One of the reasons given by the British government for plans to ban regional boycotts against Israel (BDS) is that such actions specifically targeting the only Jewish state stokes antisemitism in the UK – a fear shared by the overwhelming majority of Jewish Britons. Indeed, examples abound testifying to the toxic impact of BDS on the lives of non-Israeli Jews.
Moreover, in addition to the real-world antisemitic impact of BDS, many note the glaring moral double standards involved in boycotting Israel, in a manner which evokes the double standards employed against Jews during the long history of antisemitism. Many ask why the world’s only Jewish majority country (and the one with the best human rights record in the region) is singled out by activists, while the truly odious totalitarian regimes around the world are spared such opprobrium.
Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow alluded to this very point in a question he posed to pro-boycott activist, and NUS Black Students’ Officer, Malia Bouattia, in a segment which focused on the government’s new anti-boycott measures.
Here’s the clip.
If Bouattia appeared a bit tongue-tied when asked whether she’s willing to consider boycotting the Muslim state of Saudi Arabia, it may be because she’s previously expressed views on the broader subject which would have been impossible to justify to Channel 4 viewers, and which undercuts the moral justification of BDS.
Specifically, in 2014, Bouattia remarkably argued against a NUS motion to boycott the barbaric jihadists of ISIS, arguing on her Facebook page that such a measure would fuel Islamophobia and serve to demonize Muslims. (Following the row over her remarks about ISIS, she was challenged on this inconsistency by Vice News and gave a similarly muddled and evasive reply.)
So, to recap, Bouattia fears that a boycott of the Muslim terror group ISIS would fuel Islamophobia, yet is apparently breezily unconcerned with the fears of British Jews that boycotts narrowly targeting the progressive democratic Jewish state would incite antisemitism.