British MP links Toulouse killings to movement to boycott Israel

British parliamentarian Denis MacShane, a Labour party MP with a history of Israel advocacy, has linked the recent killings in Toulouse to pro-Palestinian boycott motions in UK trade unions.

Writing in The Jewish Chronicle, MacShane’s op-ed on “Jew hatred” contains the following paragraph, provided as part of the MP’s claim that “denial of antisemitism is now mainstream politics”.

There is little media or political concern when the National Union of Journalists or the University and College Union back boycotts of Jewish journalists or Israeli academics. The NUJ or UCU would never dream of boycotting Saudi Arabia or China, where human rights and core freedoms are ruthlessly suppressed. But when it comes to Jews in Israel, the double-standard of contemporary antisemitism prevails.

Even for someone who has invested so much in the “new antisemitism” discourse, this is still a shocking association to make. A few months ago, MacShane was on a panel at The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA)’s General Assembly, discussing “The Assault on Israel’s Legitimacy.” While the likes of JFNA throw money and resources at combating boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), nothing beats fighting “delegitimization” the old-fashioned way: through misrepresentation and the favorite smear of all.




I almost wish he were my MP. Then I would have a good reason, and opportunity, to challenge him on his views and opinions.


I know I'm going off track here, but he said "never dream of boycotting Saudi Arabia". Why would anybody go so far as to boycott Saudi Arabia? Sure, they have issues that they need to improve, but generally people who live there have a good life. I lived there for a decade (and I'm female), and I have to say it was a pleasure and very peaceful. Israeli policy and their treatment of Palestinians and their territories is a real life horror story. Saudi Arabia should never be compared to Israel.


There's a movement to boycott Israel and not China or Saudi Arabia because there are few exiles from those two countries who are politically active against the regime, while many Palestinians have been speaking out against the Zionist state that forced them from Palestine. If Israel hadn't expelled the 1948 refugees and barred their return and hadn't colonized the 1967 land, all the advocates of BDS would still be living in their country.

That said, Sue's report on Saudi Arabia sounds like a disingenuous travelogue. Of course nothing's going to happen to you if you don't run afoul of the regime. And westerners have an easier time there than Asians because the regime relies on western corporations for its military and economic infrastructure.

The regimes of Saudi Arabia and Israel are two parts of a sickening whole. They follow different policies but they don't just have issues they need to improve.


They are part of a sickening whole. You're right about that. Look at how Saudi Arabia marched into Bahrain and its role in the counter-revolution now impacting the region. Did the US go to the UN and demand sanctions on Saudi Arabia? Of course not. Saudi Arabia can send al-Qaeda to Lebanon to target Hezbollah with US backing.


A Brit MP rants about connecting boycotting Israel shows how convoluted this Poor Little Israel Can Do No Wrong Gang will go to smear those who have the guts to stand up to a well organized campaign by the Zionists. When all else fails , attack and brand with the anti-Semite label. And then he makes the jump of logic of equating Saudi Arabia and China human rights abuses, real or other wise, to supposed unfair criticism of Israel. I for one will criticize China , Saudi Arabia and China. Just as I criticized South Africa. Just as I criticize The USA . Just as I criticize Canada's treatment of its Native Peoples. Get over it MacShane , because I chose to criticize any of these governments does not equate to me or anyone else being racist. It simply means that we are fed up with the media choosing to fail to cover the full story. We are tired of Zionazis being given a free ride. We are tired of slanted editorials. We want the truth plain and simple.


It's this sort of escalation which contaminates the legitimate discussion of the Aparheid activities of the government and suppression of civilian rights in the west bank. What a wan*er...


Who is paying MacShane to do Israel's bidding? For this is the same vicious and depraved sort of propaganda that Israel uses. And to use that over the backs of murdered people. How about the murder of the French soldier? That is for what? For celebrating le quatorze Juillet? Or for what? MacShame!


Reality is complex let’s face it - if you prefer to be unilateral it mean you are pro one side and not pro-peace.
Israel's policies in the West Bank are definitely to be condemned and opposed.
I personally would be glad to see the land shared prosperously and respectfully by the two states of Palestine and Israel.
At the same time, Israel’s treatment as THE worst global pariah when it comes to human rights abuses is demagogical at best. Pick up any Amnesty Intl report, scan the newspapers with some willingness and you’ll have to admit that many state governments treat their own citizens far worse than Israel treats the Palestinians, and that the number of people killed, wounded, displaced and living in dire conditions due to other internal and external conflict makes the Palestinian situation look laughable at the right scale.
Although this does not make Israel’s action’s right in any way it does taint those who portray Israel in a satanic light. Bias does cry out – in which case you don’t give a damn about human rights and all you care about is demonising Israel, and really it’s not peace in the Middle East you are after.
The international bullying and signalisation of Israel is apparent in the UN bodies, in media coverage and in agenda-based organisation activities. Some of it does prey on religious and race-based hatred and the two intensify each other. I have been at many rallies where genuine protest has been taken over by racist and violent supporting activists.
Unfortunately, you must keep repeating the two sides of the argument, otherwise you become guilty of your associates actions too.

Ben White

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Ben White is a freelance journalist, writer and activist, specialising in Palestine/Israel. His articles have been widely published in the likes of The Guardian‘s Comment is free, Al Jazeera, Electronic Intifada, New Statesman, and many others. He is the author of ‘Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide’ (2009, Pluto Press) and ‘Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination & Democracy’ (2012, Pluto Press). Ben is a researcher/writer for the Journal of Palestine Studies.