25 June '15..
The BDS movement is not about economic pressure on Israel, and it’s not about advancing the cause of human rights. It’s about turning world opinion against Israel, and that’s the only effective weapon in its arsenal.
As a leader of the South African branch of the BDS movement recently told the Jerusalem Post, the goal of BDS is to “isolate the apartheid state of Israel until it listens to international law.”
Isolating Israel means turning it into pariah state that none will be willing to defend. As former UK Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks wrote recently, “The ultimate aim, of course, is to leave Israel so isolated in the international arena that its enemies can seek its destruction, God forbid, without fear of significant reprisals other than from Israel itself.”
If the BDS movement were concerned about the rights of Palestinians inside or outside of Israel, as it claims, it would focus awareness campaigns on issues and practices it seeks to change.
Instead, BDS campaigns aim to ban Israel from international sporting competitions, cultural events, and academic forums. BDS activists bully musicians and artists who plan to visit Israel. The message is blunt: Israel does not belong. And the only Israeli policy change that would effectively end the campaign would be to end its identity as a Jewish state.
The easiest place to see that BDS is about harming Israel’s image, not its economy, is in the spate of student-driven divestment votes on college campuses across the US. None of the divestment votes that have passed – a minority of the total – have resulted in actual divestment by the universities. Activists know that they are not campaigning for divestment. Still, they welcome the “symbolic” censure – and the opportunity to slander Israel – the votes provide.
Recognizing that BDS is about world opinion is the first step to addressing the problem effectively. Judith Bergman offers a two-step process for launching proactive campaigns against the BDS:
What is most important to keep in mind is that the aim of any anti-BDS effort, however small, is two-fold: One is to change the way that Israel is perceived around the world, including in your local community. The smearing campaign of Israel has been quite successful, resulting in a grossly distorted view of Israel across a large number of countries, especially in the Western world.The best way to weaken the BDS is to take away it’s only weapon. The more people see Israel as a force for good in the world, the less susceptible they’ll be to the BDS effort to turn the world against it.
The other is to expose the hypocrisy of the BDS movement, which targets Israel, but not the countless undemocratic and indeed murderous regimes around the world, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and many others.
Join the Fighting BDS Facebook page and follow @FightingBDS on Twitter and stand up against the delegitimization of Israel.
Featured image: CC BY-NC jinterwas via flickr with additions by HonestReporting