Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

BDS: You Can’t Fight for Justice With Hypocrisy

February 26, 2014 8:12 am 14 comments

A Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) protest against Israel. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Less than a week before Israel Apartheid Week opened on college campuses across the U.S. and UK, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired the first shot in Israel’s defense. Referring to the founders of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) as “classical anti-Semites in modern garb,” Netanyahu said the time has come to delegitimize those who delegitimize Israel.”Ž

Netanyahu was likely referring to people such as Omar Barghouti, one of the main founders of the BDS movement and its chief ideologue.

Barghouti claims his movement is opposed to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. His own statements, however, demonize Israel and fall well beyond the scope of legitimate criticism. At a speech in Los Angeles earlier this year, for example, Barghouti claimed that IDF soldiers shoot Palestinian children “for sport” just because they are “bored.”

Still, criticism of Netanyahu’s statement came quickly. The “ŽForward published a piece the following day with the unambiguous headline, “BDS is Not Anti-Semitism.” The writer, Emily Hauser, dismissed Netanyahu’s accusations as a cover for Israel’s presence in the West Bank.”Ž

And yet, Hauser also adds, “I do not doubt that some members of that movement are unrepentant anti-Semites — just as some members of the Greater Israel movement are unrepentant racists and Islamophobes.””Ž

It’s not just Hauser who acknowledges that a portion of the BDS movement is, indeed, anti-Semitic. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, writing a few weeks earlier, admitted the same thing.”Ž

Friedman noted that students on many college campuses had started boycotting Israel until it withdraws from the West Bank. However, he adds, “Israelis are right to suspect some boycotters of using this cause as a cover for anti-Semitism, given how Israel’s misdeeds are singled out.””Ž

Even Jay Michaelson, a notable left-leaning political commentator, writing in the Forward almost exactly a year before Hauser, echoed her message almost exactly. “Of course there is anti-Semitism in the BDS world — just as there is racism among many right-wing Zionists.””Ž

There is, of course, a significant difference between the BDS movement and Hauser’s Greater Israel and Michaelson’s right-wing Zionists. Those movements are political; BDS claims to be moral. Its call for boycott is couched in the language of justice. The essence of Israel Apartheid Week is the fight against racism.”Ž

Except, it isn’t really a fight against racism when it’s carried out by racists and Jew haters. And even supporters of the BDS movement who are not themselves anti-Semitic are aware of the anti-Semitism that permeates the movement. And a movement that tolerates anti-Semitism lacks moral authority.”Ž

In a recent column in Haaretz, Peter Beinart suggested that organized Jewish groups would be more effective in the fight against BDS if they actively opposed settlement growth as a sign of commitment to the two-state solution. A similar test can be applied to BDS. The movement would be more credible in its calls for justice if it made a credible effort to fight anti-Semitism, beginning with the anti-Semitism of its own members, alongside the fight for the rights of Palestinians.

“ŽYou can’t fight for justice with hypocrisy, and there is no bigger hypocrisy today than Israel Apartheid Week.”Ž


  • Whoever is funding NGOs…STOP!!! Whoever is funding colleges that allow anti-Semitism…STOP!!! Whoever is funding Amnesty Intl…STOP!!! Anti-Semites should not qualify for jobs, education, medical care, etc., etc. Anti-Semites don’t create…they destroy. God creates, God blesses creators and defenders of creation, God curses destroyers…and so should we .

  • The thing is, if Jews didn’t run Israel, 99% of the BDS drones wouldn’t waste as much as a yawn over the fate of the “Palestinians.” So if this was, for instance, a Sunni-Shiite dispute, every other fact being exactly the same, Israel would get as much attention as Luxembourg. Anti-Semitism apparently exists both on a conscious and subconscious level.

  • Even Norman Finkelstein, one of the most vocal Israel haters out there, has called BDS “a cult”.

  • Nelson Daniels – you said it so succinctly I shared on Facebook. Thanks!!!

  • Here’s why BDS of Israel is wrong, hypocritical and, yes, anti- semitic

    1) There is no boycott of China for its conquest and occupation of Tibet since 1950, even though Tibet had never threatened to destroy China.
    This occupation includes several hundred thousand Han Chinese settlers.

    2) There is no boycott of Morocco for it’s conquest and occupation of Western Sahara since 1975, even though Western Sahara had never threatened to destroy Morocco.
    This occupation includes a separation barrier and thousands of Moroccan settlers.

    3) There is no boycott of Turkey for its conquest and occupation of Northern Cyprus since 1973, even though Cyprus had never threatened to destroy Turkey.
    This occupation includes thousands of Turkish settlers and a separation barrier.

    4) As well, the BDSers ignore Britain’s occupation of Gibraltar, Spain’s occupation of Ceuta and Melilla, Pakistan’s occupation of Balochistan, India’s occupation of Kashmir, Russia’s occupation of Eastern Poland, Russia’s occupation of much Finland (Karelia, Salla, Kalastajans), Poland’s occupation of Eastern Germany (Pomerania and Selesia), France’s occupation of Corsica, and Chile’s occupation of coastal Bolivia—all, to different degrees, ongoing and often bloody disputes to this day, and all ignored by the boycotters.

    Since all these occupiers are not jewish, and conquered for aggrandizement, not survival, we must conclude that the focus on Israel is hypocritical and anti-semitic.

  • I noticed that two of the three writers quoted in this article (Hauser and Michaelson) admitted that there are anti-Semites in the BDS movement, “but there are undesirable elements in their opponents,” somehow excusing the former.

    One has nothing to do with the other. Whether or not there are “racists and Islamophobes,” we know there are anti-Semites among the BDSers. Without any qualification, they need to clean up their own act!

  • Let God’s purpose(s) and plans prevail. Israel is forever!!!

  • Indeed the hypocrisy is not that they don’t call out “obvious” the anti-Semites in their midst, it’s that the very target of their venom is the sole liberal democracy in the Middle East, ignoring entirely far worse offenders world wide. That makes the entire rotten bunch of them all obvious anti-Semites.

  • “Beinart suggested that organized Jewish groups would be more effective in the fight against BDS if they actively opposed settlement growth as a sign of commitment to the two-state solution.” In other words these Jewish organizations have to admit that BDS works…More, it is not “if we condemn settlement growth, than we the BDSers will not exercise our anti Semitism?” how idiotic can one be?

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Beliefs and concepts What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David?

    What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David? –  “What’s that huge white bridal dress floating over the Tower of David?” That’s what visitors to Jerusalem’s Old City asked last week. The wedding gown, created by leading Israeli artist Motti Mizrachi, is part of the 2nd Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, an event that blew into town as the Sukkot holiday got underway. Mizrachi, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, created the dress that floats majestically over the Tower of David, the main exhibition site […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    Israel is a holiday destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. No matter the style of holiday you are after, Israel has the answer. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach, hike up mountains in the desert, visit religious and historical sites, eat your way through the country or just enjoy some retail therapy, your journey through Israel will be one to remember. While there are obviously so many things to see and do, here is a list of 10 of […]

    Read more →
  • Pioneers/Philanthropists US & Canada Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO

    Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO – Jewish American fashion mogul Ralph Lauren announced his plan to step down as chief executive officer of the renowned fashion brand. The head of Gap Inc’s Old Navy brand will take over the position. The 75-year-old Lauren, who founded Ralph Lauren Corp. in 1967, will continue to serve as executive chairman and will continue leading the fashion house’s design team, according to a statement by the company. After the announcement, Ralph Lauren shares rose 3.79 percent while Gap shares […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Sports US & Canada Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish boxer Dustin Fleischer, who said his quest is to become the first world champion descended from a Holocaust survivor, stayed unbeaten with a first-round knockout. Fleischer, nicknamed “The White Tiger,” moved to 4-0 with the defeat of Ira Frank on Saturday night in Beach Haven, New Jersey, near his home, he reported after the fight on his Facebook page. The 26-year-old welterweight has won all his bouts by knockout. Read full story at JTA.

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Pioneers/Philanthropists Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Renowned New York attorney Sandor (Sandy) Frankel, one of four trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was in Israel earlier this month to look at additional philanthropic options and to observe the progress of those endeavors already funded – to the tune of multi-millions. Frankel, who recently joined the prestigious Park Avenue law firm Otterbourg P.C., met with Israeli politicians and other bigwigs to get a sense from them about which projects in the country […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Food Spirituality/Tradition ‘Pastry Secrets’ Arrive Just in Time for Rosh Hashanah

    ‘Pastry Secrets’ Arrive Just in Time for Rosh Hashanah – Babka. Strudel. Stollen. Danish pastry. Not to mention Gugelhopf and Charlotte. The names set the mouth to watering and conjure up lovingly concocted pastries that feed the body and comfort the soul. If you didn’t have a grandmother who baked these delicacies, you wish that you had. George Greenstein was never a grandmother, but his life as a baker provided his children and grandchildren with memories infused with the smell of fresh baked bread and rugelach. His daughters, Julia […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Spirituality/Tradition Fusing Israeli and Holocaust History, Novel Offers a ‘Middle Eastern Western’

    Fusing Israeli and Holocaust History, Novel Offers a ‘Middle Eastern Western’ – There is a game that all of us have played at some time in our lives. We ask ourselves: What would my life be like if I had gone to this school instead of that one, or if I had married this girl instead of that one? In their newly published book The Ambassador, authors Yehuda Avner and Matt Rees play that game with modern Jewish history. Avner — who died earlier this year, and was a speechwriter, secretary and adviser to […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Lifestyle A Toulouse Fashion Student Finds Style and Harmony in the Holy Land

    A Toulouse Fashion Student Finds Style and Harmony in the Holy Land

    A unique group of young fashion bloggers and designers recently visited Israel to learn more about the country’s fashion industry and diverse culture. Hailing from the Philippines, Korea, Kenya, Japan, Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, Russia, and the U.K., the 10 participants toured the country and met with top Israeli fashion designers throughout last week. “It was an amazing experience,” said Meissene Maghni from Toulouse, France — one of the participants of the program. “I’m Muslim and I really wanted to see Israel […]

    Read more →