Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Truth WILL set us Free

In January, I helped force an anti-Israel conference to be canceled in Australia. As so many anti-Israel events are, this one too was cloaked in the language of human rights. In fact, the conference organizer, Maqsood Alshams, was known as a human rights activist Down Under, and the conference was to "debate" charging Israel with war crimes for the Gaza War.

A few days before it was to begin, however, the conference organizer made some blatantly anti-Semitic remarks and used them--not human rights--to explain his rationale for the conference. With the help of several Australians, we exposed him. (Now, to be sure, that faux human rights language is more times than not a fig leaf for anti-Semitism, which we exposed in this case. But it was not the rabid Israel haters (and Jew haters) who were the key. If anything, they would have cheered Alshams' remarks. The key was the academic institutions and liberal participants, including Jews who justified their participation by "compassion for the Palestinians.

Even after Alshams' anti-Semitism was exposed in one of Australia's most widely-read dailies, they were not planning to pull out of the conference. It took another day of emphasizing the poison that was the rationale for the conference before they did. "I don't want to confuse the Palestinian issues that I care about with any form of racism or anti-Semitism," said one of the academics, explaining his pullout. "As a Jew who condemns anti-Semitism I though it would be inappropriate to engage in a debate in that kind of environment," said another.

And that's the key. Regardless of how chic it has become in those circles to be anti-Israel, it is still difficult for participants to associate themselves with open and blatant "racism or anti-Semitism." As the Australian conference is far from unique (we have seen recent examples of the same in Canada, for instance), Israel's supporters world wide should be vigilant and ready to act in similar situations. It is not all that difficult if we (1) have truth and justice on our side; (2) are active in smoking out these things; and (3) have an organized effort ready to act whenever we do.

The elements are all there, too, and I offer to work with anyone who wants to see the same results we gained in Australia this January.

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