By Ido Daniel
Alicia Keys is a successful singer with an illustrious career of over 15 years. But since announcing her upcoming gig in Israel, Keys has "earned" another degree, courtesy of anti–Israel activists: A war criminal. Pink Floyd's Roger Waters and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, both senior figures in the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement against Israel, penned open letters asking Keys to join the cultural boycott of 'unjust and unbelievably evil' Israel. Waters, Walker and their ilk regularly deflect criticism leveled against their involvement in the cultural boycott by explaining they are not anti-Semitic, but simply anti-Zionist.
At the same time, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs held the fourth International Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism in Jerusalem, with the participation of organizations from Israel and abroad, Muslim and Christian clerics, as well public figures and representatives from the Jewish Diaspora. This year the conference included for the first time a workshop devoted to the problematic relationship between anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism, and the efforts to delegitimize Israel as a Jewish-democratic state.
One by one, the delegates received the floor and shocked the participants: A woman from Sweden spoke of how local Jews fear to walk the streets of her city whenever there is a news flash about Israel; students from the UK talked about the fear of walking around with a yarmulke in campuses, and an American reported attempts to boycott kosher products in stores claiming they are manufactured beyond the Green Line, although they're American made. And there was also a senior Jewish female lecturer who teaches at one of the prestigious universities in the United States. She tearfully told the panel about the repeated harassment of Jewish students and professors in American campuses, spray-paintings of "Jew" or "Zionist" on dormitories' doors along with swastikas.
The conference concluded that the boycott movement's activities have become a stage for battering Jews throughout the world, providing anti-Semitism an easy entry to the mainstream, after it was shunned for decades. "Boycott the boycotters" called some of the participants, some of who are harsh critics of Israel and its policies. It appears as though the Diaspora has realized that this issue is not just another argument between Right and Left.
Roger Waters was the first to experience the new wind blowing against the hypocrisy of boycotting Israel. A few weeks ago the 92Y Street Jewish Community Center in Manhattan canceled his planned lecture amid tremendous pressure from the local Jewish community, which was furious with the British musician for comparing Israeli policies to those of Nazi Germany at a UN committee meeting six months ago.
And Alice Walker? She prohibited her Israeli publishers last year from publishing a new Hebrew edition of her famous book "The Color Purple." The fact that the last time the Hebrew language got banned was in 1930s Germany did not bother her: "Do not publish my book in Hebrew. Israel is an apartheid state." Walker of course still enjoys the proceeds from her other books which are still on the shelves in Israel, as are Waters' albums.
The last lecture of the conference was given by Professor Yehuda Bauer, one of the world's top Holocaust and anti-Semitism researchers. "The most dangerous anti-Semitism comes from of all those academics and liberals who strongly condemn any act of injustice befalling the world, but at the same time support genocide of the Jews, as they preach the elimination of Zionism."
I believe it is time to expose the true face of anti-Semites who hide behind the guise of political correctness and other whitewashed expressions and exact an economic and personal cost from them. We must show the BDS activists that boycott and incitement have a price.
The famous Jewish philosopher Max Nordau once claimed that "The Jew learns not by way of reason, but from catastrophes. He won't open his umbrella under a cloudy sky; he waits until he is drenched and catches pneumonia." I hope that maybe, just maybe, this time we will learn from history and take preventive measures against the incoming anti-Semitism plague.