Dialogue is the antithesis of boycott, so boycott is the enemy of dialogue. If there’s one thing that anti-Israel boycott campaigners hate, it’s dialogue.
This was proved once again this week when anti-Israel group the Muslim Public Affairs Committee decided to target Nisa-Nashim. Nisa-Nashim is a Muslim-Jewish women’s network. Founded by former Board of Deputies of British Jews Vice President Laura Marks and the Islamic Society of Britain’s Julie Siddiqi, the network has received Government support and wide praise.
Nisa-Nashim planned an event at the British Muslim Heritage Centre in Manchester on Monday; an event that had nothing to do with Israel. But MPAC still tried to get the whole event cancelled.
MPAC attacked Julie Siddiqi for her anti-extremism work, but focused most of their ire on Laura Marks for being a Jewish community leader. In MPAC’s world, being involved in Jewish community organisations like the Board of Deputies is enough to be a “Zionist extremist”.
The British Muslim Heritage Centre stood up to MPAC’s pressure, despite MPAC organising a campaign to harass them into cancelling the event, telling them:
“We believe engagement is necessary if we are to be able to effectively contribute to the current challenges facing our community in the UK. We wish to see progress and change; working with those willing to sincerely stand with us.”
Thanks to them, the succesful event went ahead despite the pressure to cancel.
MPAC’s campaign demonstrates that it isn’t just Israelis that are the victims of anti-Israel boycotts. British Jews like Laura Marks can be its targets, and even Muslim community leaders like Julie Siddiqi aren’t safe from those who want to break down communities, build walls and prevent dialogue.