My “BEING THERE” at the Birth of The B.D.S. Movement…a la Forrest Gump!
There are people who, for a variety of reasons, manage to be at places, and in situations, where momentous life changing events occur.
Like the movie “Being There” or “Forrest Gump” where simple, emotionally and intellectually challenged men find themselves in world changing circumstances and meeting world leaders by “happenstance, there are those who find themselves in these kinds of situations.
Certain members in my family, including me, share this particular phenomenon. (not the being simple part- the having extraordinary experiences part)
My father had the bizarre experience of having met and conversed with the Butcher of Hungarian Jews- Adolph Eichmann (he should febrent for eternity! -Eichmann- certainly not my dad!)
They had a civilized, “gentlemanly” conversation, based upon the German officer being a “gentleman”. (Only my father could have manoeuvered this one!)
I have had many such experiences, but the one relevant to the birth of the B.D.S. Movement is the one I will focus upon here.
When I was in my very early 20’s, which was quite a long time ago, I had the good fortune to be hired by The American Railroad Corporation or AMTRAK. They “imported” me, a young Canadian and I moved to the centre of the world’s political stage, Washington, D.C.
The friends I made there were the brightest and the best that America had to offer. Graduates from the Ivy League schools, Yale Harvard, Vassar and Princeton, they were “the bright young Turks” working for American senators and congressmen.
And then a new game came to town.
In a flash,, Washington and New York City began sprouting public relations firms like mushrooms. All my friends were being recruited to go and work for these companies at salaries that were absolutely astronomical at the time. It was like a feeding frenzy, where the recruiters were gobbling these talents like shark in a fish tank.
What caused this situation?
After the Oil Embargos were imposed globally, the oil rich nations became extraordinarily and exponentially wealthy. The financial balance of power shifted to the “black gold’ nations in The Middle East.
Countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, the Arab Emirates became obscenely rich.
Initially, they bought real estate, companies, commodities, anything and everything that they could possibly think or dream of.
And then, their horizons and goals expanded.
No longer were they only focused on hard core assets. Now they bought intellectual properties; now, they were going to buy viewpoints, thoughts and minds. Now, they were going to change ideas, loyalties and points of view.
Saudi Arabia, in particular, with its potent combination of enormous wealth and strict tenets of Wahhabi Islam
pursued buying power and control. So, while the individual sheiks were running around with their harems and buying up London and Paris and New York, and while they were drinking Paradis cognac outside of Saudi, the powers that be decided that they were going to market their extreme version of Islam world wide and attain their form of world domination.
How did they decide to do that?
By buying the best and the brightest minds in the world to market their vision and their point of view throughout the world.
They hired the best public relations companies to create the best marketing campaigns, to influence and change world opinion about the Arabs, the Muslims, and the Jews and the Jewish State,
To answer this question properly, one has to have a quick history and geography lesson.
In the 19th century, the major European powers at the time-England, France, Belgium, Portugal, Spain- perfected their colonialization and domination of Africa, the Far East, South America and the Middle East. Many of the empires that they colonialized –such as India – and other “Eastern “civilizations such as the Ottoman Empire, began to copy and mimic the Europeans. While Europe affected the outer trappings of the mysterious and sensual East, the East began to copy the mores and the philosophies of Europe. The concepts of the Enlightenment, of Liberalism and of Democracies began to permeate these Eastern cultures. After World War 1, when the Ottoman Empire fell to Europe and Europe divided her land amongst itself, many of these colonies were unhappy about being colonialized by these foreign powers. This was true throughout the Middle East, where ancient civilizations were disregarded and disrespected by the Europeans, where tribal loyalties and alliances were not taken into consideration when countries and borders were decided by foreigners who had no idea- and even less regard- for alliances and regional tribalism.
After World War 11 and the demise of colonial powers throughout the Middle East, a new pan- nationalism amongst the Arab nations took hold. Initially, it was fostered and dominated by Nassar in Egypt who gave birth to the concept of the rise of a new Arab/Muslim power empire in the Middle East.
When the United States of America failed to honour its promise to fund the Aswan Dam for the Egyptians, the Egyptians created an alliance with the Soviet Union and a new pan-nationalist/ socialist philosophy was born.. It was a secular socialism, where the old views and vision of Islam were shunned and denigrated and the new “modern” world view was espoused.
In 1948, when the Jewish State of Israel was re-born, the Arab countries, under the leadership of Nassar attacked Israel en masse, vowing that a Jewish State would never become a reality in “their” part of the world. The Arab countries were defeated- in 1948, in 1956, and resoundingly in 1967.
This utter and devastating humiliation could not be endured by these Arab and Muslim countries.
One must understand the Arab and Muslim concepts of honour and shame to fully comprehend the enormity of this situation. On an essential and inherent level, they could not bear the shame. It was at this time, that the concepts of old fashioned Islam came back into the consciousness of the Arab population.
The fundamentalism of Saudi Arabia, the Wahhabi adherence to strict and harsh Islamic tenets became very much more in vogue. Simultaneously, The Saudis and the Arab Oil producing states became exorbitantly wealthy and so ,the Muslims who had been ignored and unimportant up to this point, became very very important indeed
The reality of a Jewish State existing successfully in the Muslim’s backyard, the reality of a Jewish State that had humiliated the Arab world by beating them in a series of wars and a secular Jewish State not living in a dhimmi –like state was an embarrassment and a humiliation for these newly rich countries. And now, they could afford to do anything and everything they wanted to do to change this situation.
So, what was their game plan?
They knew that they could not win a war with Israel. That had been proven, over and over again. Furthermore, Israel was the darling of the Western world at this point. The little country, rising from the ashes of the Holocaust, struggling for its survival against the behemoth numbers of the Arab countries, played into the hearts and minds of democracies globally. Also, many Arab countries, like Egypt, were experimenting with socialism, which was an anathema to the United States.
So, if they couldn’t win a physical war against Israel, what were they going to do?
Put very simply, they were going to change world opinion on Israel and the Arabs. They were going to change the perception of Israel from being seen as David- the little country whose citizens had just recently survived the Holocaust, whose little country had just beaten all the Arab States around them, the little country that had no natural resources to speak of, not enough water, no oil,- to being perceived as Goliath, the mean bully in the neighbourhood, the perpetrator of violence, the occupier, the destructive force in the Middle East.
They “created” the concept of the Palestinian people – the people whose land was being “occupied”, the people who were living in dismal refugee camps , the people who were displaced and destroyed by the “evil” Israelis.
How did they achieve this?
The public relations and media advisors told them what to do – and they did it.
They bought media outlets. They bought Newsweek. They bought Time Life. They bought journaiists. Many, many journalists. People like Evans and Novack, and other journalists who began spewing anti Israeli rhetoric -and many others followed.
They bought the universities, the professors, the intelligentsia, the mind shapers, the decision makers. When they funded universities like Yale, they didn’t fund Islamic Studies; they funded Middle Eastern Studies. They funded libraries- where they could have input on what books and resources would be chosen. They funded “students” whose mission was to demonize Israel. They funded politicians- many, many politicians. I remember very clearly when President Carter’s brother, the idiot Billy Carter got bailed out from his financial mess by the Saudis. Of course, a little later, his brother Jimmy Carter also joined the ranks. He now has the dubious honour of becoming one of the greatest deligitimizers of Israel.
They preyed on the gullible Liberals who bought into their anti_-Zionist zeal. Of course, these people never paid much attention to the Saudis despicable human rights records, their mysogeny, their hatred of gays, their lack of civil rights- they just bought into the narrative of Israel being the oppressor, the evil and malevolent country in the Middle East.
This of course did not just happen over night. When the Saudis and their “friends’ were told that this process of delegitimizing Israel would take twenty, thirty even forty years, their response was-
“We are a patient people. We are used to waiting. So what if it takes that amount of time? We have the money. We have the patience. We have time. We will wait. We will win. Inshallah!”
And so they have.
How do I know all this? How can I say all this with such conviction?
Because I was there when it happened. Because it was my friends- all the brightest and the best- that had all the contracts to create this. Because I was offered the opportune to get involved in creating this. It was my friends who would phone me every day and give me a play- by- play run down on what the plans were, how they were being implemented, what was happening.
I was actually so close to what was happening that I had a friend who was hired to write the manual for the Saudi Navy and everyday, would phone me to tell that she had put a mistake into the manual for me. True friendship!
What did I do with this information? What any political Jewish girl whose parents were Holocaust survivors and who loved and cared about Israel would do- I contacted AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
I remember my meeting with my friend at AIPAC like it was yesterday. I met him on a grassy knoll in Washington (Washington is full of grassy knolls). I told him what I have just written here and you know what he said?
“VIV..I…YENNE(have you ever noticed how Israelis can draw out your name?)
VIV..I..YENNE… we are the Israelis! It will NEVER work! Everyone loves us! Don’t worry. We’ll deal with it; we’ll handle it!”
Ya. We see how well that went.
I did repeat this information many times, to many people throughout the years. I told it to Barbara Amiel, at her home. I told it to politicians. To activists, to Jews, to Christians. But somehow I believe that no one really GOT it because until now we really haven’t truly had an existential threat against our very existence.
But we do now. Really. Truly. We do now.
The most important reason for people to know this is to combat the falsehood that somehow, this demonization and delegitimization of Israel is just an organic “natural” phenomenon.
This is one of the most brilliant, orchestrated and genius public relations campaigns ever created.
And the fact that we Jews didn’t create it is one of the greatest disgraces of all times.
Goebbels, the brilliant, evil public relations “director” of the Third Reich must be rolling around in Hell with jealousy.
He is the one who said (and I paraphrase) “If you repeat a lie enough times and loud enough, it will be believed”.
And he was right.
We now have a topsy- turvy Alice in Wonderland insanity where a democratic, tolerant country like Israel, which allows for dissent,allows Muslims, Jews, Christians and other faiths to live without discrimination, protects the right of gays and minorities, – to be demonized, attacked and vilified by people who discriminate against women, minorities, kills gays and dissidents.
It simply boggles the mind.
Can you imagine how different the world might have been if my friend from AIPAC had taken what I had told him seriously and had reported it back to Israel and they had put some counter measures in place?
That is the problem about being in the right place at the right time with the wrong results; move over, Chauncy Gardener and Forrest Gump-my regrets are spilling over.