The Rolling Stones. Neil Young. Justin Timberlake. Kansas. Lana Del Rey. Jay Leno. All coming to Israel this summer.
How’s that BDS working out for you?
Since the incredible failure of the campaign to force Scarlett Johansson to quit SodaStream, the news has not been good for the Israel haters this year. After making a splash at the end of 2013 with the American Studies Association leadership being hijacked by anti-Israel, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists, 2014 has seen one major anti-BDS push back after another. From the viral campaigns supporting Neil Young and Scarlett Johansson to a cavalcade of statements from universities distancing themselves from the ASA statements, to anti-Israel resolutions failing at Michigan, UCLA and Loyola, 2014 has so far been a very positive time to be a pro-Israel activist – especially after the disappointments of 2013.
Scarlett Johansson is just one of many artists who said NO to BDS this year.
But if the spring and winter have been good, they pale in comparison to the number of #BDSFails in store for the summer. It’s important to note that it’s not JUST that some of the biggest names in entertainment (of all time!) will be coming to Israel this summer. It’s that there was a concerted, organized effort to stop them. And it has thus far failed miserably.
It’s not just that Neil Young is coming to Israel, it’s that the four month effort to secure 10,000 signatures on a petition to stop him is STILL mired in the low 7,000’s. In the meantime, the counter-effort to encourage Neil Young to go to Israel, which was started over six weeks afterwards has over 8,000 supporters on Facebook.
This is not to say of course that we should be dancing the hora under “Mission Accomplished” banners or prematurely celebrating a “strategic defeat” of BDS. There is still much more to be done. And you can be sure that the haters will be back with new outrageous claims, bullying tactics and absurdly demonic, fantastical imagery to harass pro-Israel college students in the fall.
This coarsening of debate and slow disintegration of civil discourse on college campuses has a real effect, not just on Jewish and pro-Israel students/faculty but on everyone. And it can be seen outside the Israel sphere, as well, in the hyper-politicization of everything from textbooks to graduation speakers.
It is therefore on us to continue to be vigilant and fight this nefarious movement wherever it pops up. But in terms of actual tangible successes, in the United States the anti-Israel crowd has not had very much. Their big news for them to gloat about is that they got SodaStream taken off the Earth Day Network. Or that Danny Glover, who has been an Israel hater for years, is demanding they don’t play his new movie in Israel. Wow, let’s just pack up all the Israelis and move them back to Poland and Germany.
In fact, the only thing these efforts have really contributed to is reducing the level of public discourse to nastiness. This nastiness was on full display when they went after Scarlett Johansson in what may go down in history as the most egregious PR error the anti-Israel crowd has ever made. The fact is that Scarlett Johansson’s career has never been stronger and Neil Young is breaking fundraising records for his new music player. Some boycott, huh?
But biggest sign that the #BDSFail trend isn’t going away anytime soon is the fact is that Israel’s tourism levels are at all-time highs and the country is facing an invasion this summer, not from bloodthirsty armies threatening to push the Jews into the sea, but from an entire platoon of comedians, entertainers and rock stars.
And this summer at least, it’s the anti-Israel haters that are in full retreat.
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