Far-left organisations behind the campaign to boycott Israeli products and citizens in the UK recently hosted a series of talks by Israeli journalist, Gideon Levy. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Jews for Justice for Palestinians typically organise protests against Israeli public figures who come to the UK, as well as bombarding their UK hosts with angry letter-writing campaign. But they rolled out the red carpet for Levy who was promoting his book, The Punishment of Gaza.
The Jewish Chronicle reported that the organisers attempted to bar a number of members of the local Jewish community from the Manchester event, however, they were later granted admission following intervention by Levy. Levy is a long-standing critic of the Israeli government and his opinion columns typically fall outside of the Israeli public consensus – although, as far as I am aware, he has not voiced support for the BDS campaign.
Levy’s speaking tour underlines the inherent hypocrisy among anti-Israel campaigners. It appears that British anti-Israel campaigners are selective in which Israelis they choose to discriminate against. It’s fine to host a left-wing writer whose views suit their agenda, but Israeli pop singers or cricket players should be harassed and barred from entry due to their nationality?
This is not the first time that hypocrisy has reared its ugly head among BDS campaigners. American writer Naomi Klein toured Israel last year to promote the Hebrew edition of her book, The Shock Doctrine. Perhaps most incredulous is Ramallah-based BDS advocate, Omar Barghouti, who is studying for a PhD at Tel Aviv University. Qatar-born Barghouti has refused to comment publically on this matter, but in a YouTube video he states: “If the occupation ends, would it end the call for BDS? No it wouldn’t.”
Again, UK anti-Zionist activists demonstrate that their primary goal is not to improve the situation of ordinary Palestinians – it is to generate self-publicity and spread hatred of Israelis.