In an open letter to the Guardian, undersigned by a host of actors you’ve never heard of, and Emma Thompson, the petition proclaims the signatories are ‘dismayed’ and ‘regret’ Israel’s Habima theatre being invited to take part in a Shakespeare festival in Britain. They cite the fact that Habima declined to boycott two new culture/arts centres opened in the area of Ariel, Israel, which they have decided are ‘settlements’ and ‘illegal’.
Much like the UN’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC), from which Israel has recently broken ties, the UN body provides some of the world’s worst human rights violators a platform to gather and focus the world’s attention on the Jewish state, in a bid to hide their own nefarious crimes. It seems that wherever Jews are concerned, no matter how great the crimes of the accuser, no matter how hypocritical, there is always someone willing to listen.
I’m pretty certain Emma Thompson isn’t one of the world’s worst human rights violators. But much like those regimes, she gives them a helping hand to hide their many and varied crimes.
Turkey is also taking part in the festival, and no one has asked to boycott the Turks. Turkey has never admitted carrying out the Armenian Genocide and is an occupier of Cyprus. Some Iranians are also performing, a regime whose crimes are numerous. But here a separation between the people and the regime is made, and rightly so. But how often do we hear about these stories in the media? Evidently, the decision to single out Israel very much rests on the saying out of sight, out of mind, for these purveyors of public decency.
Like the UNHRC, the UN Security Council, and the UN General Assembly, the ICC (International Criminal Court) is also another UN body which seeks to revise the Geneva Conventions and turn logic on its head, making it more and more difficult for democracies to combat terrorism. Although the ICC infrequently makes some important statements, such as declaring Omar al-Bashir a war criminal, its pronouncements regarding Israel are unfair and obtuse. More importantly, a successful case for Israel’s defence could easily be presented had it not been such a politically pressured institution.
But the fact that Thompson and her fellow travellers have singled out Israel shows how little scrutiny people give the information they receive. The case for Judea and Samaria (or West Bank) being annexed in 1967 is based on a cherry-picking of history. The 1967 war is isolated, and the impression given that history began with this conflict. This is done because, conveniently, certain territories were in the hands of Israel’s enemies before that war, and they were or are in the hands of Israel after the conflict. No thought is given to the possibility that any of these countries may have been illegally occupying those territories prior to the war (as was the case with Jordan in Jerusalem for nearly two decades). No intention to investigate both sides of the story is made before passing judgement. From there, the case against the Jewish people’s home is built. What about Lord Curzon, Lord Balfour or David Lloyd-George? In the popular court of public opinion, none of these men’s statements or documents (although still legally valid), are legitimate cases for the defence when discussing the Jewish state’s rights.
It has been said elsewhere that people in poverty around the world, and throughout history, have not risen in violence in the way the ‘Palestinians’ have done. Certainly, we’ve not seen Jews blow up German coffee shops and discotheques as the Arabs have done in Israel. And we have definitely not seen Jewish concentration camp victims resorting to teaching their children that to commit suicide is good, as long as they manage to take a few Germans along with them. This is the result of their ideology, not circumstance.
Go to any Holocaust museum and you’ll see exhibitions don’t start with guns and gas chambers. They start with propaganda posters, newspaper clippings, and other artefacts showing the culture slowly moving against the Jews.
I am not suggesting that Emma Thompson is a secret neo-Nazi, but it is the great edifice that we have seen time and time again in Jewish history which she and her ilk are contributing towards which makes this gesture so very reprehensible. Britain isn’t Germany in the 1930s, but this isn’t the beginning of this process, it has been well under way for decades.
This latest stunt which takes the position of the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanction) movement aimed at Israel underlines that being pro-Palestinian doesn’t mean being pro-Palestinian or pro-peace, but anti-Jewish. Like a disease, sometimes the carrier is infected, sometimes not. But there’s always the danger they’ll pass it on.
But why should these oil-rich human rights violators at the UN accept a solution to the refugee problem and set back their plans (eternal war against the infidels) when they continue to have the likes of Emma Thompson, Gwyneth Paltrow or Annie Lennox on their sides, giving unintended support and legitimacy to a supremacist, megalomaniac design; putting pressure on the victims rather than the criminals.
Celebrities should endorse good causes, it is one of the most important ways in which they can use their power for a common good and reminding us all in the West not to take what we have for granted. But in the case of pronouncing blanket statements on issues they know very little about, maybe they should heed Elton John’s quip to the BDS movement when they also asked him to boycott Israel: “Musicians spread love and peace, and bring people together. That’s what we do.”
For many years, the British and European media have been the champions of fact-fabrication when it came to Israel, and it is here where most of the blame should lie. They provided the script that Emma Thompson and many millions of others now follow to the letter.
David Brooks is a blogger at Empires of Sand where he writes about various strategic and political issues relating to Israel.