Is the BDS movement inherently anti-Semitic?
via AP

Is the BDS movement inherently anti-Semitic?

Join the conversation and vote below

The movement to boycott, divest and sanction (BDS) Israel is gaining traction on college campusesbut critics say the movement is anti-Semitic and unfairly maligns Israelis. Critics point to the movement's founders, who deny Israel's right to exist and want to see the destruction of the state of Israel. Proponents of BDS say it's a grassroots movement and organizers cannot control who participates. The organization says it has legitimate critiques against Israel and does not condone anti-Semitism. What do you think?

The Votes Are In!

The BDS movement is modeled after the movement that helped to bring down the apartheid regime in South Africa. Its website directly addresses accusations of anti-Semitism saying:

Anchored in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the BDS movement, led by the Palestinian BDS National Committee, is inclusive and categorically opposes as a matter of principle all forms of racism, including Islamophobia and anti-semitism.
BDS campaigns target the Israeli state because of its responsibility for serious violations of international law and the companies and institutions that participate in and are complicit in these Israeli violations. The BDS movement does not boycott or campaign against any individual or group simply because they are Israeli.

David Rosenberg defends the movement, saying it has done a lot to avoid and prevent anti-Semitism among its ranks. That said, being a grassroots movement means there is no way the organization can control who is and is not participating.  

Its criticism of Israel is intense and uncomfortable to read, even if you know a lot of it is over the top, but the official movement steers carefully clear from stereotyping Israelis, and speaks only of the culpability of Israeli institutions for the Palestinian plight.

Rosenberg says there are plenty of other reasons to attack BDS, but anti-Semitism is not one of them. 

The anti-Semitism charge is tempting to many who find BDS’s virulent anti-Israel posture unsettling and unjust. Not a few activists in the movement have dubious motives and its anti-Israel campaign often strays into dark areas, as when the filmmaker Shimon Dotan was disinvited from a Syracuse University film festival apparently for no other reason than that he is Israeli. But the charge is unproven. There are quite enough exaggerations or outright falsehoods perpetuated by BDS. Fight them on that and leave the anti-Semitism alone.

Adam Hummel argues it is impossible to tease out anti-Semitism from the BDS movement. Hummel points to one of the founding members of the BDS movement, who refuses to recognize the Israeli state's right to exist as a Jewish state, as evidence. 

Or for that matter, has she not heard BDS founding father Omar Barghouti’s clear admission that the destruction of Israel would be the direct outcome of a stated goal of the BDS movement, the Palestinian “right of return”? “If the refugees were to return you cannot have a two-state solution…you will have a Palestine next to a Palestine rather than a Palestine next to Israel.”
Barghouti recognizes Palestinian national rights but offers no such recognition to the Jews, who have a proven 3,000+ year link to the land of Israel and the Palestinian territories. This zero-sum approach is inherently unjust — and we’re talking about a founder of the BDS movement here.

Compounded with repeated reports of anti-Semitism among people connected to the movement and it becomes hard to argue BDS is not inherently anti-Semitic. The movement may not be anti-Semitic on paper, but Hummel argues that in the real world, BDS attracts antisemites and leads to anti-Semitic outcomes.

To view BDS solely as an idea on paper is to fail to see that BDS, as a self-proclaimed movement, also includes the people and organizations that advocate for it. Whatever intellectual legitimacy people allow BDS, they cannot avoid the fact that the movement encompasses the likes of Monika Schaefer, Greta Berlin and many others whose choice of language reveals enmity toward Jews.
More than anything, I ask that people take a look at BDS beyond the progressive sites and academic journals. Look at the activists, listen to their rhetoric and take them at their word. If you don’t see some anti-Semitism, you are as blinded as the people who only see anti-Semitism.
Cancel e81adef6e6553af1fd4ae2bf0fb5144e9639f08b71b0987074b13e549d2cbb48


Please provide a valid email