In recently participated in an international conference that brought together activists from 30 countries to discuss the ongoing extreme global anti-Israel BDS campaigns.
As BDS impacts negatively less on Israel’s economy and more on negativity toward Israel and her Zionist supporters around the world, I offer reflections on the history of BDS and how to fight it moving forward.
BDS’s roots trace back to two arenas – the Arab states’ boycott of Israel and the so-called Durban Conference against Racism.
• The longstanding economic boycott of Israel led by Arab nations for decades was simply another front in the war to destroy Israel. In the United States, dating back decades, the US Congress passed legislation against those entities who cooperated or supported the boycott. No one back then defended the boycott as “free speech.” It was and is a tool to weaken the Jewish state and erode its economic viability. In 2019, we should not allow governments, universities, NGOs, or church leaders to use “free speech” as a fig leaf for BDS campaigns that have the same goals as the original Arab boycott.
• BDSers continuously move the goalposts regarding the stated goal of their campaign. We can trace its ideological roots to the ill-fated 2001 United Nations World Conference against Racism that was convened in Durban, South Africa. That continent’s first such conference was hijacked to delegitimize and demonize Israel as the 21t century’s apartheid state. Some 3,900 global NGOs formalized the insidious narrative against the Jewish state within which BDS operates. I know since I had a front row seat at the antisemitic hatefest and served as a spokesman for the outmanned and outgunned Jewish groups who attended. It was there that we learned that so-called civil society was anything but civil when it came to the state of Israel.