[Opinion] The Selling of BDS
According to the mythology of the anti-Israel boycotts, divestment and sanctions campaign, 2015 marks its 10th anniversary.
In fact, BDS began in 2001, during a UN preparatory meeting in Tehran that set the stage for the notorious (and anti-Semitic) UN anti-racism conference in Durban, South Africa. At the NGO Forum, officials from 1,500 groups, including Amnesty and Human Rights Watch, adopted a plan for “the complete international isolation of Israel.” The rhetoric and the tactics were lifted directly from the South African anti-apartheid campaign.
Another pervasive myth is that the goal of BDS is limited to “ending the Israeli occupation” and promoting peace based on a “two-state” formula – Israel for Jews, and Palestine for Arabs. Journalists who repeat this image generally provide quotes from Barghouti as evidence. But they avoid contradictions, such as the official BDS website, which features rhetoric and maps that reflect a 1948 agenda (elimination of Israel) rather a post-1967 agenda focusing on compromise. Similarly, the core demands of BDS include the so-called right of return for refugees from 1948, which is equivalent to ending the existence of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People. If a peace agreement were reached tomorrow, many of the NGOs that promote BDS would continue their campaigns.
…BDS is a form of bullying that singles out Israel and Israelis, promoting the initial Durban goal of “complete isolation.” The tactics of intimidation are used to disrupt performances of Israeli artists and events staged by groups such as the Jewish National Fund; to attack performers who schedule trips to Israel; and to threaten business executives who sign agreements with Israeli firms. For many, the stress is enough to force a cancellation.
To defeat BDS, it is necessary to focus attention on the strategy of bullying that is at the core of this 21st-century form of anti-Israeli warfare. Anti-BDS “buycotts,” which encourage people to demonstrably purchase Israeli products under attack, do help, but to be successful in the long term, the myths and immorality of BDS must be exposed.