Israeli Apartheid Week 2014- is this the beginning of the end for IAW?
by Noga Gur-Arieh
Pro-Palestine mural on a graffiti wall at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg or Israel Apartheid Week.
Israeli Apartheid Week is now at its peak, but this year, unlike any other year before, it is followed by a wind of change.
As these words are being written, people in over 200 cities worldwide are being exposed to bigotry, deception, and shallowness as part of the 10th annual Israeli Apartheid Week. In these annual international series of events (including rallies, lectures, cultural performances, film screenings and multimedia displays,) small minded people take over campuses and fill the heads of the clueless and innocence with hatred. The Israeli Apartheid Week, or IAW, seeks to raise awareness about Israel’s claimed apartheid policies towards the Palestinians and to build support for the growing “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS.) To make a long story short, the purpose of the Israeli Apartheid Week is to call people to join the “battle” against Israel’s “apartheid” regime.
The people who stand behind the IAW hold a very narrow perspective on the reality in Israel. Most of them have never even been here. Nonetheless, they provided themselves the right to define us as an apartheid state and even have the audacity to convince others of that lie. Those people are also impatient. They are unwilling to dedicate time to sit and listen and truly check the facts, for it is a time consumer, and the more time they spend realizing their battle is based to part-truths, the more the poor Palestinians suffer.
The truly scary part of IAW has always been the major positive effect it had on the public. Every year, more and more people were exposed to the BDS lies, and the lacking of massive counter reactions strengthened them even more. Every year, we were forced to watch from afar as hatred grown and pitchforks were raised in the air. Every year, we sat helpless miles and miles away, too scared to face the masses, knowing that soon, words would turn into actions.
This year, at last, the IAW’s house of cards begins to crumble. This year, reason finally started rising above bigotry, as more and more people revealed BDS’s true, ugly face. This revelation got so massive, so noticeable, that even the anti-Israeli foreign press could not ignore it anymore, and the truth became common knowledge.
This year, like in many years before, artists who were scheduled to perform here faced threats from BDS and anti-Israel groups, blaming them for supporting the “killing machine” that is Israel. Like in many years before, some caved and canceled, but this year, the number of artists facing hatred in bravery and staying true to their beliefs was bigger than ever. Not only did many of the artists played here in spite of frightening threats, but almost all of them released a public statement in addition, strengthening Israel and elaborating on their once in a lifetime experience visiting here. To top that, we must not forget Scarlett Johansson defending her truth (and Israel’s as well) and collaborating with SodaStream.
Moreover, during the month of December, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, stated that the Palestinians do not support a boycott of Israel. As reported in The Star, a newspaper in South Africa, Abbas has firmly rejected the recent campaign in South Africa to boycott and divest from Israel. This was a wakeup call for all those who pretended to care for the Palestinians. At that moment, Abbas exposed BDS activists for who they truly are: people who are driven for hate towards Israel, not rescuers of the Palestinians “peace seekers.”
Another major event demonstrating the change in approach towards BDS and claims for apartheid in Israel is the American Studies Association’s academic boycott of Israel. Earlier in 2013, the ASA called for an academic boycott of Israel. Such an announcement coming from such a distinguished institute was a major blow to Israel supporters worldwide and the Israeli academy in particular. An academic boycott of Israel is one of serious consequences, for Israel has been collaborating with many universities worldwide, reaching groundbreaking results.
When making the announcement, however, the ASA had not foreseen the consequences: dozens of universities rejected the academic boycott, some even withdrawn from the organization, stating that Israel’s academic contribution to the world is a great deal. Rep. Eliot Engel, the senior Democratic member of the House Foreign Affairs even sent a letter to the ASA’s president, writing: “I believe such actions by the ASA is another example of the unfair double standard Israel is regularly and unfairly subjected to by organizations such as yours.”
All of the realizations above of the complicated reality in Israel and exposer of the BDS’s bigotry were published and spread widely online. These are merely a few examples of the rotten foundation of the BDS movement and the “Israeli Apartheid Week”, that are now beginning to crumble and soon will collapse. Sure, haters and narrow-minded people will always exist, but will their voice continue to be louder than the voice of truth? Only time will tell.