The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is an integral, not accidental, part of the Israeli state. Palestinians learn through experience that the whole state of Israel, its nominally commercial as much as its overtly repressive or military sections, requires this in order to continue to exist in the form in which it was created: a Zionist state in which Palestinians are politically, socially, culturally, geographically and demographically subordinate.
The Spinwatch report on Bicom, the Israeli UK propaganda body in which Poju Zabludowicz is a key player, corroborates Bicom’s role in this destructive state programme. Here are a few details to give those new to this issue more background:
* ‘Bicom was formed in response to the outbreak of the second intifada and its early focus was very much on responding to negative coverage of the violence [i.e., of violence perpetrated by Israeli state forces] (p. 49).
* It focuses on selectively distributing factually correct pro-Israeli information during acute periods of conflict. Its strategic assumption is that this will incline elite opinion-makers to adopt a stance that is generally sympathetic to Israel, in spite of the asymmetry of suffering and the concentration of infrastructural damage in the territories inhabited by Palestinians.
* In 2007, BICOM initiated a Stop the Boycott campaign (p. 50) against a decision by UCU to ‘encourage members to consider the moral implications of existing and proposed links with Israeli academic institutions’. Zabludowicz himself has underwritten a £300,000 ‘fighting fund’ to oppose academic boycott (p. 54). Bicom doesn’t only ‘disagree’ with the boycott campaign; it is the institutional main engine of the drive to depict international Palestinian solidarity as ‘institutional anti-Semitism’ and to constrain the solidarity movement by means of slow-down tactics and litigation.
* In 2011, the Director of Bicom explained the institution’s strategy of maintaining sympathetic media coverage of Israel especially during periods of maximum colonial brutality: ‘We now have a well-developed and practiced crisis management system and protocol run jointly with the JLC. We used it to great effect in response to Operation Cast Lead, in 2010 as the first Flotilla hit the headlines, as well as last year during the Palestinian bid for UN membership’ (p. 45, our emphasis).
* In 2012, during Operation Pillar of Defence (174 Palestinians killed, 6 Israelis), Bicom’s ‘grassroots network’ We Believe in Israel ‘sent out daily briefings and circulated information about an “emergency rally” in support of Israel organised by the Zionist Federation’ (p. 53).
Ipso facto, as we say in our recent note to Matthew Fuller’s review of the Whitechapel Gallery Exhibition ‘The Electronic Superhighway’, ‘Zabludowicz Art Trust [via its connections with Bicom] is an important player in the cultural legitimation of the Israeli policy of apartheid and mass murder of Palestinians.’ The question of which faction of the state Bicom supports (openly racist and exterminationist, or nominally ‘liberal’ proponents of a two-state eventuality) is irrelevant to its breathtakingly emphatical support for every instance of Israeli-state military intervention in Palestine during the c. 10 years of its existence.
All references are to Spinwatch, The Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre: Giving Peace a Chance?