Brits for Hasbara Now — “peace” group is part of anti-boycott campaign

Brits for Peace Now (BFPN) was launched earlier this year to “promote the two-state solution… and to support Peace Now [in Israel]”.

In November, they will host a debate in London that promises a substantial focus on BDS. According to the organization’s website, although BFPN “has always taken a strong position against [BDS]”, the growth of the movement in the UK means they “welcome the chance to have a sensible and open debate on the issue”.

However, BFPN are not being entirely transparent: they do not merely take a “position” against BDS, but are actually a member of the executive for Fair Play, the UK-based anti-BDS, Israel advocacy umbrella group.

This is not something they publicize, and when I asked about it on Twitter, they responded dismissively, before throwing the antisemitism smear at me.

When next month’s debate was first announced, BFPN co-chair Dan Arenson claimed that the group had “an open mind” about a boycott of settlement goods. This seems in conflict with the group’s links to Fair Play, a network that coordinates opposition to BDS initiatives, including settlement goods boycott.

In his account of the February launch event, Antony Lerman quoted BFPN material as saying that the organization is “in a unique position to combat advocacy of the one-state solution, as well as calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions in British political discourse”.

All of which calls to mind comments made by Reut Institute analyst Eran Shayshon at a conference on “delegitmization” in April, when he suggested that those “critical of Israeli government policies” are more “potentially effective” in the fight against BDS (a point Reut has made before).

Israel advocacy, fighting BDS, antisemitism smears – Brits for Peace Now certainly have a lot in common with their more right-wing inclined hasbara partners.


Ben White

Ben White's picture

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.