Have We Learned the Civility Lesson?

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Angus Johnston writes that in 1934 academics encouraged Jewish civility towards Nazis (“In 1934, an American Professor Urged that Jews Be Civil — to the Nazis,” July 13). Fighting back was seen as counterproductive. But with the benefit of hindsight, we see civility towards those publicly advocating our destruction as wrong-headed.

Or do we?


Israel has been scolded by elements of the American Jewish community for denying entry to Ariel Gold, the Code Pink activist who supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Founded in 2005, the BDS movement and its founder, Omar Barghouti, rejects the validity of a Jewish state. Says Mr. Barghouti: “Most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.”

Bear in mind that to the Palestinian Authority as well as Hamas, all of Israel is part of “occupied” Palestine. The economic impact of BDS is negligible and beside the point. BDS is more concerned with providing a progressive outlet for spouting anti-Israel and anti-Zionist propaganda to delegitimize of the State of Israel.


Jewish and Israeli anti- Zionists such as Ms. Gold lend BDS the facade of legitimacy, shielding the movement against charges of anti-Semitism. But just because one is Jewish doesn’t mean one can’t be a Zionophobe.

True, all BDS has now is “boycotts and hostile rhetoric,” but that’s precisely all the Nazis had. Initially. Once able, Nazis began the violent attacks those behind the BDS movement would do if given the chance. Just look at what is transpiring in Gaza.

The Israelis learned. Civility towards those advocating your destruction is, indeed, wrong-headed.

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