According to the website of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, the initiative’s main objective is to work “to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and to pressure Israel to comply with international law.” As such, BDS aims to delegitimize the Jewish state’s global standing by isolating it as a pariah among nations and disseminating the myth that the IDF commits human rights abuses – and thus Israel has no right to exist.
Growing Influence: BDS’s Manipulation of the Media
BDS’s influence has extended to many arenas, with its ideology infiltrating governments, large corporations, churches, labor unions, and, especially, college campuses. Indeed, proponents of BDS use false claims about Israel that are cloaked in hot topic terms such as “social justice” in order to appeal to young people, especially future leaders, voters, opinion-makers and trendsetters.
In this way, the movement hopes to achieve its goal of effectively placing Israel on the international docket.
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One of BDS’ major strategies is to promulgate biased media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a view to gaining unwarranted credibility, inciting anger among the public and exploiting news coverage to deceive people into believing that the movement’s arguments are logical and valid.
As a result, BDS has contributed to fostering a binary political social environment in which each individual believes that they are forced to make a choice: that is, either to advocate against Israeli policies, and, as a corollary, be on the “right side of history,” or, by contrast, defend Israel and risk being considered “oppressors.”
The BDS movement’s promotion of the Palestinian people’s’ “Right of Return” is one example of blatant antisemitism, as its actualization would result in the elimination of the one and only Jewish state.
But the truth is much more nuanced.
BDS: Jews Have No Right to Their Ancestral Homeland
When Israel was declared independence in 1948, Arab armies immediately invaded the infant state. During the war, some 750,000 Palestinians were displaced. Shortly thereafter, a new United Nations organization was formed to attend to the needs of them exclusively, while a new definition of “refugee” was adopted to include what is today some 5 million descendants of those who left or fled Israel.
Should these individuals be allowed to return to the country en masse, it would spell the death knell of Israel’s Jewish majority. In essence, then, BDS seeks to bring about a situation in which the Jewish people have no right to self-determination in its ancestral homeland.
Related Reading – Israel Apartheid Week: The Smear Disguised as a Human Rights Campaign
BDS on Campus: Israel Apartheid Week
On college campuses, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is probably the most well-known organization that disseminates BDS’s rhetoric and positions. With chapters on some 150 campuses in North America, SJP’s “greatest” contribution to higher education may be “Israel Apartheid Week.” The antisemitic nature of this event, in which SJP calls on all “people of conscience” to participate in a boycott of Israeli products, in addition to attending a series of lectures that propagate the faux analogy between Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and former Apartheid South Africa, is self-evident.
Calling Out BDS: Facts About Arab-Israelis and Palestinian Rejectionism
Despite BDS’s claims, Arab-Israelis are treated equally as Jews under the law. The former participate in the political process and have a representative on the Supreme Court. Arab-Israelis are doctors, academics, and enjoy the same freedoms as all other citizens.
And regarding the Palestinians, Israel has in the past gone to great lengths to end the conflict with its neighbors. By contrast, the Palestinians have rejected numerous generous peace proposals over the past 25 years.
Anti-Zionist Alliance: BDS and Jewish Voice for Peace
To justify its actions, the BDS movement often partners with what many consider to be anti-Israel groups run by Jews. This acts as “cover” for their actions. How could BDS be antisemitic when it has the backing of Jewish Voice for Peace, for example? What fails to be mentioned is that these organizations generally represent a fringe cross-section of American Jewry and are thus in no way representative of the broader population, the majority of which at the very least supports Israel’s right to exist.
This is made crystal clear even by briefly perusing the website of JVP, “which is guided by a vision of justice, equality and freedom for all people. We unequivocally oppose Zionism because it is counter to those ideals.”
Countering Bias: Beyond Buzzwords to the Truth
This is one of the many reasons that when forming opinions about any issues it is crucial to delve into the facts while insisting that both sides of the equation be presented fairly. In order to evaluate the true merits of a given argument, bias must first be identified and separated from truth. Explaining and applying this process is essential in order to ensure that the next generations remain able to think critically about complex issues that cannot be adequately understood through buzzwords.
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Featured image: New Yorkers showing solidarity with Palestinians via Getty Images.