This week Le Monde published an interview with Omar Barghouti, one of the leaders of BDS. His argument, in essence, was that there is no problem with the Jews living as a minority under Arab rule in the exemplary state he aims to create.
After all, the Jews, he explained, “did not suffer in Arab countries. There were no pogroms. There was no persecution. And in general, the Jews thrive as minorities in Europe and the United States.” So what’s the problem? Please live as a minority under Arab democracy, which is known for its protection of minorities, especially if they are Jews.
The man suffers from double blindness – both to the past and to the present. It’s doubtful whether there is a Jewish community under Muslim rule that did not suffer from persecution, with or without any relation to Zionism. The list is long. And the leader of the British Mandate-era Arab Higher Committee, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, was actually a well-known fan of Jews. That’s why he apparently led the pogrom against the Jews of Baghdad in 1941, the “Farhud”, and from there traveled to Berlin in order to turn more Muslims into Nazis. He also wrote about his plans to destroy all of the Arab countries’ Jews.
It’s Barghouti’s right to spout nonsense. But when he’s given such an important platform, he should be asked: Excuse me, what are you talking about? And did you forget the pogroms against Jews in Libya in 1945 and 1948, and in Aden in 1948, and in Morocco, in Damascus, and in Aleppo? Hundreds were murdered, merely because they were Jewish. And if we turn to the present, where exactly are minorities living in peace and quiet in Arab nations? It’s possible that Barghouti means the black Muslims of Darfur in Sudan.
How is it that the interviewer did not push him? Well, it turns out that the interviewer is an Israeli, Nirit Ben-Ari. In the past she supported the Israeli-Arab nationalist party Balad. Towards the last elections she published an article supporting the Joint Arab List. She is also an avid supporter of BDS. She asked to interview Barghouti for Haaretz, but he made it clear that he refused to be interviewed for any Israeli newspaper, because of Zionist hegemony.
He should have been informed that supporting the boycott is becoming the central line of Haaretz. Only this week, the paper’s publisher Amos Schocken stated that he supports a general boycott, not only on settlements, because he “cannot understand the difference between what we do and what the whites in South Africa did”.
He doesn’t understand? Time after time, from the 1937 Peel Commission, to the partition plan, to the Clinton Parameters, to the Olmert proposal – the Palestinians refused any proposal that would have given them independence. They do not want a state alongside Israel. Barghouti’s boycott campaign underscores that they want a state instead of Israel. But blindness is a serious problem. Schocken refuses to understand.
Reprinted with author’s permission from YNet News.com