Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jewish Antisemites: Naomi Klein

Of course there are Jewish antisemites. There always have been, and there always will be, just like there will always be antisemites. Somebody should write a book about their sorry history some day.

Naomi Klein is a well-known intellectual of the loony Left, who writes books about the evils of many of the things mankind should rightfully be proud of; being against Israel is simply part of that turf. I don't think we're at the top of her list of things to hate, merely comfortably in the middle.

Today she has published a column calling for a boycott against Israel. (Published also at the Guardian, with a more dramatic title).

The vapidness of her thesis is stated clearly in the very first paragraph:

It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa. In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on "people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era". The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions was born.

A huge coalition of Palestinian groups? Do you think anyone told Ms. Klein about the split between Hamas and Fatah? More interesting, this movement she tells of, has which goal? Putting an end to the occupation? And it was created when? July 2005? Wasn't that the month before the Israelis dismantled their settlements in Gaza, and pulled out all IDF troops?

So the first thing these boycotters, Ms. Klein among them, ought to work out for themselves is what their goal is. The boycotters of South Africa's Apartheid regime had a clear goal: an end to that regime. I suspect if one were to try to be calm and clearheaded and figure out what Israel's boycotters want, the bottom line would be either an end to Israel, or an end to Israel. It's clearly not about the settlements, as Ms. Klein has so helpfully explained.

A boycott against a country so that it ends itself is ridiculous. A yearning that a country disappear is despicable.

Ms. Klein admits she's a hypocrite:

Why single out Israel when the US, Britain and other western countries do the same things in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Boycott is not a dogma; it is a tactic. The reason the strategy should be tried is practical: in a country so small and trade-dependent, it could actually work.

Nice, isn't it? She's a pragmatist. Israel's no worse than others, but it's more vulnerable so let's go for it. Yet there are other countries that also might be vulnerable: Sri Lanka, for example, repressing it's Tamils with what rather looks like brutality, assuming you're looking. Sudan. The the parties involved in the genocide in the Congo. Pakistanis and Indians in Kashmir (40,000 dead over the past decade or so). Ever ask yourself how these paragons of human rights put together their hate-lists? No connections with human rights, I assure you.

Finally, she offers us a bit of comic relief:

For eight years, my books have been published in Israel by a commercial house called Babel. But when I published The Shock Doctrine, I wanted to respect the boycott. On the advice of BDS activists, including the wonderful writer John Berger, I contacted a small publisher called Andalus. Andalus is an activist press, deeply involved in the anti-occupation movement and the only Israeli publisher devoted exclusively to translating Arabic writing into Hebrew. We drafted a contract that guarantees that all proceeds go to Andalus's work, and none to me. I am boycotting the Israeli economy but not Israelis.

Huh? If Andalus is devoted exclusively to translating Arabic writing into Hebrew, does this mean The Shock Doctrine was written in Arabic? Wow. I'm impressed. I didn't know she had it in her. Anyway, I've got a number of Hebrew books on my bookshelf that are translations from the Arabic, and they're all from mainstream Israeli publishers, who of course have no problem with publishing books by Arabs, assuming they're good books. (And if they're merely internal Arab propaganda, there's always MEMRI). Also, if doing business with Israeli firms while donating the proceeds back to the companies themselves counts as boycotting Israel, I've got a company of my own that would really welcome being boycotted! We're over here, folks! We're staunch Zionists! You've just gotta boycott us! It's a mitzva!


Anonymous said...

the most lunatic utterance from Ms Klein I remember is when she proclaimed during the promotion of her book that the Israelis' economy was only doing well at technology because they had the Palestinians as guinea pigs to try it out on - I think she actually used the expression guinea pig
In her loony world view the current Gaza-War then would be nothing other than a lab test for weapons and tactics to be sold around the world for a profit ...
Klein is not only anti-semitic she is against any kind of humane world view but that is the hallmark of anti-semitism after all
rgds, Silke

Anonymous said...

In her article Ms Klein wrote about a British telecom company boycotting its Israeli supplier saying that the cause of its action is not political, their clients are demanding to do it.
The only point she forgot to mention that the only market of this company is in Pakistan and in Saudi-Arabia.

Morey Altman said...

Fortunately, boycotts work both ways. I recently sold my copy of Klein's 'No Logo' and used the money to buy toilet paper. I suppose I could have saved myself the trouble of going to the used book store.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable, this Naomi Klein. When are people going to get it? Criticizing Israel is ANTISEMITIC BY DEFINITION. Doesn't matter if you're a Jew or not!