By Max Samarov, The Jerusalem Post.
I’ve spent the past three years witnessing and helping defeat Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns on campuses across North America, so I am rarely surprised by the depravity of anti-Israel activists.
But BDS doesn’t limit itself to campuses, so this year I’ve had the distinct misfortune of witnessing it in action at the national meetings of two Protestant churches – the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ (UCC). Last June, PCUSA passed a resolution to boycott and divest from companies deemed “complicit” in Israel’s alleged misdeeds against Palestinians, and last week the UCC passed a similar measure.
I attended last year’s PCUSA Middle East Committee hearings and watched the UCC proceedings live online. In both cases, I was shocked to see people who should know better buy into BDS’s cheap propaganda about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, its blatant misrepresentations of its own agenda and its manipulative tactics.
During the long PCUSA hearings, I listened to seemingly earnest Presbyterians viciously slander Israelis, accusing them of subjecting Palestinians to “biblical scale enslavement” and poisoning Palestinian livestock.
When pro-BDS speakers weren’t echoing classic anti-Semitism, they whitewashed the killing of Israeli children by racist terrorist groups like Hamas as “resistance.” In a bold display of dishonesty, they told the committee that their proposal was unconnected to global BDS and its goal of eliminating Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Of course, this didn’t stop them from bringing in Rifat Kassis, a “special guest” from the West Bank who works closely with the Palestinian BDS National Committee.
Kassis spoke constantly during the committee’s deliberations, and never disclosed his affiliations.
I and many of my fellow attendees were outraged and would have spoken out, but we weren’t allowed to: almost all of the speaking time was allotted to anti-Israel activists. BDS supporters had infiltrated the leadership of the PCUSA and rigged the debate.
The UCC proceedings were no better.