Features Australia

Comfortably dumb

3 March 2018

9:00 AM

3 March 2018

9:00 AM

Sanitising a hate-filled political campaign like the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign is difficult. It obviously has repugnant historical parallels with the boycott of Jewish businesses in 1930’s Germany. So what do you do to get away from the image of jack-booted stormtroopers menacing people outside shops in Berlins swanky Kurfürstendamm?

You do what host Waleed Aly did with his recent interview with BDS promoter Roger Waters, the ex-Pink Floyd musician, during his recent appearance on the Channel 10’s infotainment programme The Project. To a wholly ahistorical, non-ideological millennial audience, you reclassify the BDS as a ‘creative’ boycott. In reality, BDS ideologues repeatedly attest that it aims through political means to get rid of Israel altogether. Love or hate Benjamin Netanyahu, the raison d’être of the eliminationist BDS movement is not to change this or that Israeli policy. It doesn’t aim to critique Netanyahu. Does Waleed Aly know this? Of course, Waleed Aly won’t let me or any other informed person dissent on The Project about his soft-sell of the BDS movement. If it’s not influencing Israeli policy then what are the aims of this political movement against the Middle East’s only open liberal democratic society?

The BDS’s chief, founder and operator in the United States is Omar Barghouti. He says: ‘The current phase has all the emblematic properties of what may be considered the final chapter of the Zionist project. We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it, for Zionism is intent on killing itself. I, for one, support euthanasia.’ Other leading BDS ideologues are also explicit. As’ad Abu Khalil: ‘The real aim of the BDS is to bring down the state of Israel… That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.’

Ahmed Moor: ‘OK, fine. So BDS does mean the end of the Jewish state… I view the BDS movement as a long-term project with radically transformative potential… In other words, BDS is not another step on the way to the final showdown; BDS is The Final Showdown.’

To enforce the BDS on musicians, Roger Waters and his BDS gang orchestrate vile social media attacks on anyone who performs in Israel.

Like the Greens party they are invisible when Russia carpet-bombs East Ghouta, or when the Syrian regime uses poison gas (sarin, mustard and chlorine) against its own people. Franz Kafka couldn’t have imagined an inverted world where Israel with its gay pride parades growing and safe Christian minority, or a police and Supreme Court who overrule the PM, are excoriated. No word escapes the lips of Waters about the African Muslim Dafaris savaged by the Islamists in Khartoum, or the peaceful Buddhists of Tibet continually violated by Beijing.

The Rolling Stones, Sir Elton John, Radiohead, Aerosmith, and Nick Cave have all had major recent concerts in the vital open democracy of Israel. This has sent the ex-Pink Floyd musician mushugge (crazy). For Waters, cavorting on The Project has a purpose. He is notorious for his hard-line extremism on this issue. And it’s not new. However during his recent tour in Australia he gave some particularly nutty rants. More of that later.

Previously, before his recent foray into Australia, Waters himself defined the reasons for his selective boycott: ‘The situation in Israel/Palestine, with the occupation, the ethnic cleansing and the systematic racist apartheid Israeli regime is unacceptable…They believe that everybody that is not a Jew is only on earth to serve them and they believe that the indigenous people of the region that they kicked off the land in 1948 and have continued to kick off the land ever since are sub-human…’.

Yet Waters was not only letting it all hang out The Project whilst in Australia. Just before dancing with Waleed, he did a Q&A at an APAN forum held at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne. Despite their ostensible policy of distancing themselves from the selective boycott, Waters and BDS were promoted by the Greens’ Adam Bandt with posters inside and outside his office. The forum in Melbourne was MCed by notorious Sydney-based fringe-dweller Anthony Lowenstein.

Something extraordinary happened. Water’s embarked on a rant so cranky that it sounded like a Monty Python script. And if it wasn’t made in the context of getting stuck into the Yids, where else could you, with impunity, denigrate world music icons with open hatred, bigotry and homophobia? Waters maniacal tirade against his fellow musicians only came to light after the recording of the forum was revealed on the music website Noise 11 in Glasgow, Scotland.

At the semi-secret APAN forum in Melbourne, Waters’ bitterness revealed much more about him and BDS than he realised. He attacked international popular music icons including Sir Elton John, Thom Yorke, Steven Tyler, Steve Van Zandt (Soprano’s star and Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band member), and Australia’s Nick Cave. Their crime? These artists all recently held concerts in Israel so that their fans had an opportunity to see them live. Waters’ laughably insisted that his aim was to ‘help mend the Middle East situation’, before calling Thom Yorke a ‘self-obsessed, narcissistic, drippy little prick’, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler ‘an old lady’ and Sir Elton John ‘dopey’ and a ‘Queen mum’.

In a recent assessment regarding BDS the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs concludes: ‘It is a highly controversial notion even within far-left circles.’ In a December 2011 lecture, the most left-wing journalist on Israel’s left-wing Ha’aretz, Amira Hass said: ‘As someone who grew up in a Marxist environment, I say (of the BDS), “don’t make a religion of it”.’ In February 2012, Professor Norman Finkelstein, one of the most vocal international critics of Israel, stated that the BDS movement was a ‘cult’ and that those who ran it were dishonest. He concluded by saying: ‘At least be honest what you want – “we want to abolish Israel and this is our strategy for doing it”.’

I question the impartiality of Channel 10’s The Project, and wonder if ‘our’ Waleed will be fronting for any other fanatics like Waters – to his huge millennial audience. Few of whom will guess, or be exposed to Waters’ real agenda. And you can be sure that no one with any informed knowledge will be asked on to question, laugh or joke with Waleed.

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