While innocently attempting to access an article on the Haaretz website the other day, I was accosted by a sequence of intrusive advertisements inviting me to “Fight BDS” — the popular boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement that aims to force an end to Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights.
The ads featured a fabricated image of a graffito consisting of a swastika and the phrase “Jews go home!” Next to this display appeared the information that “This is not 1938”; “this is now!” A final incitement to “Fight against anti-Semitism; Fight against BDS” then materialized, with a link to “more details” about an upcoming venue for said fight: the “First International Summit at the UN against BDS.”
Details on the Eventbrite website specified that the summit — referred to here with the title “Ambassadors Against BDS” — would be held on May 31 at the United Nations headquarters in New York, sponsored by Israel’s permanent mission to the U.N. in partnership with the usual suspects: the World Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, Hillel, and so on. In attendance would be such illustrious personalities as the Vice President of the Supreme Court of Israel and the CEO of SodaStream, which was tragically BDS-pressured into shutteringone of its factories operating in an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank.
The choice of the word “ambassadors” is perhaps willfully misleading in the context of an anti-BDS conference at the U.N., as the casual passerby is liable to infer that international diplomats will be there on the frontlines. In fact, the term is simply one that Israel regularly uses to refer to its propagandists-in-training; indeed, one of the aims of the gathering as stated on the Eventbrite site was to “cultivate ambassadors ready to fight the battle against exclusion and delegitimization of nations and peoples.”
Never mind that BDS is fighting exactly that battle. Those “peoples” aren’t meant to be included.
It’s unsettling, to say the least, that the…