If I could think of a good rhyme for “brownshirt”, I’d suggest it, but until then:
For years, Jewish and pro-Israel groups have been debating how best to combat the [BDS] movement, but according to British activist Simon Cobbs, the answer may be simpler than they might think: “By laughing at them.”
The topic of boycotts is, of course, a serious one – and the BDS Movement itself is no laughing matter, as Cobbs himself well knows. Like many other British Jews, he accuses BDS of stoking anti-Semitic sentiment through its “bullying tactics”, by singling out the Jewish state not just for criticism, but with calls to dismantle it completely.
He points to the links between groups individuals associated with BDS, and anti-Semitic groups spanning the far-left and far-right, including Islamist hate preachers. That atmosphere has spawned violence on many occasions…
So how have they done it?
The key, says Cobbs, is to always stay on the front foot, keep it simple, and avoid falling into the trap of being reactive – and a good dose of Jewish humor.
SFI’s first ever major campaign, for example, was titled “Bagels Against Bigotry,” and simply involved supporters turning up to share bagel sandwiches at the regular SFI rally. “It was so successful we ended up giving three carloads to the local homeless shelter.”
That was soon followed by “They Bring Hate, We Bring Cake,” and the group’s most successful event to date: “They Tell Lies, We Bring Pies,” (“It was the only thing which rhymed with lies!”)
“The best way of attracting people from the Jewish community is not through letters about why you should support Israel, but with food!” he quips.
“The topic is incredibly serious… but the way to combat that is to laugh at them… to ridicule them. Because they really are foolish.
“When you say to them ‘you say you support gay rights and women’s rights but you also support a regime that would outlaw homosexuality and sideline women…’ at that point they go quiet, because they are unable to answer the questions.
“That’s why we stand up to them week after week, because when you scratch the surface and stand up to these bullies and show them for what they are, the truth comes out.”
And, he chuckles with a sense of incredulity, “they do it to themselves… they keep giving me stuff that is video gold!”
If you don’t understand the duck call, SFI has taken to calling the BDS-ers “ducks”, as in if it walks like an antisemite and talks like an antisemite…
All it takes is one candle to illuminate a dark world.