McGill Daily Column Repeats Unfounded Hamas Propaganda & Naively Presents BDS Movement As Moral

March 22, 2024

In his March 14 opinion column in The McGill Daily, a student newspaper at McGill University entitled: “Boycott, Define, Specify,” author Benjamin Wexler promoted the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement as a powerful tool to be used against Israel, writing that “boycotts are a tool accessible to civil society and students.”

The justification for anti-Israel boycotts are, for Wexler, apparently self-evident.

Wexler argued that “Israel’s recent assault on Gaza is one of the most brutal and indiscriminate urban military campaigns in recent history, killing nearly 30,000 people at the time of writing according to the Gaza Health Ministry.”

The “Gaza Health Ministry,” as an arm of the Hamas terrorist group, is far from a reputable source of casualty data. Not only does it fail to distinguish between civilians and combatants, and between those killed in Israeli strikes and by misfired Palestinian rockets, Hamas is a habitually lying organization which simply cannot be trusted.

Moreover, Hamas’ casualty “data” itself is highly suspect from a statistical standpoint, and is extremely unlikely to be accurate. If Wexler is going to uncritically repeat Hamas propaganda (without making clear the source), he ought to at minimum share Israel’s position as well: that 28,000 people in Gaza have been killed, but half of them have been armed combatants, just from Hamas.

Many others in Gaza have likely been killed by errant Palestinian rockets, given that as many as one-fifth of rockets fired from Gaza fall within the coastal enclave before they ever reach Israel.

Wexler’s claim that Israel’s counter-terrorism operations against Hamas have been “indiscriminate” is similarly wholly without merit. In short, there is simply no evidence whatsoever that Israel has been, as suggested by Wexler, randomly bombing Gazans. In fact, satellite evidence shows very much the opposite: that Israeli strikes have largely followed the path of known Hamas terror tunnels and positions.

There is more evidence marshaled by Wexler to justify an anti-Israel boycott. He wrote that “leading Israeli politicians have reiterated their opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state and plan for the indefinite occupation of the Gaza Strip.”

Unfortunately, for readers of The McGill Daily who have been spoon-fed a false impression of reality, Wexler does not share that the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has made it abundantly clear that Israel has no such plans, saying that “we don’t seek to conquer Gaza. We don’t seek to occupy Gaza. And we don’t seek to govern Gaza.”

In his column, Wexler took issue with some elements of the BDS movement, namely their proclivity towards antisemitism, saying that the movement has sometimes “slipped into restricting and marginalizing basic Jewish community functions, and confusing Jewishness with pro-Israel sentiment.”

What Wexler did not acknowledge is that such anti-Jewish attitudes are not a bug, but indeed a feature, of the BDS movement, which seeks to demonize the world’s only Jewish State using a cacophony of lies and half-truths to justify its assault on Israel. The BDS movement does not seek to alter Israeli policies, but rather to attack the country’s very existence as a Jewish nation-state, existing in its ancestral homeland.

Benjamin Wexler’s March 14 opinion column in The McGill Daily not only repeated unfounded anti-Israel propaganda, it also operated naively under the impression that the BDS movement can be reformed, when it is a hateful and discriminatory antisemitic campaign at its very core.

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