Taking the D out of BDS

By Jordan Turner on August 29, 2014

With universities worldwide about to begin the new semester we are about to see a surge, as never seen before, for the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) anti-Israel movement on university campuses.   The rhetoric, protests, demonstrations and intimidation of Jews, and of those whom believe in Israel’s right to exist, will be rampant.   Just this past week in Canada the Ontario branch of the Canadian Federation of Students representing over 300, 000 university students have unanimously passed a motion to boycott Israel.  This was preceded by Ryerson University’s student union voting last April to boycott Israel.  These boycotts are only the start of what will be a well-organized push to delegitimize Israel and its supporters.

Many people who might not agree with Israel’s policy vis-à-vis the Palestinians believe that the BDS movement’s boycotting  of Israel businesses, products and intellectuals is a fair approach to pressure the Israeli government to alter is policies. Although many of those involved have much more sinister motives and you can see this  in their popular mantra; “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”  There is no call for a two State solution but instead a call for the destruction of the State of Israel to be replaced by a Palestinian one.  To the rest of those involved in the movement they either do not understand the ramifications of supporting a boycott or they do not care.  What is lost on many who contemplate joining the BDS movement is that when someone has decided to accept a boycott they have decided that one side of the conflict is unequivocally right and the other is unequivocally wrong.  That one side is intrinsically good and the other side is inherently evil.  When one decides to join a boycott they have left no room for ambiguity.  They have accepted, without reservation, the Palestinian version of history, their violent struggle and their vision of a possible future state.  They have concluded that only Israel is culpable in the conflict and that Palestinians share absolutely no blame or responsibility for their plight.   It means they support Hamas and their indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli town and cities as they have chosen to Boycott Israel and not the unity Palestinian government or the countries providing financial and/or political support to Hamas.

The BDS movement calls Israel an apartheid state but continuously fails to mention that they are the only genuine democracy in the Middle East. That Israel has a population of over 1.6 Million Israeli Arabs who have full voting rights, who have members in the Israeli parliament and  a sitting judge on the Israeli supreme court.  People often forget that over 20% of Israel’s population is Arab and that a boycott against Israel includes a boycott of all its citizens.

Israel policies are allowed to be subjected to criticism just as any other country in the world.  However, Israel is continuously being singled out for boycotts while the BDS movement casually turns a blind eye from actual human rights abuses occurring on a daily basis around the world.  The BDS movement’s hypocrisy and complete lack of objectivity only help to create animosity, hatred, and violence.   It’s so tragic that students unions worldwide, instead of focusing on the well-being of their own students, have chosen to focus on boycotts, divestments and sanctions against the only democracy in the Middle East.  It’s tragic that they preach diversity yet by boycotting Israeli academics have firmly declared they are against the diversity of ideas.  One can hope that the student unions will reverse their decisions to boycott Israel but sadly when they have accepted an ideology that completely disregards and vilifies the Israeli point of view there is not much hope.


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