Vanessa Redgrave and Yasir Arafat: Update to 2011

Jane Curtin as Vanessa Redgrave and John Belushi as Yasser Arafat in the April 8, 1978 opening sketch of NBC’s Saturday Night Live spoofing Vanessa Redgrave’s anti-Zionist polemic at April 3 the Oscars upon winning the Best Supporting Actress Award for her work in the title role of Julia.

By David Broida

Remembering Vanessa Redgrave, raising a rifle and dancing with Yasir Arafat, is easy, because – to use a popular cliche – a picture is worth a thousand words.  If only I had a picture to demonstrate a recent anti-Semetic outrage from across the pond.

In Scotland this time, the West Dunbartonshire Council has voted unanimously to boycott the purchase of “>The measure, introduced and passed in 2009, was in response to Israel’s Gaza incursion, which in turn was in response to the thousands of rockets that were fired from Gaza and landed in and near Sderot in southern Israel (are you following this?), and it indicated the municipal government’s dissatisfaction with Israel’s military actions.

That’s not new news of course, the council vote being 2 years old.  What is news, but has failed to make the front pages in the U.S., or any back pages either, or even a 2-inch article buried deep in the New York Times, is that the West Dunbartonshire Council seems to have fallen asleep at the wheel.  While Egyptian forces killed around a thousand peaceful demonstrators in Tahrir Square, while many hundreds, probably more, Tunisians were slaughtered by their government while peacefully protesting their lack of democracy, while Baharain, guilty of much the same, and futhermore, now guilty of putting physicians and nurses on trial for supposedly helping non-violent demonstrators in that country, while the 42-year dictator Col. Gadafi and his forces continue their war against their own Libyan people, and while in Syria shells its civilian population and refugees there——-need I go on? Apparently, yes.  Add Syria and the recent violent repression of peaceful protest in Hama and elsewhere.

More after the jump.
I think the picture that would be worth a thousand words is now in focus – the Scottish municipal council is guilty of focusing its ire on the Jewish State, while ignoring the crimes of the neighboring Arab states (and crimes around the world as well –  Ethiopia’s Mengistu, Robert Mugabe, Idi Amin, Central Africa Republic’s cannibal leader Bokassa, Papa Doc, Saadam Hussein, Stalin, Hitler, just to name a few whose names have never been introduced in a bill before the councilors).  Another crime that the Scottish municipal council ignores to its peril is the British execution of Kenyan freedom fighters in the 1950’s and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Kenyans in their quest for indepencence, and – dare I add this – the exceution by hanging of Jewish freedom fighters in the 1940’s in pre-state Palestine.  And then there’s the Boer War in South Africa, in which Great Britain set up concentration camps for unruly Boers, also conveniently forgotten by the councilors.  And how could I forget the execution of the 15 leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, with the British commander in Ireland refusing to commute their sentences?   Irish, Kenyans, the Jews of Palestine – freedom fighters trying to throw off an oppresive occupying force, which is singular and not plural, because the occupier was one and the same and flies the Union Jack.

It seems the picture is not so sharp, not quite in focus, after all.  The blacks and whites have some shades of gray.

When the picture is enlarged, though, what becomes clear is the clearly anti-Semetic nature of the actions by these few Scots.  By focusing on only Israel, while ignoring the horrific crimes of others, can lead the reader to only one conclusion:  Israel has become for these Scots the chosen people.  As Teveye might ask, “Why choose us?”  Why, indeed!

The big picture, of course, is that the action of the West Dunbartonshire Council is not limited to that municipality.  The Boycott-Divest-Sanctions movement against Israel is growing, even here in the United States, which used to be Israel’s strongest ally, but is fast becoming Israel’s only ally.

The lesson to be learned may be this:  While anti-Semetism is at the root of the B-D-S movement, Israel does itself no favor by continuing the unsustainable status quo.  And American Jews, likewise, may be doing the Jewish State and the Jewish community worldwide no favor by failing to encourage Israel to sit down at a negotiating table with the Palestineans.

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Haverford, PA



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