The movement to boycott Israel is a “Third Intifada” whose roots are Israeli construction beyond the 1967 lines, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote Feb. 4.
This intifada isn’t led by the Palestinians, but “by the European Union in Brussels and other opponents of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank across the globe,” according to Friedman, whose column came on the heels of Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent warning at a security conference in Munich that Israel would face more boycotts and isolation if the U.S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations fail.
“Israelis are right to suspect some boycotters of using this cause as a cover for anti-Semitism, given how Israel’s misdeeds are singled out. But that doesn’t mean that implanting 350,000 settlers in the West Bank and turning a blind eye to dozens of wildcat settlements-that even Israel deems ‘illegal’-is in Israel’s interest or smart,” wrote Friedman.
“If Israel really wanted to slow down the boycott campaign, it would declare that as long as Kerry is trying to forge a deal, and there is hope for success, Israel will freeze all settlement activity to give peace its best chance,” he added.
Andrea Levin, executive director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, told JNS.org that Friedman and the Times “are actually fueling the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaigns against Israel because so much of the coverage distorts Israeli actions and fails to tell the full facts about the bigoted BDS attacks on the Jewish state.”
“In his ‘Third Intifada’ column, Friedman claims the BDS attackers are motivated by opposition to ‘the occupation’ and to settlements-when actually BDS proponents openly call for the dissolution of the Jewish state,” Levin said. “The Times should be leading the way in exposing the biased assault on Israel. Instead, not only does the paper carry Friedman’s skewed message, but it gives a platform as it did only days ago to the founder of the BDS campaign, Omar Barghouti, who urged the inundation of Israel with millions of Palestinians.”