Green activist Bill McKibben lifts page from anti-Israel playbook

As some of you may know, in one of my previous “incarnations” – long before “climate change” aka “global warming” crossed my radar – I was involved in combatting those cretins known as Holocaust deniers. Over the years of my involvement in that particular battle, I observed that – with so few exceptions, I cannot now recall even one – the fact-free drivel they dutifully recycled was primarily a platform for launching into an equally fact-free tirade against Jews, Judaism and/or the State of Israel.

In those good old days, these foot-soldiers of the blight brigade were very much on the fringe (if not beyond). But, knowing history, I was fully cognizant of the continuum known as anti-Semitism: from the mindlessly repeated recitation of words (lifted from a known forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion), to disenfranchisement, to denigrating and intimidating actions, to outright murder.

With this in mind, from time to time, I have commented here on the remarkable similarities in the tactics of the alarmists to those used by the Holocaust denying, denigrate and delegitimize Israel propagandists; both of which groups have been – and are – actively aided and abetted – if not inspired – by one or more of the United Nations (UN)’s many splendoured springs of disinformation.

On the anti-Israel front, as Evelyn Gordon observed in Commentary, the latest in a long line of denigrations comes from no less an authority than the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO):

Israel Treats Palestinians and Syrians–over PA and Syria’s Objections:

As thousands of people in large swathes of the planet, including war-torn Syria, are dying daily for lack of adequate medical care, the one geographic area whose “health conditions” are slated for condemnation at the World Health Organization’s annual conference is, naturally, “the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.”

What makes this surreal isn’t just that the above areas enjoy far better “health conditions” than much of the rest of the world. It’s that the Palestinian Authority (Israel’s “peace partner”), together with Syria and other Arab countries, is seeking to condemn Israel at a time when it is actively providing medical services to both Palestinians and Syrians.


In the PA and Hamas-run Gaza, health care is also far better than in much of the rest of the world, though admittedly not up to Israeli standards. Of course, any deficiencies are their own fault: Both have had complete autonomy in civil affairs for years; Israel can hardly be blamed if they chose to invest in, say, military training for schoolchildren rather than better health care.


It’s disgraceful that an otherwise respectable organization like WHO would lend its countenance to a farcical resolution like this. But it’s an excellent lesson in why the positions of the “international community” are often deserving of derision rather than respect–especially when it comes to Israel. [emphasis added -hro]

A somewhat more “established” anti-Israel virus has infected far too many universities (and other organizations) for far too many years: that of equating the State of Israel to the former apartheid regime in South Africa. In support of such scurrilous and completely unfounded slanderous disinformation, those who are bound and determined to delegitimize Israel’s mere existence have embarked on a campaign of “boycott and disinvestment”, while relentlessly flogging “a shoe that doesn’t fit” – as even the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen (certainly no slouch, when it comes to criticizing Israel) had noted in 2010:

Israel has its faults, but apartheid isn’t one of them

By Richard Cohen
Tuesday, March 2, 2010


The Israel of today and the South Africa of yesterday have almost nothing in common. In South Africa, the minority white population harshly ruled the majority black population. Nonwhites were denied civil rights, and in 1958, they were even deprived of citizenship. In contrast, Israeli Arabs, about one-fifth of the country, have the same civil and political rights as do Israeli Jews. Arabs sit in the Knesset and serve in the military, although most are exempt from the draft. Whatever this is — and it looks suspiciously like a liberal democracy — it cannot be apartheid.


A recent op-ed on Israel in the Financial Times employs the word apartheid several times. Some of the time it seems to be applied to the West Bank, but other times it is applied to Israel proper. Either way, this shoe doesn’t fit. (Security concerns are not rooted in racism.) The author of the piece is Henry Siegman, a harsh critic of Israeli policies and a former executive director of the American Jewish Congress, so anti-Semitism is not the issue here — just sound judgment. Sometimes impatience can lead to imprudence.

But anti-Semitism is not so easily dismissed with others. This is “Israeli Apartheid Week” on campuses across the world, and it is clear that what furiously animates many of the protesters are not legitimate grievances but imaginary ones. Israel is not above criticism and the Palestinians have their case, but when that case is constructed out of lies about the Jewish state, it not only represents a wholly unoriginal cover of some old anti-Semitic ditties but also denigrates the Palestinian cause. It does not need lies.

As for Israel, […] The United Nations had once equated Zionism with racism. After that, it was hard to care what the United Nations thought. [emphasis added -hro]

So, it comes as little surprise (to me at least) that, as Donna Laframboise noted in a post yesterday, the zealous green crusader, Bill McKibben has lifted this highly offensive, false and denigrating apartheid analogy straight from the pages of the anti-Israel playbook:

They Call This Higher Education?


Climate crusader Bill McKibben‘s latest initiative involves equating fossil fuels with South African apartheid. We’re supposed to regard people who produce gasoline as contemptible as racists. We’re supposed to treat them like pariahs.

This, of course, is an ugly smear. Building oil pipelines is not morally equivalent to denying people the vote due to the colour of their skin.


[McKibben is] encouraging impressionable young people to believe in a fantasy world. He’s urging them to pressure their schools to pull their investments out of fossil fuel companies, just as they once divested from South African corporations. (emphasis added -hro)

And in the meantime, the United Nations and its coterie of NGOs (including McKibben’s fiefdom) remain – for all intents and purposes – scandalously impotent to address any of the real tragedies and suffering inflicted upon the innocent in too many parts of the world.

Not the least of which is the all too frequent immoral inversion of blaming the victim (or those who call a spade a spade) – as James Delingpole recently commented on the reactions to the obscene and senseless murder in Woolwich:

OK so which would you say is the worse crime?

a) killing an unarmed man with meat cleavers in a London street and then trying to slice his head off?

b) describing the alleged killers as “of Muslim appearance” on BBC news?

Call me old-fashioned but I would have gone for a). Which just goes to show how badly out of tune with the times I am because the correct answer is in fact b).

Seems to me that there’s a highly contagious and deadly virus out there – and the vector is not dissimilar that found on the continuum of anti-Semitism.


3 thoughts on “Green activist Bill McKibben lifts page from anti-Israel playbook

  1. I have my eyes set on Mr McKibben for my next ‘View from the trenches’ Dispatch. Hypocrisy seems endemic in these people and the untruths they preach have to be exposed.

    To paraphrase a certain Californian politico “I’ll be back!”.

  2. It seems to me that Bill McKibben is playing up to the youth and sheer naivety of many of his supporters. In addition, there’s a number of causes or positions that often appear to form a sort of “bundle” – anti-fossil fuels, anti-fracking, anti-capitalism, anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian, generally pro-green, anti-nuclear, anti-GM, etc…

    When some Occupy protesters were interviewed by the BBC near St Paul’s Cathedral back in 2011 and were asked what they wanted, I seem to recall that they mentioned something about being pro-action on climate and pro-Palestinian, almost in the same breath.

    When I was a student in the early 1980s, I went on a massive demonstration in London one weekend. It was very exciting. What was it about? I really can’t remember exactly, other than it was against “Thatcher!” Why were we against “Thatcher!”? Because she was in power and was a Conservative and therefore (in our excitable student minds) inherently evil and “oppressive” in ways it would have been impossible for me to explain very coherently at the time to a grown-up.

    If fracking or Keystone XL had existed as issues back in 1981, I’d probably have been against them on principle, as yet more evidence of “oppression” from the adult establishment.

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