Thursday, July 14, 2016

Jewish Leadership's Failure to Effectively Battle BDS

Jewish Voice

MK Gil Erdan

Ronald S. Lauder, President of the WJC

Russell Robinson, CEO of the JNF

Mort Klein, President of the ZOA

David Brog, formerly of CUFI

Natan Sharansky; director of the Jewish Agency

Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs

Israeli comptroller; Judge Yosef Shapira

Jewish Voice publisher, David Ben Hooren (left), with Mark Goldman (middle) and Likud MK Gil Erdan. The meeting took place a year ago while on a Likud USA visit to the Knesset. They discussed the existential threat to Israel that BDS represents. MK Erdan unequivocally promised Mr. Ben Hooren in no uncertain terms that fighting the influence of BDS was his top priority. He said that monies allocated by the Israeli government would be used for that specific purpose. At this juncture, no plan to effectively stop BDS has been crafted by the Israeli government

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order directing state entities to divest all public funds from people supporting the anti-Israel movement.

BDS was started as an initiative of Omar Barghouti, a known organizer of terror and a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. The BDS movement he founded is about destroying the state of Israel.

As late as the end of 2015 there was still confusion as to what authorities and resources fall within the jurisdiction of the Foreign Affairs Ministry as opposed to the Strategic Affairs Ministry newly headed by Sima Vaaknin Gil, (pictured above)regarding a response to the BDS movement. Some agreements that were reached between the two ministries were never actualized.

The division within the Foreign Affairs Ministry (pictured above) entrusted with fighting the boycotts, has yet to publish its formalized clear measures by which it will fight against boycotts

Pictured above is J Street founder and executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami speaking to Brandeis University students. Organizations like J Street and others funded by anti-Israel entities connected to the Arab world have free access to American Jews and it seems that the Jewish organizations that received the mandate to act against BDS do not want to deal with the real funders of BDS—The Arab world.

Israeli Ambassador the United Nations, Danny Danon recently organized a conference in New York City that focused on successful modalities in which to confront the BDS agenda

In June of 2015, two billionaire businessmen, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson (left) and entertainment titan Haim Saban (on the right) - (who are renowned for their largesse in supporting Israel and a panoply of Jewish charities) held a closed door summit at Adelson’s own Venetian hotel in Las Vegas with the express purpose of raising substantial sums of money in order to go head-to-head with the BDS legions of propagandists
A Jewish Voice exclusive - Exposing the truth behind the fight against BDS
The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, directed against Israel, is the most recent manifestation of what seems an ageless campaign targeting Jews in the endeavor to delegitimize them as a people, and in its current form, and at its core, to now delegitimize the Jewish State.
Directed overtly as an economic assault against Israel, it is much more pernicious given its covertly political implications. At best, it is a tool employed by Israel’s detractors to pressure the nation to acquiesce to certain geo-political concessions that others have determined are necessary; and, at its worst, as a tool to weaken Israel as part of a design to undermine its very sovereignty.
One can spin it any way they wish, but these boycotts quite transparently are simply an extension of the boycotts that characterized the beginning of the Nazi war against the Jews over eighty years ago. And although the concept of boycotting Jews was not itself a Nazi advent, that experience demonstrated the catastrophic end that might be realized if left unchecked.
Fundamentally attacking the legitimacy of the Jewish State, the movement today has well established tentacles branching out to the political, economic, and academic arenas. Viewed through any prism, it is a sometimes-stealth anti-Semitic movement that has brought together Israel’s most implacable enemies with those who disingenuously and falsely label themselves as “friends of Israel.” It brings to mind the political assault on Israel in the 1970’s by an American foreign service that wanted to “save Israel in spite of herself.”
The BDS movement pretends to be “anti-occupation.” That is one of its many lies. It is anti-Israel in any and every form. And as such, and in defense of Israel, a number of Jewish organizations have undertaken their own campaigns to combat it as we witness the movement proliferate in its efforts. Some of these Jewish organizations have been more successful than others in fighting BDS, but truth be told, none have provided an effective stick to its spokes.
Are we winning or losing the BDS war?
Green Party presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein a 64 Jewish physician from Chicago declared her support for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) and called to end military and economic support for Israel claiming Israel is committing war crimes. She announced that the US is encouraging the Israeli government to pursue policies of “Occupation, apartheid, assassination, illegal settlements, demolitions, blockades, building of nuclear bombs, indefinite detention, collective punishment, and defiance of international law,”
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders also a Jew criticized Israel’s conduct during the 2014 war in Gaza and made it clear that he empathized with the Palestinian cause though he did acknowledged that “there is some level of Antisemitism” in the BDS movement yet he appointed Dr. Cornel West, known supporter of the BDS movement, to the Democratic Party drafting committee in an effort to reshape the party's policy on Israel dealing with the “Palestinian rights”
Democratic presidential-runner Hillary Clinton is concerned over BDS effort to “punish Israel and dictate how the Israelis and Palestinians should resolve the issues of their conflict without retorting to forceful efforts” while New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order directing state entities to divest all public funds from people supporting the anti-Israel movement. He worked together with Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, who held one of the largest anti BDS events at the UN General Assembly in New York.
It is very encouraging to see that many US states are considering legislation aimed at countering the BDS movement. Two states, Illinois and South Carolina, passed laws last year mandating state divestment from companies that boycott Israel. States like Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Virginia are considering or are legislating similar laws.
Californian AB 2844 recently adopted required that the state of California will not contract with any entity that officially boycotts the State of Israel, allowing the updating of the entities list every 180 day but it is said to be watered down and not be effective.
New Jersey is one of the states in which legislators have made statements equating BDS with Antisemitism and have taken concrete steps against BDS. A bill passed by the state Senate in August would “prohibit the investment of New Jersey public employee retirement funds in any company that boycotts, divests, or sanctions Israel or Israeli businesses.”
Kansas and Pennsylvania are debating legislation that would defund universities that participate in such boycotts while six other states are considering resolutions condemning Israel boycotts.
Back in June 2015 President Obama signed into law the sweeping Trade Promotion Authority, a measure with broad significance for future international trade deals with Europe. It also includes important new federal legislation, United States-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act, opposing boycotts and other economic warfare against Israel. The law significantly increases the legal and economic risks for the E.U., and companies world-wide, to pass discriminatory sanctions and restrictions against Israel.
The laws apply equally to “Israel” and “Israeli-controlled territories and significantly increased the legal and economic risks for the E.U., and companies world-wide who try and pass discriminatory sanctions and restrictions against Israel yet Ambassador Shapira said today that the White House remained committed to fighting BDS but claimed that the most powerful weapon against efforts to de-legitimize and isolate Israel is ..Palestinian Statehood.
Good efforts so what is the problem?
The problem is centered around the BDS founders and the organizations who are trying to combat them.
BDS was started as an initiative of Omar Barghouti, a known organizer of terror and a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. The BDS movement he founded is about destroying the state of Israel. It is not about a two-state solution or the so-called occupation of disputed territories. BDS promoters see Israel as a colonialist, apartheid, racist state that has ethnically cleansed indigenous people and needs to be destroyed, and they incorporate Antisemitism as part of their boycott.
Contending with BDS
Well, If the accepted premise that the PLO or Fatah are “Partners to peace” and we find that they are also pinpointed as the initiators of the BDS campaign it is difficult to understand why Israel will not act against them and it seems it wants to hold the stick on both ends even though Jews around the world are suffering from the BDS tentacles reaching colleges, media and industry.
We watch as the European Commission’s November 2015 adopted guidelines for labeling Israeli products sold in European Union countries. The guidelines recommend that products made in the West Bank or Golan Heights — areas over the so-called “Green Line” clearly state “Product from the Golan Heights (Israeli settlement)” or “product from West Bank (Israeli settlement)” in brackets.
That labeling ignores the Levy Report and Congressional records clearly showing that there was never a sovereign ethnic Arab state in the land of Israel and that the League of Nations and the UN affirmed unequivocally that ALL lands west of the Jordan river will be under Jewish sovereignty with the goal of reconstituting the Jewish homeland with full religious, citizenry and human rights to all other ethnic groups but without any independent sovereignty to other ethnic minorities.
When the EU decided on labeling Israeli goods from Judea and Samaria it clearly aims to bring about the demonization and de-legitimization of anything made in Israel.
The Palestinian Authority is a corrupt regime that co-governs with a terror organization -Hamas. It brainwashes its citizens to hate Jews and Israel instead of ending the conflict and acknowledging the legal, historical right of Jews to live in Israel. Even if the horrific scenario of Israel disappearing will occur, all the current upheavals, wars, be-headings by various Muslim groups and especially acts of terror by ISIS will still be happening around the world. The Middle East would be the same as now without the one democracy in its midst -Israel.
BDS is not solving the Palestinian crisis, it is about destroying the state of Israel.
Are we winning or losing the war on BDS?
Israeli comptroller Judge Yosef Shapira issued a very critical report underscoring the Israeli government’s failings in combating the international movement as well as rising Antisemitism. The report mentions power struggles between ministries, lack of coordinated efforts, understaffed departments and not many seen accomplishments. He found that many international anti-Israeli organizations have been de-legitimizing Israel, both on an ethical and political level, in different countries throughout the world, proactively showing Israel as an Apartheid state and successfully organizing academic, cultural, financial and commercial boycotts.
As late as the end of 2015 there was still confusion as to what authorities and resources fall within the jurisdiction of the Foreign Affairs Ministry as opposed to the Strategic Affairs Ministry newly headed by Sima Vaaknin Gil, regarding a response to the BDS movement. Some agreements that were reached between the two ministries were never actualized.
The Security Cabinet decided in October 2015 to grant the of Strategic Affairs Ministry (headed by Minister Gilad Erdan from the Likud) the authority to assemble and manage the state’s fight against boycotts, the state comptroller’s report stated that the new Hasbara ministry lacks certain operational advantages that the Foreign Affairs Ministry has with its over 100 delegates stationed throughout the world who already have deep understanding and connections to local decision makers and associate organizations who could aid in staging the necessity and efficient response to BDS efforts.
The comptroller stated that despite the Strategic Affairs ministry being awarded a wide range of authorities to head the government’s battle against BDS the ministry did not use its budget for these tasks, and it didn't achieve significant accomplishments in this field or actualize its work goals in 2015.
The division within the Foreign Affairs Ministry entrusted with fighting the boycotts, has yet to publish its formalized clear measures by which it will fight against boycotts. In fact, the state comptroller’s report stated that according to the information provided by the ministry’s international representatives, these problems have only been growing rapidly while the Foreign Affairs and Strategic Planning Ministries have been busy quarreling with each other over various authorities, in lieu of cooperating toward their shared goal—pro-actively going against BDS.
The Strategic Affairs Office initiated the founding of a volunteer network that would unite a list of Jewish organizations in a joint effort to fight the BDS movement. The initiative was faced with the objections of the Foreign Affairs Ministry who opposed the Prime Minister’s Office creating new positions and allocating budgets to the Strategic Affairs Ministry for the management of such a network or if this kind of cooperation is actually working .
The report goes on to say that the Strategic Affairs Ministry did not receive the necessary services pertaining to attaining its objectives. This continued even after October 2015, when the Security Council commissioned the Strategic Planning Ministry with the task of “leading the campaign against the de-legitimizing of Israel outright and covertly.” According to the state comptroller, the Cabinet’s decision did little to provide a solution to the lack of general and managerial staff needed to promote the relevant strategic and diplomatic objectives. The Strategic Affairs and Foreign Affairs Ministries continued to fight with each other following the PMO’s call for action.
Despite the fact that higher education institutes continue to make up the majority of the BDS movement’s area of operation, the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s division charged with communications and Hasbara has not executed any known detailed plan regarding the fight against de-legitimizing Israel across campuses in North America and Britain.
The comptroller’s report went on to say that despite a few delegates sent here and there were no delegates sent with the explicit purpose of combating the BDS movement as of the summer of 2015. The importance of sending such delegates was made clear when the Israeli Embassy in The Hague wrote the Foreign Affairs Ministry in August 2014 telling them that anti-Israel activities in the Netherlands had resulted in “more than 50,000 Dutch people downloading an application to their phones that promoted consumers to boycott Israeli companies.
Ministry has been unsuccessful in managing its Hasbara campaign, and that it has not been able to stop the hostility aimed at Israel by certain groups abroad. As a result, the messages promoted by the BDS movement have managed to convince large sectors of population that in the past used to unequivocally defend Israel.
The controller found that in Germany for instance, 60 percent of those polled expressed criticism toward Israel, while only 30 percent expressed any sympathy. Sweden was similarly found to have a 68 percent criticism rate. Turkey had an even higher measure, 86 percent expressed anti-Israel sentiment.
The situation was found to be somewhat better in the United States, yet even there an erosion has been spotted. Among the Democratic Party it was found that support for Israel is way down, and the country’s overall statistics have gone from 70 percent support in 2009 to 59 percent at present.
The controller criticized the IDF and the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit which has issued a statement of its own, criticizing the Foreign Affairs Ministry and officials in the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of Hasbara for waiting to be debriefed while failing themselves to contribute information relevant thus making it impossible to receive a clear picture as to the actions it has carried out.
The IDF Spokesperson's unit claimed that the ministry did not seem to have any strategic plan in place and that there was no concrete request received from the Foreign Affairs Ministry to do anything different in an effort to improve matters or offer support. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit concluded by saying that there is no official communications policy set by its office and the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
On top of criticism directed at government offices, the report also found that the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit delayed approval for the distribution of material from the battle field, which helped the BDS movement.
What about all the organizations outside of Israel who fundraised and received millions to “Fight BDS?”
Well, organizations like J Street and others funded by anti-Israel entities connected to the Arab world have free access to American Jews and it seems that the Jewish organizations that received the mandate to act against BDS do not want to deal with the real funders of BDS—The Arab world.
We are stuck in indecision and inability to act. Colleges are being high-jacked by leftist activists and too little is being done about it.
What can be done?
Differentiate between public diplomacy and fighting BDS by exposing the real funders behind the global campaign -Arab countries.
Allow media, decision makers, parliament members, congressional staffers to come to Israel and be proactively educated about our legal rights as specified in the Levy Report thus cutting the “occupation” tree and see for themselves that we are not an apartheid state.
We live in a crazy pressure cooker environment of the Middle East which does not allow us to ignore real and present dangers from Muslim extreme factions and sit singing “Kombaya” together. The Israeli government with all the different Jewish organizations abroad must take a stand. They must map the interests of the different countries and cater to them allowing for a coordinated attack by all groups and individuals trying to combat this war on Jews.
They can create media advocacy events and publish information together that will expose who is behind each action and their true intentions. They can succeed in re-focusing the world's attention at the real abusers today and the real victims: Yazidis, Kurdish and the various Christian groups in the Arab world.
We need real actions not just money being collected.
A brief review:
JNF – Jewish National Fund
In the past several years, the JNF, known in Israel as Keren Kayemet LeYisroel (KKL) made the decision to launch a campaign against the pernicious agenda of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by setting up a $100 million Israel advocacy center to educate Jewish high school and college students to stand up to those who, through calls for BDS, endanger the future of the Jewish state. The JNF received the $100 million from the estate of the late John and Dora Boruchin, Holocaust survivors and real estate developers in California.
As of this juncture in time, no concrete results have been produced by the JNF in terms of what precisely has been done with this money to confront and ultimately vanquish the rapid growth of the BDS movement.
When queried on the subject by Jewish Voice publisher, David Ben Hooren, JNF chief executive officer Russell Robinson just quipped, “We are working on this ‘behind’ the scenes.” When further pressed on this issue of JNF accountability on how it earmarks its funds for anti-BDS work, the publisher’s queries went unanswered by JNF administrators.
In addition, the JNF has become a sprawling if not mysterious empire. Although the organization's 2013 total income was $280 million, most of this sum was from the management of its Israeli lands. However, recently, the Israeli media have begun questioning of just how and where the KKL organization spends its funds. Last year its fundraising campaigns brought in only about $34 million and its expenses for public relations and actual fundraising was a bit over $26 million. That is to say that for the year the total expenses equaled 84% of the donations it received. Something seems wrong here, a matter of concern to many donors and the organization's critics.
Let’s be abundantly clear: We're not knocking the accomplishments of the JNF through its over 100 years in existence. To its credit it has planted over 250 million trees, developed more than 250,000 acres, constructed over 2,000 parks and has partnered in the planning of over 1,000 communities, all in an area about the size of New Jersey. We're only concerned that the JNF is getting involved in issues way over its head. Social issues relating to the sabotaging and the destruction of the BDS and other anti-Israel movements on campuses is best left to the specialists in that field.
David Brog
In June of 2015, two billionaire businessmen, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and entertainment titan Haim Saban (who are renowned for their largesse in supporting Israel and a panoply of Jewish charities) held a closed door summit at Adelson’s own Venetian hotel in Las Vegas with the express purpose of raising substantial sums of money in order to go head-to-head with the BDS legions of propagandists. The effort was known as the Campus Maccabees. Adelson and his fellow conference organizers limited participation in the event to donors willing to pledge at least $1 million in the next two years. With 20 donors taking part in the summit, over $20 million was pledged and since that time, many more contributions have been forthcoming.
Both Adelson and Saban stressed that the advent of the BDS movement is essentially tantamount to the most banal form of anti-Semitism and a formidable response to them must become a priority for Jewish organizations.
Subsequent to the summit, it was announced that David Brog, the executive director of Christians United for Israel, (the largest Christian Zionist organization in the US) was to be appointed the head of the Campus Macabees; thus beginning an odd relationship between them.
According to a July 2015 article in The Forward, a Jewish organizational official with links to the Campus Maccabees expressed consternation over the selection of Brog for the leading position. They took note of the fact that his record of experience indicates a political position far from the mainstream of pro-Israel organizations. At the same time, Brog was acknowledged with a proven track record of establishing a viable, if not stellar organization from the ground up.
In an October 2015 op-ed on the Times of Israel blog, Brog wrote: “It took years for the BDS movement to slowly spread its lies. It will take years of truth telling to reverse their progress. When it comes to battling BDS, don’t think Six Day War; think War of Attrition. And so far, this is a war we are losing.” He added that: “The problem is that while BDS has rapidly metastasized, the pro-Israel community has responded with insufficient attention and dollars. We’ve left our best activists to battle with too few resources. This summer, two of the most important pro-Israel philanthropists in the world – Sheldon and Miriam Adelson – stepped up to provide the laser focus and generous support we’ve lacked. They recognized BDS as the number one non-military threat to Israel and the Jewish people.”
Moreover, he wrote: “The Maccabee Task Force will track every project we fund. Together with our partners we will distinguish between what worked and what merely made us feel good. And then we will share these best practices with our larger community of partners.”
Since the fall of 2015, there has been nary a whisper mentioned about the activities of the Campus Maccabees or the Maccabee Task Force vis-a via BDS. The last we checked, neither organization had a web site and a Google search indicated that no articles have been written about them. We had thought that David Brog’s name would be splashed all over the Jewish media as they tout his efforts towards defeating BDS, but there are so sounds in earshot.
Jewish Agency
For decades, the Jewish Agency has been raising massive amount of funds in order to construct a viable plan in which to bring Jews around the globe to Israel; for purposes of aliya (permanent settlement) there. Jews hailing from politically, religiously and culturally distressed countries were to have taken priority in terms of executing mass evacuation plans. Jews living in wealthier, industrialized Western nations were also to have been educated in the benefits of aliya.
In the last several years, the Jewish Agency has abysmally failed in their attempts to persuade a significant percentage of Jews to make aliya. Rather, they have purportedly earmarked the lion’s share of their funding towards “educating” Jews in the diaspora about strengthening their Jewish identity while not leaning on them too much to consider a move to Israel. Basically, the Jewish Agency has resigned themselves to the stark reality that significant waves of aliya is not a very likely possibility in the immediate future.
It is noteworthy to mention that the job of resettling Jews from Ukraine to Israel last year fell squarely on the shoulders not of the Jewish Agency but rather on the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, led by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. In a December 28, 2014 article in The Jewish Voice, the paper reported that the IFCJ had brought 226 Jews to Israel from Ukraine.
At the time, Rabbi Eckstein said: “This will be the first flight of many flights from Ukraine; bringing our brothers and sisters back to Israel. With the help of those on the ground in Ukraine such as the American Joint Distribution Committee and the Chabad Lubavitch movement, the IFCJ has begun the imperative work of ensuring that any Je who is in danger or who faces hardship from the violence and unrest in Ukraine will receive shelter and a home in Israel.”
“Having graciously sponsored the entire cost of the flight from Ukraine in addition to allocating $1000 to each adult and $500 per child, Rabbi Eckstein is confident that the first IFCJ flights have “opened a new chapter in our already vital and significant contribution to immigration and absorption to Israel.”
Rabbi Eckstein does not mention the Jewish Agency as a partner in helping these Jews make aliya.
In a June 24, 2015 article in The Jerusalem Post entitled, “Jewish Agency Pledges to Combat BDS, Boost Pro-Israel Advocacy on Campuses” Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky said that the organization that he leads would “expand the number of campus emissaries it sends abroad in an effort to combat animosity toward the Jewish state among university students.”
Despite the fact that the article stated that the Jewish Agency sent dozens of “Israel Fellows” to cover 120 campuses and was expected to increase the number in the following academic year, nothing noteworthy has been accomplished in terms of diminishing the propaganda capacity of the BDS movement on campus. In a statement, the agency said the increase was intended to “help combat rising efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel.”
Engaging with disaffected diaspora Jews has also been a hurdle of sorts for the agency to grapple with. Being bogged down with bureaucratic red tape has not made the task any easier. According to the article, “last June, the government approved an initiative, which the agency participated in putting together, to fund Jewish identity programs abroad. However, internal politicking between the agency and the Diaspora Affairs Ministry, as well as the advent of Knesset elections, appear to have postponed its implementation.”
ZOA – Zionist Organization of America
Although the Zionist Organization of America churns out an impressive number of press releases each year on a variety of issues impacting Israel and the Jewish people, its presence on campuses and its efforts to pose a real challenge to the burgeoning BDS movement leave much to be desired.
In a November 11, 2015 article, the Jewish Voice reported that they had “seen the Form 990 filed by the ZOA at the end of 2014 for calendar year 2013. It shows that ZOA President Mort Klein had his most lucrative year yet with the organization with a total compensation package of more than $1.5 million, out of total donations to the ZOA of approximately $5 million.”
With only $3.5 million remaining in their budget and taking into account expenditures such as other employee salaries, administrative costs, expenses pertaining to events, etc, the ZOA was left with an inadequate sum of money in which to orchestrate a campaign ‘with teeth’ to take on the well-funded BBS machine. Thus far, despite the impressive legal battle waged on campuses by its Center for Law and Justice, the ZOA has not produced any substantial evidence that their efforts have even slightly curbed the rapid growth of BDS.
Stand With Us
Essentially, an organization that engages with the media, Stand With Us represents a conglomeration of pro-Israel advocates. In an October 2014 interview with David’s Star magazine on the topic of BDS, Stand With Us CEO Roz Rothstein said in response to a question about what her organization is doing to confront the agenda of these Israel antagonists, she said: “StandWithUs mobilizes Israel's supporters, educates them about the issues and about Israel's challenges and its accomplishments. Through programs, missions to Israel, social media, educational videos, fellowships on college campuses and also in high schools, StandWithUs works in cities around the world to make sure that people have the facts they need so that they can participate in the conversation about Israel.”
While the organization has made some inroads in the battle against BDS, a serious problem remains unresolved. Due to an attitude of palpable arrogance amongst its leadership and the obvious inability to work with or unite other Jewish organizations under the common umbrella of eliminating BDS, Stand With Us remains ineffective in terms of galvanizing others in this long term battle of ideas.
Having spoken with Stand With Us leadership in the past, Jewish Voice publisher David Ben Hooren said that their tone was decidedly combative and not welcoming at all. “We asked them to inform us of their efforts in fighting BDS as we wanted to join them and bring aboard many other Jewish and pro-Israel organizations as well to present a united front. We all know that there is strength in numbers, but tragically we were rebuffed in the harshest of terms. Since then, we have learned that Stand With Us’ belligerent posture has been felt by other groups.”
The World Jewish Congress
The World Jewish Congress under the leadership of Ronald S. Lauder has consistently condemned the BDS movement and its multi-faceted agenda to obliterate Israel. Through the publication of cogent press releases, Mr. Lauder has spotlighted the fact that Israel is being singled out by the BDS movement for no other reason than blatant anti-Semitism.
In a May 2016 address at a conference focusing on the alarming growth of the BDS movement that was held at the United Nations, Mr. Lauder said: “The plain truth is that today’s boycott against the State of Israel is no different from Henry Ford’s anti-Semitism of the 1920s or the Soviet bloc’s anti-Zionism of the 1950s and 60s. So when you march with BDS, you are marching with some really bad people, anti-Semites. There is no other way to explain why Israel – the only country in the Middle East where all religions live together – is called by some people the Apartheid State.”
Speaking directly to the overwhelmingly large student population who attended the conference, Mr. Lauder said, “The World Jewish Congress will commit all of our resources and all of our abilities to help you fight BDS.”
He added that because racial, ethnic or religious intolerance would never go “unanswered” on college and university campuses, his organization would be placing “ads in every key newspaper and all across the internet, telling students to report any kind of pro-BDS and anti-Semitic activity at their school.”
He exhorted students to e-mail the WJC to alert them if their “school or professor is backing BDS in any public way.”
Speaking of his own activism on behalf of Israel during his college days, Mr. Lauder said, “When I wanted to raise my voice for Israel on my campus, and stand up for the Jewish people back then, that wasn't considered very cool. But there is one big difference between me and you. I didn't know there was an organization like the World Jewish Congress out there that would back me up. And there weren't any Jewish leaders that really cared about what students faced or what they were thinking.”
Moreover, the WJC has solicited major donations from their members and supporters with the express purpose of using the funds to craft a viable outline for effectively challenging the BDS movement on campuses worldwide as well as the business, economic, cultural arena.
Like their contemporaries however, the results of their efforts to expose the mendacious nature of BDS assertions against Israel have fallen way short of their expectations. They too have failed in curtailing the momentum of the BDS movement as the Israel-haters continue to slake their desires to isolate and ultimately destroy Israel as the one and only Jewish state. Thus far, the World Jewish Congress has not produced any evidence that they are making any headway at all in terms of making a dent in the BDS movement. Despite their proclamations to students, donors and other interested parties, they have done nothing in this uphill battle for the advancement of truth and justice.
The war against Israel is as old as the nation itself. In fact, it has been accurately described as “one long war.” Once fought on the battlegrounds defined by territories, it has been transformed during the past two decades to a conflict fought by employing sundry political, economic, and academic bodies in that never-ending endeavor to delegitimize the Jewish State, and with formidable success. The BDS movement has become a global propaganda campaign that cannot be ignored, having made undeniable inroads with its goal to first defame, and then eliminate the Jewish State. It is a fight fought on a new battleground. Once military and today political, it is a war that must be fought, with little assurance that it might readily be won. Tragically, the response has not been the equal of the assault.
Drora Klement in Jerusalem,
Meir Jolovitz in Arizona &
Michael Slepak in New Yo

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