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An anxious BICOM misrepresents negotiations breakdown

Prominent UK-based Israel lobby group BICOM (Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre) is worried. Not only are BDS campaigns on the up – prompting the publication of a booklet on the 'Apartheid Smear' – but the Kerry-led negotiations are in deep trouble.

Why is that a problem for BICOM? Because in the UK, where the reality of Israeli human rights abuses is an accepted fact among many parliamentarians, NGOs and commentators, one of the remaining obstacles to the accelerated isolation of Israel is the peace process.

Boycotts damage the atmosphere needed for mutual compromise, say Israel's apologists. Weak propaganda alright – but the likes of BICOM will be stripped of even this argument should negotiations end and the Israeli government proceed with further unilateral acts of colonisation.

This explains the growing desperation in the organisation's daily news briefings, where every day the most positive spin possible is put on the talks – except for when it comes to blaming the Palestinians for the lack of progress, of course.

This reached particularly ludicrous levels this week, when on 10 April, BICOM offered the following context for remarks by Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz:

Talks between Israel and the Palestinians have faltered after the Palestinians took unilateral steps to join international organisations and Israel responded by cancelling a planned release of Palestinian prisoners.

This embarrassingly selective summary of events omits the fact that before Abbas gave the go ahead for applications to various UN bodies it was Israel that failed to proceed with the planned prisoner release (and there was also an announcement of new construction in Gilo settlement).

BICOM and other lobbyists hope that no one is noticing the openly rejectionist Israeli ministers, the continued settlement construction and violent provocations, and Netanyahu's government's refusal to countenance proposals based on international law. They're going to be disappointed.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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