This sort of manipulation is classic BDS

Sara Gon responds to that organisation's criticism of Israel's CBC

The success of organisations like Boycott Disinvestment Sanctions (BDS) lies in distorting and manipulating facts, or just lying, in order to vilify Israel and gain sympathy for the Palestinians. 

In make this assertion in response to some aspects of the media release issued by Tisetso Magama on behalf of BDS (6 February2019).

BDS professes to seek by peaceful means, the withdrawal of Israel from all the occupied territories.

BDS’s fundamental goal, however, is to see Israel dismantled as a Jewish state, as does Hamas. It also does not promote negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. BDS holds that Israel alone must act.

BDS adds to its ‘damning’ claims that, in 2009, ‘CBC (Central Bottling Company) hosted a special reception to honour Israeli Brigadier-General Ben-Eliezer who served as Israeli Defence Minister and in that capacity, presided over the 2002 storming of Jenin, a refugee camp, leaving hundreds of Palestinians dead’.

Let’s look at the facts.

As described by Wikipedia, the Second Intifada was a violent campaign in the Israel/Palestinian conflict. What made the Second Intifada different from anything that came before is the campaign by Hamas of suicide bombings in Israel.

In 2002, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) launched Operation Defensive Shield, a large-scale military operation, the largest military operation in the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War.

The stated goal of the operation was to stop terrorist attacks. The operation was mounted after the 27 March 2002 bombing during a Passover Seder (dinner) at the Park Hotel in Netanya. A Palestinian suicide bomber killed 30 mostly elderly holiday makers.

In April 2002, the IDF entered the town of Jenin as part of Operation Defensive Shield. The IDF also entered other areas under the administration of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Jenin was targeted after it was reported that it had ‘served as a launch site for numerous terrorist attacks against both Israeli civilians and Israeli towns and villages in the area’.

The IDF employed conventional military forces until an Israeli column walked into an ambush. From then, the IDF relied more on the use of armoured bulldozers to clear out booby traps laid in the camp.

On 10 April, then senior Palestinian official, Saeb Erekat, suggested to CNN that 500 Palestinians had been killed.

Four days after the fighting stopped on 11 April, PA Secretary Ahmed Abdel Rahman told UPI that the number was in the thousands and he hinted that Israel had snatched bodies, buried them in mass graves under the rubble of ruined buildings, and otherwise conducted activities on a scale compatible with genocide.

Claims of hundreds of civilians being killed in their homes as they were demolished spread throughout international media.

The British media almost unanimously presented Jenin as a ‘massacre’ or at least an intentional ‘war crime’.

Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) repeated the ‘war crimes‘ accusations and demanded the appointment of an ‘independent investigative committee’.

Le Monde on 16 April quoted HRW and the BBC (18 April) quoted AI, repeating the massacre allegations.

Although AI apparently had no information, it issued a statement declaring: ‘The evidence compiled indicates that serious breaches of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed, including war crimes.’ AI also called for an ‘independent inquiry’. Other influential NGOs published similar condemnations.

On 3 May 2002, one month after the operation began, HRW launched a 50-page ‘investigative report’ entitled ‘Jenin: IDF Military Operations’. The Report was based primarily on unverifiable ‘eyewitness testimony’. Arguably, no credible analysis could have been produced in such a short time.

One sentence mentioned ‘mass terror’. The rest consisted of allegations that ‘IDF military attacks were indiscriminate ... failing to make a distinction between combatants and civilians ... and vastly disproportionate ….’

Subsequent official investigations found no evidence of a ‘massacre’. Official totals both from Palestinian and Israeli sources confirmed that between 52 and 54 Palestinians, mostly gunmen, and 23 IDF soldiers had been killed.

BDS tries to dissemble by linking the deaths in Gaza in 2014 with the donations of food to the IDF. Whatever your position on Gaza may be, support of the IDF with donations of food is not sinister or illegal. Israeli citizens who wish to support IDF soldiers may do so.

This sort of manipulation is classic BDS.

Sara Gon is a Policy Fellow at the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), a think tank that promotes political and economic freedom. Readers are invited to take a stand with the IRR by sending an SMS to 32823 (SMSes cost R1, Ts and Cs apply).