Mona Charen

What do the advocates of BDS think they are expressing? Disapproval of Israel's settlement policies perhaps? But the boycott of Jewish businesses by the Arab states actually predates the creation of the state of Israel. The Arab League formally adopted a blanket boycott after Israel achieved independence in 1948 -- long before the West Bank had come under Israeli sovereignty. The wording of the Palestinian "Call for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel" lists "responsibility for the Nakba" as the first indictment. Nakba is the Palestinian term for Israel's birth -- it translates as the "catastrophe." In other words, Israel's first crime had nothing to do with territory, occupation, or the "peace process." The first crime was being born.

The Palestinian call itemizes other complaints against Israel. There is the obligatory comparison to apartheid South Africa, and a reference to the "racist, colonial wall."

The apartheid slur is damaging but utterly false. Israel is home to 1.6 million Arab citizens, which is about 20 percent of the population. There is no such thing as second-class citizenship. Arabs participate fully in Israeli life. There are Israeli Arabs in the Knesset, on the Supreme Court, in the Foreign Service, in the media, in the police force and even in the army. Do some have mixed feelings about their country? Sure. Does anyone in Stephen Hawking's country? And by the way, how many Jews serve in prominent posts in Arab countries?

As for the "racist, colonial wall," that's a reference to the security fence Israel finally erected to prevent Palestinians from detonating bombs on busses, in supermarkets and in pizza parlors. Israel responded to sustained terror attacks not by curtailing civil liberties, not by revenge attacks on Palestinian civilians and not by reoccupying territory ceded to the Palestinian Authority. No, they just built a fence. That was too much for the likes of Hawking -- which gives you the measure of the man and the movement he embraces.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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