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For the global network of anti-Israel activists—those charmers who bring us the annual delight of “Israel Apartheid Week,” solidarity flotillas to Hamas-ruled Gaza, and Ivy League conferences dedicated to the destruction of Jewish sovereignty—there is only one cause in the world that counts.
Bashar al-Assad’s butchery in Syria? Forget it. The long nightmare of Zimbabwe under the demented rule of Robert Mugabe? They don’t want to know. The persecution of 100 million Christians by an assortment of Muslim and communist regimes? Not their problem. All they care about is, in the words of the organizers of the forthcoming Global March on Jerusalem, “the policies and practices of the racist Zionist state of Israel.”
Almost two years after the attack by Islamic extremists upon Israeli commandos who boarded a Turkish vessel that was attempting to break the blockade of Gaza, the same cast of villains is lining up for a march upon Jerusalem. The city that was liberated and unified following Israel’s victory in the 1967 Middle East war is now the site, say the march organizers, of “ethnic cleansing” against Palestinians and “Judaization (sic) policies.” And so, on March 30, they plan to have 1 million marchers gathering on Israel’s land borders, with the aim of converging upon Jerusalem.
And what a motley crew they are. Among the endorsers of the march is the pro-Taliban Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, and alongside the Afghan Islamists you will find the Berlin branch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel—a perfect opportunity to dust down those “Kauft Nicht Bei Juden” (“Don’t Buy From Jews”) signs brandished by their grandparents and great-grandparents on the streets of Nazi Germany. From Britain comes the “Viva Palestina” organization led by George Galloway, an insidious former parliamentarian with a long-held penchant for tyrants and dictators, among them Saddam Hussein, Syria’s Assad family and the Iranian regime.
Then there are those described by the organizers of the march, with no hint of irony, as “VIPs.” Their number includes the former Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamed, who, in a January 2010 address to a conference of Islamists, bemoaned the fact that “the Holocaust failed as a final solution...Jews survived to continue to be a source of even greater problems for the world.” Alongside Mahathir is his fellow Malaysian, Anthony Fernandes, the CEO of Air Asia (an airline readers are duly urged to boycott).
Most disgraceful is the presence of those Christian clergy who round upon Israel while ignoring the appalling plight of Christians in Egypt, Iran and other Muslim countries. There is the South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has energetically pushed the slander that Israel is actually worse than the old apartheid regime in South Africa. Next to Tutu is retired archbishop Hilarion Cappucci, who was imprisoned by the Israeli authorities in 1974 for smuggling weapons to Palestinian terrorists.
Still, as ugly as all this is, one may well ask whether the Global March on Jerusalem is that significant. After all, Israel faces a much graver range of threats, from Iran's nuclear ambitions through to the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists aiming missiles at Haifa, Ashkelon, Tel Aviv and other cities. With that in mind, I asked Adam Levick, a blogger and pro-Israel activist who has launched a website to expose the agenda of the march— www.gm2j.co—why we should care in the first place.
“The organizers and leadership of the Global March to Jerusalem are comprised almost exclusively of terror supporters and extremists who oppose a Jewish state within any borders,” Levick told me. “They are intent on organizing a potentially violent provocation.”
In looking back at the 2010 Gaza flotilla, Levick argues that we ignore such initiatives at our peril. “The true nature of the terrorist-provoked violence on board the Turkish ship was disseminated too late,” he said. “We have to do what we can to prevent the Global March on Jerusalem from portraying itself to the media as a non-violent, humanitarian action.”
Here we arrive at the heart of the matter. The aim of the marchers is not to promote non-violence, but to instigate violence. More than anything else, they want to put Israel’s defenders in the position of having to open fire, so that images of “Zionist brutality” can then be broadcast around the world. If that happens, we can expect all sorts of loathsome comparisons between Israel and Syria, as though there were no difference between a massacre of innocents in the city of Homs and a clash sparked by terrorist sympathizers.
Speaking of Syria, it should be pointed out that the Assad regime—at the same time as it continues its assault on Homs—will be enabling marchers to assemble along its border with Israel, exactly as it did last June, when a raging mob attacked Israeli border guards on the Golan Heights. Assad is desperately looking for ways to divert attention from his crimes. That so-called human rights activists like Archbishop Tutu would assist him in doing so is the most terrible indictment of all.
Ben Cohen is a senior columnist for JointMedia News Service. The New York Post, Fox News, PJ Media and other prominent media outlets have also published his commentaries on international politics. Cohen is president of The Ladder Group, a communications consultancy based in New York City.