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Divestment: The How-To Manual By: David Meir-Levi
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, February 20, 2006

Remember that old adage, “When all else fails, read the manual”? Well, Arab enemies of Israel have turned that concept into a reality. Thanks to a “Divestment Manual,” recently published on an Arab website, we can now read a step-by-step instruction booklet educating divestment supporters as to how they can literally franchise divestment movements across the USA and abroad.

And that is exactly what divestment supporters seem to have done. Acting as a hitherto unrecognized fifth column, insinuating themselves deeply into our society, divestment activists have initiated a series of divestment movements that pretend to be grassroots opposition to Israeli “oppression.” In reality, these are a top-down implementation of Arab anti-Israel strategy.


First in universities, then in main line churches, and now in the Green Party, anti-Israel left-wing activists are taking their instruction from this manual and launching divestment campaigns “by the book.” The almost cookie-cutter character of these campaigns is strong evidence that their perpetrators have followed the Arab manual’s instructions step by step. The same is true of the academic boycotts of Israel in the USA and the UK.


This congruence of procedure in these different divestment programs, due to the use of this Arab divestment manual, shows us a rather grim and dangerous side to the anti-Israel divestment programs. The divestment leaders’ decision to implement, as ‘franchisees’ so to speak, the Arab organized and sponsored divestment program indicates that these leaders are quite literally in league with the Arab anti-Israel propaganda offices that created and published the manual. Therefore these leaders are knowingly working to advance the Arab campaign to weaken, and ultimately to destroy, Israel. The end game of the Arab anti-Israel efforts, as many Arab leaders have made clear over the past 70 years, is the destruction of Israel and the genocide of its Jews.


So, divestment leaders working with and for Arab anti-Israel forces are not just a 21st century avatar of Lenin’s “useful idiots.” They are the Arab world’s willing executioners.


The first rule in warfare is: “know thy enemy.”


Most of us who are aware of the fact that we are at war can identify the enemy: Jihadist Imperialist Supremacist Terrorist Triumphalist Totalitarian Extremist Moslems, hereafter “Terrorist Islam.” [1]


And most of us know that this war is being waged against us in a number of different arenas at once.

Terrorism is the most obvious. But PR and propaganda, fifth column infiltration and its ensuing influence on our society, on our children’s education, and in our media, and on our government and law enforcement agencies, are also very important arenas of this war.

What many of us do not know, is the degree to which that fifth column infiltration has been successful. Our failure in this first rule of warfare is due in part to the sophistication of that infiltration, its use of western operatives of all religions, and the degree to which those operatives have insinuated themselves into so many aspects of the woof and warp of our society.

The clearest example of this infiltration is the divestment strategy.

Late in 2000, divestment movements suddenly cropped up at a number of universities in the USA, Canada and the UK. There was much ado about striking a blow for peace and justice in the Middle East by having university endowment and retirement plans divest themselves of stock held in companies that did business in Israel. In this manner, so the movement proponents preached, pressure could be brought upon Israel to end its oppression of the Palestinians.


That movement began to loose momentum after Harvard's president spoke out against it. Now that Israel has unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip, the divestment movement on campuses is almost dead.


Then, suddenly the Presbyterian churches became a new and very willing driver for the divestment efforts. Presbyterian divestment activities attracted the attention of other main line churches and soon there was a major movement in the USA, Canada and the UK to get churches to instruct their retirement fund managers to divest from Israel.


Gradually some church leaders began to speak out against divestment because it was a movement that clearly reflected values and judgments at odds with church ideology. Churches and broader church organizations began to distance themselves from the movement, withdraw support, vote against divestment, and speak out against the movement and its cornerstone concepts. Some Christian groups have even organized support-for-Israel movements. [2]


But even as the Presbyterian movement began to spiral down in gradual deflation, another institution suddenly took up the cause of divestment from Israel. The Green Rainbow Party, committed to non-violence and legislation for the protection of the environment, now is the new champion of peace in the Middle East by means of divestment from Israel. The Wisconsin chapter floated the party’s resolution 190 in a manner that would make the American Communist Party organizers of the 30’s quite proud. [3] And the leader of the divestment movement in the Green Party took the liberty of secretly inserting a vitriolic anti-Israel article in the World Economic Forum magazine that was distributed at the recent World Economic Forum conference at Davos, Switzerland. [4] The article demanded that world powers divest from Israel and provide it with no economic aid or support. The chairman of the conference formally apologized to Israel for this unprecedented and unexplained breach of the Forum’s integrity. The Green Party has still not addressed the effrontery of their representative’s actions.

What seems so strange about this process is that each group becoming the standard bearer for divestment aspires to missions that are incongruent with the demands of divestment. Moreover, the divestment movement’s decontextualization of the conflict, such that the glaringly obvious violations of international law and human rights perpetrated against Israel by its terrorist enemy were ignored and all calumny placed exclusively on Israel, turned many against it; as they saw that the cornerstone values of their institution were violated by divestment movement’s inherent support for terrorism.

Why then did each group in turn suddenly become the clarion for divestment, and the staging ground for anti-Israel activities? The answer to that question comes from a divestment instruction manual, appearing only very recently on the al-Jazeera website. The manual, written in English, is obviously meant for use by western operatives in the USA and Canada and the UK. [5]

The rise of these divestment movements in universities, main line churches, and the Green Party, and, perhaps not coincidentally, the academic boycotts of Israeli universities in the UK which sprang up at about the same time, all seem to develop just as is outlined in this Arab manual for divestment activism. This congruence implies that divestment spokespersons in these academic, religious and political venues are quite literally in league with Arab anti-Israel propaganda offices. It looks like agents provocateurs use the manual to create divestment movements wherever they can find willing collaborators. Much like starting a franchise, the agents and collaborators use the step by step instructions to generate interest and enthusiasm in the endeavor, co-opting upper level leadership to foist the program on the institution from the top down. These collaborators, then, are knowingly working with Israel’s terrorist enemies, and supporting their goal of destroying Israel.


This manual is detailed. It opens with a long diatribe about the putative injustices that Israel has wrecked upon the Palestinians. This diatribe serves to give the faux-historical and supposedly moral justifications for divestment, as well as rhetoric that effectively demonizes Israel and Zionism. The franchisees learn what to say and how to say it.


The next section, on definitions, not only defines critical terminology, it also gives strategic guidance for how to choose an institution, and how to engage its leaders. This section explains how the justice of the Palestinian cause can be effectively argued, thus touching the altruistic nerve of people committed to peace, justice and the American way. It also presents arguments demonstrating how divestment can pragmatically serve the purposes of the institution, benefiting it financially by its selling off companies that are likely to loose money as the Palestinian struggle continues, because of their support for Israel.


The section on “Organizational Form and Unified Discourse” bears careful scrutiny.

Proponents of Divestment from Israel aim to make it a mass movement. Mass movements unite organizations with different trends and persuasion behind a common interest, or a common moral objective. This movement carries both. The diversity of the movement makes it impossible to centralize or command with any structure. In fact, proponents of Divestment have agreed that movement’s decentralization will achieve maximum outcome (so proponents can work with any institution anywhere, just take the manual and run with it. DML)

The annual conferences (of divestment movement proponents) have given birth to many resources and organizing manuals. UC Berkeley Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Duke University and the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM), Rutgers University, Wayne State University, Global Exchange and the Divestment Resource Center provide an informational model on their websites, similar to the New York and Los Angeles offices led by ANC activists during the anti-apartheid struggle (in South Africa). We will list the three most important political points of unity that forge the fabric of this movement, between student, community member and advocate: (So new franchisees can learn from the successes of past activists and apply their strategies as needed to each new situation. DML)

1. Divestment….from the State of Israel will continue until the Palestinian people achieve the following demands….:(Note that the wording of this section means that even if Israel is making concessions toward peace, the divestment movement will continue to operate. Even if there is an agreement between the Palestinian leadership and Israel which results in less than these territorial demands, the divestment movement will continue its anti-Israel activity. DML.

a. the recognition and implementation of the right of return and repatriation for all Palestinian refugees to their original homes or towns with reparations paid for lost properties and lives; (underlining in the original. Note that this demand means the destruction of the State of Israel and its replacement demographically with the state of Palestine. DML)

b. the full decolonization of all land occupied after 1967 of Jewish-Only settlement colonies, which are illegal under international law; (Israel must dismantle all settlements and return to the 1949 armistice borders. DML)

c. the end of the Israeli military occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem and all Arab lands; (What does “all Arab lands” mean? Once they have done ‘a’ and ‘b’, what Arab lands are there for Israel to withdraw from? Is this a coded message that pre-67 Israel is also considered ‘occupied’? DML)

d. an end to the Israeli system of Apartheid and discrimination against the indigenous Palestinian population, within the green line, in the 1967 territories, and in exile. (They certainly cover all their geographic bases. West Bank, Gaza Strip, pre-67 Israel and all Palestinians living anywhere in the world. DML)

2. It is not the place of the Divestment movement to dictate the strategies or tactics adopted by the Palestinian and Arab peoples in their struggle for liberation. (So terrorism is OK a far as this manual is concerned. DML)

3. Just as the Movement condemns the racism and discrimination inherent in Zionism underlying the policies and laws of the State of Israel, the Movement rejects any form of hatred or discrimination against any group based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. The Movement’s strength is in the great diversity of its membership. The Movement welcomes individuals of all ethnic and religious backgrounds to join in solidarity with the struggle for justice in Palestine. (Very important! No discrimination. No hatred. No racism. Just the commitment to support the Palestinians, even as they preach and teach hatred, and practice terrorism against Israeli civilians -- per #2. This type of disclaimer effectively quells the discomfort of those potential collaborators who truly wish to strive for humanitarian goals but fail to see the contradiction between #2 and #3. DML).


The manual continues with guidelines for establishing discourse with potential collaborators, for using legal arguments to demonstrate the evil of Zionism and its effrontery to anyone committed to peace and justice, and for tailoring the message to the target potential collaborator.


It then goes on to discuss the strategies for evaluating potential collaborators. Arab and Moslem contacts should be the easiest. “Progressive white” broader audiences can be approached in a variety of ways. Immigrants, African Americans and Latinos provide a fertile ground if approached correctly. Then there is a long discourse on how to work with the Jewish communities. Involving Jews in the movement is very important because “…..Jewish involvement in this campaign disarms the Zionist forces in labeling the targeting of Israel as anti Semitic.” (p. 13)


The last section deals with methodology. First identify your institution and its funds. Then research the institution to clarify that it has the kinds of assets that are to be targeted. Then “Build the movement” by seeking coalitions with “peace and justice” communities related to the institution. Hold events, seminars, private and public functions, and through these identify the supporters. Once there is a critical mass (c. 500 to 1,000 in a 20,000 person institution) it is time to take action. Go public with the intentions of divestment. Stage public events to demonstrate the evils of Zionism and the suffering of the Palestinians.


The conclusion is very edifying. The “divest from Israel” movement officially began as an organized movement in November of 2000. The manual is actually a summary of the methods that generated these unexpectedly successful first five years. But the need is still great. The authors “…expect a long struggle ahead…and anticipate a 20-year run. The first five years have been surprisingly successful and prolific in outcome and education. What is important, however, is maintaining a trend of tangible successes that would eventually accumulate into a total victory.”

So it does not matter what happens in the conflict itself. No mention is made of any need to comply with international directives (the Road Map, inter alia), or with international law (prohibiting the targeting of civilians). It is irrelevant for the manual’s author that by the end of 2005 Sharon had already announced the Israeli unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, and had formally committed to the creation of a Palestinian state. No mention is made of what to do if/when Israel and the PA reach a peace agreement on terms other than those defined as acceptable in the manual. Efforts to advance the divestment agenda must continue apace, perhaps for the next 20 years.

This instruction manual is intended for use by western activists who accept the premise that Israel must be replaced by “Palestine,” and that a terror war is an acceptable way to do that. These activists moved first, sometime after November of 2000, onto university campuses and followed the instructions, co-opting the participation of students, faculty and governance. They were indeed successful as agents provocateurs. But when the campus movement began to flag, they simply moved on to the next promising institution: the Presbyterian churches. After initial successes there began to turn sour, they moved on to the Green Party. With or without success there, they will continue to move on to other receptive groups, much as parasites move from one host body to another.


It is important to understand that divestment is not the goal. “Success” is not in manipulating an institution to actually divest. The goal is to use divestment movements as vehicles for continued diatribe against Israel. Their thinking is long-term. They have Josef Goebbels as their model. Repeat the same lie often enough and people will eventually believe it. Thus, later, maybe 20 years later, American society will be psychologically prepared for, accept, even welcome, the destruction of Israel.


A most chilling but candid confession of this strategy was expounded for western audiences on a University of Michigan student-run radio show where one divestment conference organizer, Amer Zahr (a U. Mich. Arab. “student activist”) explained:


“What we want is not actual economic divestment from Israel. Everyone knows that the US will never pull investments out of Israel like that. Instead, we are looking to shift the dialogue to whether or not to divest from Israel, without extraneous discussion of the basics. We hope that in 10, 20 years the public will just take for granted the premises that Israel is an apartheid state, and then we can move from there.” [6]


This revealing statement is indicative of the divestment movement’s long term goals which have nothing to do with peace or justice, and nothing to do with the factual, nature of the state of Israel and its society. The divestment campaign is meant to alter American society’s perception of Israel over a long period of time so that later, 20 years from now, the anti-israel forces can lobby against Israel in an atmosphere in which it is ….”taken for granted that Israel is an apartheid state.”


In other words, it does not matter whether or not Israel is an apartheid state (…the facts being “extraneous discussion of basics”). What matters is for divestment operatives to lay the groundwork for getting the big lie accepted without discussion of those pesky basics.


By maintaining a high level of propaganda pressure in any receptive venue, western society is constantly inundated with an endless barrage of anti-Israel diatribe cloaked in the faux mantles of human rights, justice, peace, or support for the Palestinian victims of Israeli aggression. The goal is for the western world eventually to acquiesce to the anti-Israel ideological cornerstone: the demonization of Israel such that Israel is defined as a rogue state, the world’s worst violator of human rights, a state that does not have the right to exist. Thus will the terrorists’ ultimate destruction of Israel be not just justified, but actually welcomed.


They do not want peace. They want Israel destroyed


But a major question remains unanswered. Who or what is the author of this movement?


It seems clear that the origins of this infiltration are in the Arab world. And as a successful part of TI’s war against the West, the organizers of the western agents provocateurs are part of TI’s PR and propaganda professionals. While it may still be impossible to definitively prove a link between these divestment agents and any one specific Arab institution, there is some very compelling evidence to indicate that at least one of the originators of the divestment movement is the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, based in Jerusalem and headed by Na’im Ateek. [7] Sabeel was founded by Anglican Canon Naim Ateek in 1989. It espouses Marxist leaning liberation theology in the service to the Palestinian cause.


Sabeel describes itself as "an ecumenical grassroots liberation theology movement among Palestinian Christians", which "hopes to connect the true meaning of Christian faith with the daily lives of all those who suffer under occupation, violence, discrimination, and human rights violations". However, according to Brigitte Gabriel, Naim Ateek and other Sabeel acolytes devote themselves to promoting hatred of Jews and Israel. [8]


The Sabeel Center and Naim Ateek, are believed by NGO Monitor to be among the major sources of the divestment campaign. Sabeel's record clearly demonstrates its central goal of delegitimizing and dismantling the State of Israel. Sabeel is active in promoting an extreme anti-Israel agenda in Protestant churches in both North America and Europe . Sabeel's efforts have promoted the campaign to isolate and delegitimize Israel through the divestment movement, which was originally adopted by the World Council of Churches, the Anglican Church in Britain, the Presbyterian Church, and others. Many of these Church statements are actually paraphrases or even verbatim quotes from Sabeel's publications. Therefore, it may well be that the divestment campaign, the latest form of political warfare against Israel, can be attributed to the efforts of Na’im Ateek and his staff at Sabeel. [9]


So, while there is no definitive proof that the Sabeel Center began the divestment movement, it is clear that the Center supports and promotes divestment as part of its international campaign to demonize and disenfranchise Israel.


This being the case, those American, Canadian, and British collaborators, students, faculty, Church leaders, and political leaders, who are co-opted and manipulated by TI’s agents provocateurs, are the 21st century’s re-incarnation of Lenin’s “useful idiots.” Ignorant, or ignoring, they have become Terrorist Islam’s “willing executioners.” What they do not seem to grasp, is that in their work against Israel, they are working against their own countries, their own religions, their own civilization as well.




1.) We also understand that it is important to distinguish between TI and its terrorist Moslem practitioners on one hand, and other forms of Islam as practiced by most Moslems throughout the world who have no desire to destroy Israel, no designs on world conquest, and no intention of cooperating with their co-religionist TI terrorists. This essay deals only with TI and its agents.


2.) Cf. David Meir-Levi, Divestment Fraud, Front Page Magazine, 7/13/05, and Ibid, Mainline Christian Anti-Semitism, 3/15/05


3) Cf. Roz Rothstein, “Hate Goes Green,” Front Page Magazine, Jan. 9, 2006


4) Plocker, Sever, Anti-Zionism at Davos Conference: World Economic Forum booklet features malicious, hateful anti-Israel article YNET news, 1/26/06


5) “Divestment from Israel in Its Fifth Year: A History and Method for US and European Activists” (al-Jazeerah, 1/19/06) http://www.aljazeerah.info/Opinion%20editorials/2006%20Opinion%20Editorials/January/19%20o/Divestment%20From%20Israel%20In%20Its%20Fifth%20Year%20A%20History%20and%20Method%20for%20US%20and%20European%20Activists%20By%20Eyad%20Kishawi.htm


6.) Roth, Rachel, CAMERA: On Campus, Vol. 13, #1: spring 2003, “Directing Campus Discussion: A Case Study,” pp. 2ff.


7.) NGO Monitor, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Institute for Contemporary Affairs, founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation, www.ngo-monitor.org , July 10, 2005, “Sabeel - An Ecumenical Facade To Promote Hatred”


8.) Gabriel, Brigitte, Roderick, Keith, Gordan, Jerry, Belman, Ted, “Canada’s unholy Alliance,” Front Page Magazine, November 7, 2005


9.) NGO Monitor.

David Meir-Levi lectures in English, Hebrew, and Spanish and is a contributor to Frontpagemag.com.

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