel hasbara (propaganda) groups to gang up against it. For them, anything short of total, unconditional support for Israel, its illegal occupation and colonization of Arab territories, its war crimes and its crimes against humanity is tantamount to treason.

Orgy of Jewish solidarity with Israel

So, first came the umbrella Jewish organization, the Zionist Federation of Australia, which described the call for boycott as “immoral” and “repugnant”.

Then came the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, which consists of more than 50 Jewish organizations in the state. Its president, Nina Bassat, touted the idea of expelling the AJDS for having the audacity to call for action against Israeli criminality.

Bassat was joined in this orgy of Jewish tribal solidarity with the racist Israeli state by Peter Wertheim, of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, who also called for the AJDS to be expelled from Australia’s Jewish umbrella body.

“The AJDS campaign is repugnant to the strong anti-BDS policies of every Jewish communal roof body in Australia,” he bleated, referring to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, “and to the ECAJ [Executive Council of Australian Jewry] platform of support for Israel and its legitimacy as the state of the Jewish people”.

“Anti-Semitism” and support for Israel

If there is indeed a rise in anti-Jewish sentiment anywhere in the world, then to find the cause look no further than the above-mentioned types of frenzied Jewish defence of Israeli crimes.

There is a strong case for nurturing a worldwide culture at grassroots level that promotes international legality and opposes crimes committed or sponsored by states. As a first step towards this, it is necessary to bring to account groups and individuals that support criminal actions committed or sponsored by states.

Just as in most civilized countries there are laws against aiding, abetting and glorifying terrorism, and against crimes such as rape and drugs trafficking, so there should also be laws that proscribe supporting or glorifying state crimes.

If neo-Nazis and Nazi holocaust deniers can be prosecuted in Germany, France and elsewhere in Europe, then organizations that support Israeli crimes should also be prosecuted, whether in Australia or anywhere else, for aiding, abetting and/or glorifying Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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