The ever-brilliant Robert Fulford dissects the nature of the “Israel=Apartheid” propaganda movement on the march around the world in today’s National Post column, “Ms. doesn’t disappoint the left”. Well worth the five-minute read, to gain a clear understanding of where the support for the clearly absurd charge of smearing Israel with the sins of South Africa’s racist past comes from:
That crazy notion doesn’t withstand even superficial examination. Nevertheless, it has spread around the world, and the recent Israeli Apartheid Week at the University of Toronto was only one of dozens held in various countries. Alone among universities, so far as I know, McMaster in Hamilton has made a symbolic gesture of opposition to this widespread nonsense. The McMaster administration asked the anti-Israeli campaigners to take down one banner that said “Israeli Apartheid.”
Supporters of the campaign, always yearning for victim status, have predictably screamed with rage. “Our Movement Will Not Be Silenced!” says Canadian Dimension — traditionally one of the dumber leftist magazines — calling the request a “shocking decision” and an unprecedented attack on the right to free speech, academic freedom and the right to organize. Canadian Dimension also says that the Zionist movement has launched a campaign of “intimidation and repression” against students. They have put full-page ads in newspapers! Worse, the Israeli ambassador organized a public forum! Zionist groups held public meetings! Repression is everywhere.
Any outsider who attends an Israeli Apartheid meeting, as I have, soon realizes that the participants know as much about Palestinians as they know about Patagonians. What they know for sure is that they hate Israel and want it destroyed. Since that’s beyond their abilities, they want it embarrassed. They invite one or two Palestinian radicals who show up to explain that the Palestinians are right about everything and the Israelis wrong. No one questions these assertions, no one discusses anything. These are pep rallies, not conferences. We who consider free speech sacred may be made a little nervous by McMaster’s action. On the other hand, what it mildly discouraged wasn’t so much free speech as unexamined groupthink.
Anti-semitism explains some but not by any means all of this phenomenon. It seems likely to me that success is Israel’s unforgivable crime. Most of the region is a pathetic failure in economics, politics and culture. But Israel, despite titanic problems, runs a successful economy, admirable universities, a free judiciary and a free press. Leftists, committed to the view that the West is responsible for all the failures of the Third World, even including endemic dictatorship, find it impossible to tolerate such a stinging rebuke to their arguments.
From the comments section of the National Post’s web site comes this fine addition from a reader:
The sick, disturbing alliance of anti-semites, Islamic Jihad, and the academic left…rearing its ugly head once again, with an intensity not seen since a similar alliance of anti-semites, national-socialist-chauvinists, and the academic left in Europe in the 1930s.