Citizen Action Monitor

Israel’s ferocious campaign to break the BDS movement is slammed by Israeli human rights activist Miko Peled

“It really comes down to an issue of foreign silencing of free speech,” says Chris Hedges

No 1784 Posted by fw, September 25, 2016

In a 24:20-minute video interview, embedded below, Chris Hedges discusses the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement with Israeli human rights activist Miko Peled. They discuss the global campaign to economically and politically pressure Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian land, grant equality to Arab-Palestinian citizens and allow Palestinian refuges the right of return to their homes.

A frightening segment ended with Hedges saying: “It really comes down to an issue of foreign silencing of free speech”

Here’s my abridged transcript of that Hedges (CH) – Peled (MP) segment, beginning at the 17:11-minute mark, ending at 21:53.

CH – Israel has reacted with tremendous ferocity – the ministry of interior, which is overseeing the campaign, the worldwide campaign against the BDS movement – has at its disposal tens to the hundreds of millions of dollars… Let’s speak a little bit about what Israel has been doing to break BDS.

MP – Well they had a conference in Jerusalem in March, which I attended. They had the president of the state of Israel, cabinet ministers, the MOSSAD secret service operatives. It was a huge conference. And the question was: How do we combat the BDS? The starting assumption is: We did nothing wrong. This is anti-Semitism. Perhaps we have a problem with PR. How do we combat this? So it went from explaining how do all these silly little things on social media, to create these arguments and disrupting conversations all the way to a former MOSSAD operative saying MOSSAD has not yet utilized its entire arsenal. We need to treat this like terrorism and that’s what we need to be doing.

CH – Which is some kind of coded call for targeted assassinations. [Hedges mentions Omar Barghouti as a possible target].

MP – Very much. That’s exactly how many people view this. It’s a campaign of demonizing and vilifying some of the finest… [crosstalk] – the Canary Mission — the website you can sign up to it. I signed up so I get their updates. And every week or so you get a list of mostly students, but some faculty who are supporters in one way or another of the Palestine Solidarity Movement. And they put all of their [student] information is exposed, pages and pages and pages about each student. And at the end they create this impression that they [the students] are somehow associated with or promote terrorism, Nazism, anti-Semitism and so on. And they do it in a very compelling way. It’s actually quite frightening to see. Some of the campuses have become real war zones. I know the University of California in LA and some of the others, it’s become a war zone. The pressure on the Students for Justice in Palestine or any other group that promotes justice in Palestine, the pressures are unbelievable from the administration who don’t want to deal with it, who want it to disappear. And what they do is they, they associate them with anti-Semitism. The University of California actually tried to reframe the definition of racism and anti-Semitism to include any criticism of Israel. It’s gone to places where it’s beyond absurd. But they have millions of dollars that Hillel, Stand With Us and other pro-Israel groups pour into these campuses and the smear campaigns are sometimes beyond belief.

CH– It really comes down to an issue of foreign silencing of free speech.

Watching the following video prompted me to question the extent to which pro-Israel lobby groups may have corrupted politics in Canada. Consider this evidence: Israeli crimes against Palestinians do not move PM Trudeau to keep his promise to criticize “his friend Israel”; Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne considers anti-BDS motion; Green Party of Canada calls for repeal of pro-BDS vote; NDP purges pro-Palestine candidates during 2015 election campaign. Not on the same scale as Israel’s ferocious anti-BDS campaign in the US, but worrisome nevertheless.

Peled notes: BDS activists distinguish themselves by their amazing integrity, their resolve, persistence – Israel has every right to be scared. Pity we can’t say the same about Canadian politicians.

Below, is the 24:20-minute embedded video interview, followed by a chronological index to sections and rough notes


The BDS Movement with Miko Peled host Chris Hedges, On Contact / RT America, September 24, 2016


/00:00-01:46 — Introduction by Chris Hedges

/01:46-03:25 — RT Correspondent Anya Parampil examines the history and breadth of the BDS movement

/03:24-03:52 – Hedge’s introduction of Miko Peled

/03:52-06:30 — BDS – What is it? How did it spread? BDS brought issue of resistance to the forefront

/06:30-12:17 — What has BDS achieved? Israelis expanding into East Jerusalem, Veolia Transport, Caterpillar, divestments, churches, banks financial institutions, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) half the members are Jewish, academic boycotts

/12:17-17:11 — Why is BDS the most important resistant movement? It fits the crime of genocide; UN definition of genocide fits what Israel is doing in Palestine; requires a serious campaign; the 3 demands are reasonable; non-violent campaign, questions legitimacy of Israel

/17:11-18:47 — What has Israel been doing to break BDS? Israel held huge conference in Jerusalem in March 2016 to discuss how to combat BDS; starting assumption is BDS is anti-Semitism; how to disrupt social media; MOSSAD secret service wants to treat BDS like terrorism, i.e., targeted assassinations with targets like Omar Barghouti

/18:46-22:25 — What groups has Israel formed to publish personal information of American student activists at college campuses and condemn them as supporters of ISIS, called Canary Mission; the purpose is to keep people on this list locked out of college campuses; some campuses have become a war zone with unbelievable pressures from the administration to silence student activists like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) in reaction to pro-Israeli donors to the colleges and universities; millions of dollars fund smear campaigns beyond belief; also work to drive out professors like Norman Finklestein; in effect its foreign silencing of free speech; Israel pushing to end charitable missions to Palestinians; going after human rights groups

/22:25-24:20 — Why is BDS the best way to counter AIPAC which has corrupted our political system? AIPAC ability to intervene in American life – culture, education, finance and politics – is incredible and they’ve been doing it for close to 100 years; every member of Congress says they cannot survive unless they support Israel; “It’s almost like Mafia-like blackmailing”; anti-BDS legislation is going from state to state to state; BDS activists distinguish themselves by their amazing integrity, their resolve, persistence – Israel has every right to be scared.

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