Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Resource Page
Boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) are the tactics of political warfare used against Israel, based on the exploitation of human rights, double standards, comparisons to apartheid South Africa, and false accusations of “war crimes.”
- Boycotts of products, culture, and academics – BDS activists lobby stores not to carry Israeli products and encourage others not to purchase them. They send letters to artists, musicians, authors, and academics, imploring them not to perform and appear in Israel or cooperate with Israeli institutions. Boycotts undermine liberal values, such as academic freedom and freedom of expression, by restricting openness and tolerance.
- Divestment from companies that do business with Israel – Distorting the concept of ethical investing, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) accuse companies that conduct business in Israel of involvement in war crimes and violations of international law. The NGOs approach investors, primarily large banks and pension funds, and push for the exclusion of these companies.
- Sanctions against self-defense measures – Anti-Israel activists demand that the international community enact comprehensive sanctions against Israel – treating Israel as a pariah state. The ultimate goal is legally enforced sanctions by the UN Security Council. Other forms of sanctions include arms embargoes, which are premised on baseless charges of war crimes. Similarly, legal proceedings are initiated against Israeli officials to punish Israel for defensive actions.
- BDS is the main component of the “Durban strategy,” which was adopted by dozens of NGOs at the 2001 UN Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, which crystallized the strategy of delegitimizing Israel as “an apartheid regime” through international isolation.
- Other tactics of the Durban Strategy include “lawfare” campaigns against Israeli officials in international courts; lobbying international bodies, including the UN, EU, US and criminal courts; publishing false reports and accusations of “war crimes,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “apartheid”; organizing provocations such as flotillas and violent demonstrations under the guise of humanitarian operations and human rights.
- The campaign seeks to end the “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and promotes the right of “Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.” These goals undermine the fundamental right of the Jewish people to self-determination.
- This campaign is financed and supported extensively by foreign governments, as well as foundations and religious charities, which provide frameworks for anti-Israel political influence. *See funding chart below.
- Most of this money comes from Europe, usually involving taxpayer funds funneled through secret processes to organizations that operate under the banners of promoting human rights, humanitarian aid, democracy and peace.
- BDS seeks the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.
- Co-founder of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) Omar Barghouti (2004): “The current phase has all the emblematic properties of what may be considered the final chapter of the Zionist project. We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it, for Zionism is intent on killing itself. I, for one, support euthanasia.”
- As’ad Abu Khalil, a central activist in the U.S. (2012): “Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the State of Israel.”
- Pro-BDS author Ahmed Moor: “OK, fine. So BDS does mean the end of the Jewish state…. I view the BDS movement as a long-term project with radically transformative potential….In other words, BDS is not another step on the way to the final showdown; BDS is The Final Showdown.”
- BDS is not an established organization or movement, but comprised of dozens of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and radical activists.
- In practice, the BDS campaign has little success on the ground, but its effectiveness lies in its ability to penetrate the public and political discourse and blur the lines between legitimate criticism of Israel and the complete de-legitimization of Israel in the international arena.
- BDS activists utilize the threat of political, economic, academic and cultural isolation as a means of pressuring Israel, and seek to have this idea penetrate the public and political discourse, as a means of influencing governments and businesses to adopt BDS tactics.
Additional sections on BDS funders; BDS tactics; BDS and antisemitism; 1948 agenda; and NGO Monitor’s BDS in the Pews project.
Partial List of NGOs Involved in BDS and Their Funders
BDS Sewer System
Articles of Interest
- Gerald Steinberg, The Canadian Jewish News, Calling Out BDS Anti-Semitism, August 26, 2015
- Cnaan Liphshiz, The Times of Israel, Matisyahu Affair Highlights Europe’s Conflation of Jew and Israel, August 26, 2015
- Steve Schnur and David Renzer, The Jewish Journal, Recent Actions of BDS Groups Expose Discriminatory, Anti-Semitic Underpinnings, August 25, 2014
- Gerald Steinberg, The Canadian Jewish News, The selling of BDS, July 28, 2015
- Dan Diker, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), Unmasking BDS: Radical Roots, Extremist Ends, 2015
- Christian Peacemaker Teams, PALESTINE: CPT-Palestine endorses Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, April 19, 2010
- Central Conference of American Rabbis, CCAR Resolution on the 2009 Kairos Document, April 15, 2010
- Reut Institute, The Delegitimization Challenge: Creating a Political Firewall, March 2010
- Ronnie Fraser, The Academic Boycott of Israel: A Review of the Five-Year UK Campaign to Defeat It, JCPA post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism project, No. 66, 2 March 2008.
- Anthony Julius and Professor Simon Schama, “John Berger is wrong: The call for a cultural boycott of Israel is banal, gestural and morally compromised”, The Guardian, December 22, 2006.
- Jon Haber, “The Vampire’s Kiss,” Jerusalem Post, August 31, 2006.
- NGO Monitor: “NGOs Continue to Push Divestment/Boycott Campaigns (‘Durban’ strategy)”, (Vol.4 No.5) – 17 January 2006
- “Presbyterian Church USA & Families of 9/11 Victims Delegations Meet with Hizbullah”, MEMRI, November 23, 2005
- NGO Monitor: “Update: Is the NGO-Led Divestment Effort Losing Support?”, November 15, 2005
- Alexander Joffe and Asaf Romirowsky, “Academics against Israel”, Jerusalem Post, October 19, 2005
- NGO Monitor: “NGOs and Divestment: Update”, October 16, 2005
- NGO Monitor: “European Coordinating Committee of NGOs (ECCP) Meeting to Promote Boycotts and Divestment”, October 6, 2005
- Gerald Steinberg, “EU-funded NGOs behind Almog lawsuit”, Jerusalem Post, September 13, 2005
- Gerald Steinberg, “Canada’s contribution to the divestment campaign”, Canadian Jewish News, August 31, 2005 .
- NGO Monitor: “The Political Agenda of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT)”, August 22, 2005.
- Paul C Merkley, “It is About Israel’s Right-to-Life”, JewishComment.com, Sunday August 21, 2005
- NGO Monitor: “Mennonite Central Committee – Promoting Conflict via Divestment (Update),” August 4, 2005.
- Gerald Steinberg, “Terror and the divestment campaign,” The Jerusalem Post, July 17, 2005.
- NGO Monitor: “NGOs Behind Anti-Israel Divestment Campaign,” July 14 2005.
- NGO Monitor: “Sabeel – An Ecumenical Facade To Promote Hatred”, July 10 2005.
- “One year on: Palestinian civil society calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions Appeal”, Electronic Intifada, July 9 2005.
- “Three Faiths heads slam ACC”, Jewish Chronicle, July 8, 2005.
- “United Church of Christ’s Israel Divestment Action ‘Troubling’, Contravenes Months of Interfaith Dialogue,” Anti-Defamation League, July 6 2005.
- Sam Ser,“Another US church mulls divestment,” The Jerusalem Post, July 1 2005.
- Bar Ilan University’s Site on Academic Boycotts Against Israel and their Implications
- Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
- Divestment Watch
- Boycott Watch
- “Report: UK Jews Blast Church Report on Divestiture from Israel,” Ha’aretz, – May 27, 2005.
- Ruth Gledhill, “Church Urged to Reconsider Investments with Israel,” Times (London), May 27, 2005.
- Gerald Steinberg, “The NGO Network and anti-Israel Boycotts: ‘War by other Means,'” The Jerusalem Post, May 22, 2005.
- NGO Monitor: “The Central Role of PNGO in the AUT Academic Boycott,” May 10 2005.
- Gerald Steinberg, “Boycotting the Jews,” Wall Street Journal (European Edition), April 29, 2005.
- NGO Monitor: “HRW and Amnesty Promote Caterpillar Boycott,” April 13, 2005.
- “Review of Caterpillar Sales to Israel is Rejected,” (Link has expired) Reuters, April 13, 2005.
- Teresa Watanabe, “Jews Target Caterpillar Shareholder Effort,” LA Times, April 13, 2005.
- Eugene Korn, “Stopping Sale of Products to Israel Isn’t Path to Peace,” Sun Times, April 11, 2005.
- Sam Ser, “500 Million Christians Urged to Divest,” Jerusalem Post, February 23, 2005.
- “ADL Dismayed By World Council of Churches Decision to Pursue Divestment As Means to Punish Israel,” ADL New York, February 22, 2005.
- “Letter from Rabbis for Human Rights Condemning Presbyterian Divestment and Boycott Campaign,” July 26 2004.