CODEPINK Boycotts Israel—by Buying Israel’s Goods and Services

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Round trip airfare to Israel–$1500. Two nights in a Jerusalem hotel–$500. Spending thousands of dollars to travel to the Jewish State to endorse the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement–need to change my shorts hysterical.

What sounds like a Saturday Night Live sketch or possibly an article written by the satirical news website The Onion, is a real-life comedy of errors. The perpetrators of this asinine performance are the cast and characters of the virulently anti-Israel, progressive comedy troupe, CODEPINK.

Billing themselves as supporting “peace and human rights initiatives” and “against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ageism, and other forms of oppression and prejudice,” you’d think they’d be Israel’s biggest fans.

Where else in the Middle-East can you go to find equal rights for women, religious freedom for all, LGBTQ equality, and full rights for Arabs, Africans, or any minority group that holds citizenship? From Gaza to Tehran, gay men and women are tortured and executed, Christians are routinely massacred and women can find themselves beheaded for allowing themselves to be raped. But this is the existence CODEPINK promotes when they preach the annihilation of Israel, “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free.”

Last week CODEPINK decided to reaffirm their commitment to boycott Israel, by pulling out the corporate American Express card and visiting the Jewish State. In a publicity stunt that undermines its own message, two CODEPINK activists came to Israel in order to protest at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. While at the Jewish holy site, they posed with anti-Zionist banners and signs supporting a boycott against Israel.

I couldn’t help but wonder where they were staying and where they dined for lunch. I’m fat, I think about food a lot.

Did they make reservations at the hip and trendy Nocturno in Jerusalem, Israel? I hear they have amazing salmon and vegetarian dishes.

Maybe the ladies were looking for more of a nightlife feel and kicked back after a hard day of Israel bashing with a drink at Jabotinsky Bar.

I must confess that I was jealous of the CODEPINK activists. They got an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel courtesy of their donors. But I’m not sure their financial backers would be too happy to learn that they are aiding and abetting Israel’s economy.

For a group that is supposed to be about tolerance, using one of the holiest spots in all of Judaism to grandstand for the Jewish State’s demise is beyond offensive. Still, Israeli authorities saw fit to merely escort the two women gently off the premises. Worshippers at the Western Wall hardly seemed to pay attention to what CODEPINK was doing and did not react with violence or really express any outrage at the duo’s desecration of their holy site for propaganda purposes. This does seem uncharacteristic of a “repressive regime.”

But one needn’t look any further than a short walk east of the Western Wall in order to observe a sharp contrast, on the Temple Mount. Controlled by the Waqf, or religious trust, the Islamic religious authority maintains religious, economic, administrative, and some security over the site. As a result, non-Muslim prayer is forbidden on Judaism’s holiest site.

While our CODEPINK rabble-rousers were trying to disrupt Jews praying at the Western Wall, a Jewish mother was ejected from the Temple Mount because she had stopped to nurse her crying baby. It is somewhat ironic that a feminist organization ignored the plight of their sister who was simply responding to the needs of her child. They could have been involved in a real fight for human rights if they had taken a five-minute stroll to the Temple Mount.

But what fun is fighting against oppression when you can’t blame the Jews?

Personally, I look forward to my trips to Washington D.C. every spring to cover the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and Christians United For Israel conferences. CODEPINK always provides the sidewalk entertainment.

They always recruit the “I never left Woodstock” crowd or folks who haven’t figured out what to do with their lives since Jerry Garcia died. They hang an anti-Israel sign around their neck and lead them in chants vilifying the Jewish State. And they have so much fun singing along, just like the good old days, sitting around the bong, singing Uncle John’s Band.

My only request is that they be given a bar of soap and a day pass to the YMCA less than a mile away. It’s time CODEPINK added environmental concerns to their repertoire.

Bradley Martin contributed to this editorial.

Paul Miller is President & Executive Director of the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought. Follow him @pauliespoint


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