Glenn Greenwald: Fighting Israeli Occupying Forces Is “Terrorism.” Boycotting Is “Anti-Semitism.”



“If fighting Israeli occupying forces is barred as “terrorism,” and nonviolent boycotts against Israel are barred as “anti-Semitism,” then what is considered a legitimate means for Palestinians and their allies to resist and end the decadeslong, illegal Israeli occupation?” asks Glen Greenwald, co-founding editor of The Intercept.

It’s a question worth exploring; he notes that Israel has occupied the West bank and Gaza, which is “illegal under international law”. The UN has, several times now, called for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian land.

However, rather than heed international law, Israel has continued to grow its illegal settlements.

The definition of terrorism often depends entirely on the perspective of the beholder- and the Israeli and US mainstream media have been quick to cast the Palestinian knife-attacks, often on Israeli soldiers, as terrorism.

Greenwald notes that the Israeli military, however, has been far more efficient at taking the lives of innocent civilians than these knife-fighters . Remember Operation “Protective Edge” where 1,462 civilians, of whom 495 were children and 253 women, were killed? UN buildings and kids playing on the beach were deemed legitimate targets in that “protective” operation. This operation was never cast as terrorism by the mainstream media, however, despite Palestinian civilians being the ones who suffered the most and who, duh, were “terrorized” the most.

Indeed, Greenwald notes that the term “terrorism” has become a catch-all term for “violence by Muslims against the West and its allies”. Whether said violence was aggressive or resistive no longer matters- just as it no longer matters why Israel or the US military commits violence, we must assume that it is for the best of intentions.

Back to those knife-wielding Palestinian “terrorists”. He notes that Palestinian knife attacks on Israeli military targets, literally illegally operating on their soil, have been called terrorism in the same way that the US called opposition to its occupying forces in Iraq “terrorism”.

The hypocrisy, though, is the fact that people in the US and Israel seem to think that when they get invaded by a foreign military, resistance to that attack is somehow not terrorism.

In the 1980s movie Red Dawn, the US was occupied by the Soviet Union. Resistance by high school students who waged guerrilla warfare against the occupiers was deemed legitimate and not “terrorism” – Palestinian high school students, kids, are seen doing the exact same thing as the movie heroes (with far less success, because knife-wielding kids don’t stand a chance against an army with tanks in real life), and are instead depicted in the same light as actual terror organisations like ISIS.

If violent opposition to occupation is terrorism, what else is there (assuming you can survive the next dozen of so “Protective” Edges)? Well, there’s always the campaign of “boycotts, sanctions and divestment” or BDS that could be directed at Israel… unfortunately, that campaign has been labelled “anti-semitic”…. never mind that some of the pro-boycott groups are “filled with young Jews”, according to Eric Alterman for the NYT, who adds that “the pro-boycott group Jewish Voice for Peace is perhaps the fastest-growing Jewish organization on campuses nationwide. ”

Indeed, “anti-sematism” is an easy excuse to suppress even the very Jewish voices who peacefully call for change. Laws banning the call for BDS have been enacted in the US, the UK, France and of course Israel according to Greenwald who notes that:

“In France, people are literally arrested as criminals under “hate speech” laws for wearing T-shirts advocating BDS. Measures in the U.K. have been enacted to legally bar support for such boycott movements. Laws and proposed bills in Israel ban advocacy of the movement and bar supporters from entering Israel.”

Remember that rhetorical question Greenwald posed above? This is his answer:

“The answer is: nothing. Palestinians are obliged to submit to Israeli occupation in a way that none of the people demanding that would ever themselves submit to occupation of their land. All forms of resistance to Israeli occupation are deemed illegitimate. That, manifestly, is the whole point of all of this.”

Because everything Palestinians do is terrorism or a form of anti-semitism, perhaps it helps Israeli soldiers sleep better at night when they do things like this (fast forward it to the 1 min 40 sec mark):

That execution was ruled as manslaughter by the way. Christof Heyns, the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said: “Whatever legal regime one applies to the case, shooting someone who is no longer a threat is murder.”
Sources: The Intercept, al-Jazeera

This article (Glenn Greenwald: Fighting Israeli Occupying Forces Is “Terrorism.” Boycotting Is “Anti-Semitism” ) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author(CoNN) and


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