Skip to comments.Networking to destroy Israel
Posted on 02/02/2004 3:21:45 PM PST by yonif
The World Social Forum (WSF) was established in 2000 as the anti-globalization movement's answer to the Davos World Economic Forum. WSF has held three annual gatherings in Brazil.
This year's WSF meeting was held in Mumbai (Bombay), India. The movement has outlets in Europe, the Arab world, Latin America and with its Mumbai success Asia. The WSF worldwide apparatus fills a post-Soviet vacuum for a broad variety of causes.
Causes that paid dearly to come to Mumbai included ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, and victims of discrimination with legitimate grievances for instance, Indian Dalits, Japanese Bunraku, Tibetan monks, campaigners against child labor, advocates for trafficked women, toxic waste victims, handicapped and anti-corruption activists. But these groups were again marginalized as the WSF was hijacked by anti-American and anti-Israel activists.
Last year in Brazil the lowest common denominator was anti-Americanism, anti-capitalism, and an obsession with the hidden hand of Zionism. We heard bizarre anti-Semitic sloganeering: "Nazis, Yankees, Jews No more chosen peoples!"
Last week, the fourth WSF made Bombay a platform for a more sophisticated anti-Zionism as Jewish voices in solidarity with the Palestinian cause were welcomed
The Israeli-Brazilian godfather of the WSF, Oded Grajev the tycoon who bankrolled Brazil's socialist president's election campaign had hoped Bombay would celebrate the Geneva Accord. Grajev invited Yossi Beilin to participate, but Beilin cancelled, and Grajev appeared disconsolate that the voices that became dominant at the WSF seemed to backtrack on supporters' hopes for the accords.
For instance, Geneva Accord Palestinian signatory Jamal Zaqout said of the Palestinian "right of return": "With our control of our borders to the Arab world, all Palestinians in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan will get back their identity, with the human right to return to the original homeland or to the Palestine state." Israeli Michael Warschawski called Geneva "a huge diversion from the real struggle against the wall." But Warschawski was derided as "a so-called Israeli." A Palestinian doctor told Warschawski that "the struggle against Israel is not for a Palestinian state but for the defeat of the Zionist project. Israel is illegitimate, not since 1967, but since 1948. We would resist it even if it were on the other side of the Mediterranean."
Some 60 WSF seminars addressed Israel's "crimes" against Palestinian villagers, women, children and the Arab world.
Due to the location, the program included sessions on such topics as "the New Triad: India, Israel, the United States" and "Imperialism and Liberation: Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir."
Behind the propaganda grandstanding was a series of well-orchestrated initiatives aimed at recruiting activists, sponsors and public opinion. The idea: to build a global anti-Israel campaign exploiting multifaced angles:
opposing "the Apartheid Wall" and promoting a March 20 demonstration for a "one-state solution." Ilan Halevy, Israeli-born member of Fatah and PLO representative to the Socialist International, recalled: "In the '60s we wanted one state, but accepted the idea of two. It is time to go back to one."
Opposing the Jewish nature of the state. Anna Badran of Women in Jerusalem said, "I do not accept Jewish religious claims or the Zionist heritage. Give up the Jewish state and we can work it out."
Blocking US and European support for Israel. A representative of the US campus-based Jewish Voice for Peace planned to lobby for a suspension of US aid to Israel. Several Europeans agreed to adopt a campaign against Caterpillar company sales of bulldozers used in Palestinian home demolitions.
Plans were made to press for downgrading Indian-Israeli relations. A media blitz on "Israel's encouragement of Hindu fundamentalism against Islam" and "its growing control of India's nuclear knowhow" is in the works.
To create confusion in Israeli and Diaspora Jewish opinion. Rania Al-Masri, a US-Lebanese lobbyist, paid tribute to "increasing numbers of Jews and especially opinion-molders turning against Israel."
An Israeli backpacker added: "I am a good Israeli. I accept the Palestinian right to violent resistance." He was crushed by the response of Faisal from Tullkarm: "I know better Israelis; they are dead." Participating activists talked about recruitment for the Palestinian cause. An American student demanded that "the WSF send people to Palestine to take up arms in their defense." But Rania protested that "without Arabic or training, you will be an obstacle to the struggle. Yes, come to be our PR agents at home."
Ahmed Shawki, a Palestinian teachers unionist had this advice: "We need you in the belly of the beast to destroy US, Indian, European support for Israel in every sector."
Regardless of what brought participants to Mumbai, an anti-Israel angle was promoted: Environmentalists were told, "Israel is guilty of toxic apartheid." Health workers were told by the Palestine Medical Relief Association that they could connect with a new branch of Physicians and Nurses in Solidarity with Palestine.
Teachers, with the backing of Quebec and Vancouver unionists, could connect with international teachers conferences planned for Bethlehem and Ramallah. And Indian and Canadian Committees to Support Education in Palestine were officially launched. In the words of Lee Kegley of Canada: "We came to the WSF to recruit through informal channels."
A Belgian teacher added to the enthusiasm: "We must adopt the scientific technique of historical criticism to suborn the system and have teachers train a new generation of partisans of Palestine."
Lawyers were encouraged to exploit the new International Criminal Court and champion human rights on behalf of Palestinians who are victims of crimes against humanity. And Warschawski remarked that the various "WSF solidarity movements have raised the bar to a new level of international support where people were willing to go to Iraq and Palestine to physically lend support to end the occupation."
But dissenting voices reminded him: "You and Israel are illegitimate. The injustice must be solved with the end of the so-called Israel" (huge applause).
As a sidebar to the WSF, the Association of Muslim Hotels of Bombay declared a ban on American guests. US and Israeli flags were burned. Stalls distributed anti-Israel posters and "Free Palestine" scarves to hundreds of WSF participants.
Meanwhile, Indian police were needed to hold back a march on the US Consulate in Bombay. (The Israeli Consulate was closed for budgetary reason some months ago.)
It is no small irony that the WSF gathered in Bombay, a city with a 1,000-year-old Jewish community which had never experienced any anti-Semitism. The community was offered police protection due to the arrival of the WSF.
The takeover of the World Social Forum by advocates of the Palestine cause, who made it the central axis, was insidious. The phenomenon may not have been widely picked up by the media, but its effects have been sown subliminally and globally among a young generation, and disseminated throughout civil society.
What can be done? The WSF must be constantly monitored. It must be challenged and engaged.
The writer is director for international liaison of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which he represented in both Porto Alegre and Bombay as the only Jewish NGO accredited to the WSF.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.