Simon Wiesenthal Center Report: BDS “a Thinly-Veiled, Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic ‘Poison Pill'”
by Zach Pontz
A new report issued by the Simon Wiesanthal Center has labelled the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement against Israel “a thinly-veiled, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic ‘poison pill,’ whose goal is the demonization, delegitimization, and ultimate demise of the Jewish State.”
The report, which was compiled by Dr. Harold Brackman, takes a comprehensive look at the origins of the movement dating back to 2001. Among its many conclusions is that BDS “is a movement that does not help better the life of a single Palestinian and which is oblivious to major human rights disasters erupting throughout the Middle East and beyond.”
As a determining factor of BDS’s illegitimacy, the report uses Natan Sharansky’s ‘three Ds test’ for when criticism crosses the line into anti-Semitism:
“FIRST: Double Standards – singling out Israel for criticism while ignoring the more egregious behavior of major human rights abusers in the Arab and Muslim world and beyond.
“SECOND: Demonization of Israel – distorting the Jewish State’s actions by means of insidious and false comparisons with the Nazis and/or South Africa’s Apartheid regime.
“THIRD: Delegitimization – when Israel’s fundamental right to exist is denied—alone among all nations in the world—this too is anti-Semitism.
- “BDS claims to be peaceful or to favor “nonviolent punitive measures” (while refusing to denounce anti-Israel, anti-Jewish violence).
- “BDS often downplays its programmatic commitment to the unlimited “right of return” of millions of Palestinians, not born in Israel but claiming refugee status that would spell the end of the Jewish State.
- “BDS ostensibly wants to right the specific wrongs done to Palestinians, yet attacks the foundations of Israel’s entire economy and society: all (Jewish) Israelis are collectively guilty.
- “BDS is fueled by and reinforces a one-sided historical narrative denying any responsibility of Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim “rejectionists” for destroying chances for peace and reconciliation—from before Israel’s establishment in 1948, to the 1980 Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, to the 1993 Oslo Accords, to the 2000-2001 Camp David and Wye Summits, to the 2005 Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, and to this very day.
- “BDS slanders Zionism and supporters of the Jewish State by falsifying the profound differences between Apartheid South Africa and democratic Israel.
- “BDS utilizes—without admitting it—Christian “supersessionist” theological claims that Jews and Israel have lost divine favor because of the Jewish People’s alleged sins and as result Jews no longer have legitimate historic or moral claims to the Holy Land.”
The report also dismisses the BDS canard that Israel is as bad, if not worse, as Apartheid South Africa. “The truth is that the equation of Israel with South African Apartheid is both a false analogy and an historical libel at the center of the BDS campaign to isolate and ultimately destroy Israel,” it states, adding that “the end result [of the two-state solution] would be the creation—not of South African-style ‘Bantustans’ among the Palestinians—but of a sovereign Palestinian state on over 90 percent of the Arab territory Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War. In the meantime, Israel stays out of Gaza except when it reacts against terrorist attacks.”
The report also slams the BDS movement for its glaring hypocrisy, noting that “BDS Crusaders” never refuse “to utilize the outsized contributions of Israelis to cellphone technologies, the digital revolution, or biotech breakthroughs that have transformed the quality of life for billions and saved countless lives,” and highlighting the glaring fact that “Qatar-born Omar Barghouti exploits the academic freedom offered by Tel Aviv University to pursue an advanced degree while comparing Israelis to ‘mad dogs,'” while viewing “all Israeli academics as members of ‘occupation.'”
The report observes that BDS has had “a minimal impact on business” and has mostly failed in its objectives beyond the propaganda arena. Minor victories can be highlighted, but even those have been negligible and come with their own brand of controversy. A recent Brooklyn College event is a prime example: The school was unwilling to cancel a BDS event despite opposition from groups on both the left and right. Ultimately the event created a controversy when a group of Jewish students were evicted for “disturbing” the attendees.
Yet despite the minor PR victories, even supporters of BDS have acknowledged the insidious goals of the movement, with Lebanese American Palestinian Professor of Political Science, As’ad Abu Khalil saying in 2012: “The real aim of BDS is to bring down the State of Israel . . . That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.”
The report concludes, that BDS has no positive impact on peace in the Middle East: “Those truly committed to a ‘Two State Solution’ will never serve the cause of peace by embracing the anti-Semitic BDS. Honest people have a choice between two options only: a return to currently unfashionable, always difficult, peacemaking to forge two viable, peaceful states or the grim alternative, stripped bare of pretenses, of a deadly specter astride a Pale Horse.”