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March 16, 2015 8:06 am

The BDS Movement Can Be Traced Back to Hitler

avatar by Edwin Black

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Haj Amin el-Husseini, better known as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, with Nazi SS officers in November 1943. Photo: German Federal Archives.

The anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement is said to have ignited in earnest in 2005. It was propelled by significant funding from the Ford Foundation, which poured millions of dollars into anti-Israel NGOs working in Durban, and later by the New Israel Fund (NIF), which financially backed such pro-boycott groups as the Coalition for Women for Peace.

Experts say the BDS modus operendi wields systematic distortion of international law, history, and general fact about the Israel-Palestinian conflict to rally public support. While BDS advocates claim to seek political and economic justice, their actions are increasingly trailed by anti-Jewish actions such as swastika graffiti at Jewish locations, challenges to Jewish students based on their religion, and a general air of anti-Semitic hostility on campus. Today, the BDS Movement stands merely as the leading edge of growing anti-Semitic agitation and anti-Israel mobilization, attracting pure hate elements to their message.

BDS employs such guerrilla tactics as street actions, student harassment, campus disruption, physical assaults, and duplicitous coalition building in moves eerily resembling a Brownshirt playbook. Disarmed and dismayed by the swelling assault, fragmented attempts by Israeli and American Jewish leadership to counter the movement – mainly by assembling bone-dry fact sheets and lifeless statistical arguments – have proven ineffectual.

Now, a number of Jewish organizations are pooling resources and comparing notes to more cohesively combat BDS. To this end, several hundred individuals will gather from March 21-23, 2015 in a Los Angeles hotel at the International anti-BDS Conference convened by the leading pro-Israel group, StandWithUs. The diverse list of speakers include famed attorney Alan Dershowitz, Bassem Eid of the pro-co-existence Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, Lana Melman of the Creative Community For Peace, Richard L. Cravatts of the Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, as well as this writer, bringing insights into financial investigations of BDS groups funded by tax-exempt charities.

Sporadic outbreaks of anti-Jewish boycotts arising from simple animus can be traced back to medieval times. Boycott, as an identified and organized financial weapon, only appeared on the world stage in 1880, when Irish farm tenants from County Mayo came together to economically isolate their oppressive landlord, Charles Boycott. The anti-Boycott movement became an international cause célèbre, covered extensively by such media giants as The New York Times and The Times of London,           both of which acknowledged that the successful campaign against landlord Charles Boycott had spawned a new noun and a verb.

In the last years of the 19th Century, economic pressure tactics were broadly employed by anti-Semite groups across Europe, many now actually using the term boycott. Ottoman Empire administrative restrictions against Jews in Palestine escalated into tough new laws in 1892, several years before the rise of Theodor Herzl and modern Zionism. After WWI, when international law and the 1922 Mandate designated Palestine for Jewish and Arab self-determination, an expanding Jewish presence in Palestine generated a vibrant Zionist economy. A prospering Jewish community in Palestine roiled Arab leaders led by the Grand Mufti Haj Amin al Husseini. From the moment the Mandate began in 1922, the Mufti’s ad hoc boycott became more entrenched throughout British Palestine.

On April 1, 1933, when the Hitler regime formalized its pre-existing boycott Jewish-owned stores as German national policy, the Mufti and his followers saluted and then adopted the Nazi tactic of anti-Jewish boycott, both in name and spirit. Indeed, Hitler became a hero to the Arab community in Palestine and the wider Arab world. After Mohammad, “Hitler” and “Adolf” became the second most popular baby names. Ultimately, in the 1940s, the Mufti joined forces with Hitler, creating three Nazi-flagged divisions of Waffen SS to fight in central Europe. During WWII, the anti-Jewish boycott was coordinated throughout the Islamic world, from India to Iraq, through the Mufti’s “Arab Higher Committee.”

After 1948, when Israel became an independent nation, the Arab Higher Committee and the Mufti transferred their anti-Jewish and anti-Israel boycott to the Arab League’s Central Boycott Office, headquartered in Damascus. This so-called “Arab Boycott” continued its global reach, even requiring American companies wishing to do business in the Mideast and North Africa to certify compliance.

But by 2002, as the world economy flourished and American legislation checked the Arab Boycott, the movement began to recede, even though it continues even now. By 2005 and thereafter, thanks to charitable organizations such as the Ford Foundation and then the New Israel Fund     fortifying groups such as the Coalition of Women for Peace and many others, the anti-Israel movement began to reconstitute under the banner of “political correctness” and “human rights,” fed by a continuously stoked furnace of false narratives and reinvented history, bolstered by highly edited and garbled international law.

Today’s BDS movement, which encompasses campuses, academic groups, and some unionists, flexes the unbroken connective tissue tied to the original anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist political organization of Hitler and the Mufti.

Many of the attendees at the forthcoming StandWithUs International anti-BDS Conference are starting to connect the dots of this lineage of hate. The Jewish community has been slow to react, uncommonly fragmented and disorganized. By coming together, Jewish and Israeli strategists hope to finally get the community on the same page. That page has been ripped from the history books and reprinted as a modern, false narrative; but the text is the same today as it was in the last century.

Edwin Black is the New York Times bestselling author of the award-winning IBM and the Holocaust, as well as his most recent bestseller, Financing the Flames, which broke the story of taxpayer-funded terrorist salaries.

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  • Cicy

    I guess we know that in these times we are in, Israel will be the bone of contention and which may lead to another world war. But what most people don’t know is that Israel will stand stronger than all nations in the end.

  • MO

    You didn’t have to go any further in this article other than the fact that BDS receives $$$ from the Ford Foundation in order to give it the smell of anti-Semitism! Henry Ford was a well-known and unapologetic anti-Semite who personally funded the printing and distribution of 500,000 copies of the notorious and pernicious “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” in the US in the 1920s. One would have hoped that the Ford family had progressed some in the intervening years….but evidently not.

    From PBS’ American Experience:
    A close friend (of Henry Ford) recalled a camping trip in 1919 during which Ford lectured a group around the campfire. He “attributes all evil to Jews or to the Jewish capitalists,” the friend wrote in his diary. “The Jews caused the war, the Jews caused the outbreak of thieving and robbery all over the country, the Jews caused the inefficiency of the navy…”

    “In 1918, Henry Ford purchased his hometown newspaper, The Dearborn Independent. A year and a half later, he began publishing a series of articles that claimed a vast Jewish conspiracy was infecting America. The series ran in the following 91 issues. Ford bound the articles into four volumes titled “The International Jew,” and distributed half a million copies to his vast network of dealerships and subscribers. The rhetoric was not unusual for its content, as much as its scope. As one of the most famous men in America, Henry Ford legitimized ideas that otherwise may have been given little authority.”

    • Oh dear MO

      The Ford Foundation is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the vile NIF is concerned

      Check out the NGO Monitor, which should be your Bible.

  • Robert Davis

    Excellent article but I am sure fighting antisemitism in court and counter-pr which are very important of course is not sufficient because antisemites use a great deal of LIES, garbled international law,propaganda based on false narrative etc. and this is too much for courts. Violence should NOT be dismissed as antisemites are cowards. No matter how rich the ford foundation is when their people will be killed and maimed they will stop their antisemite plots.

  • In this excellent article, Edwin Black errs in writing that the “the 1922 Mandate designated Palestine for Arab and Jewish self-determination.” It was only in 1925 that the British extended the eastern borders of Palestine to Mesopotamia, thus creating the future Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan, east of the Jordan River.

    But Western Palestine (i.e. from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean) was never supposed to include any Arab collective, national rights. Hence, the recent notion of a Palestinian Arab state in the so-called “West Bank” runs against the spirit and the letter of the internationally recognized Mandate.

  • It is amazing to me that it should be so hard to fight lies simply by telling the truth. There is one explanation though, and that is that some people just do not want to see or hear the truth, when the lies fit the needs of their pathologies. J.P.Sartre said it best: if Jews did not exist, the anti-Semites would invent them

  • steven L

    Muslim Islamists are known for their fanaticism, rigidity and absolute LACK of creativity. Goebbels is their model.

  • The BDS movement is supported by the New Israel Fund and Jstreet which is supported by the Jewish Reform movement, their synagogues and liberal Jews.

  • Ed kohl

    Thank you, Mr. black for your outstanding review of the topic, your forthright challenge to BDS and exemplary educational and interesting books.

  • Antisemitism and its child, anti-Zionism, are the most powerful and widespread hatreds on earth. That’s why BDS has been active on campuses everywhere.
    There has never been any movement among university students or faculty opposing Boko Haram, or denouncing the murder of children and their teachers in Peshawar, Pakistan. There is no anti-ISIS organization. Nobody protests Iran’s public hangings of homosexuals–to say nothing of its nuclear ambitions.

    • Cicy

      I believe evil does not oppose evil. The world is evil and will condone evil, that’s why there won’t be organizations against BH or ISIS. Jesus is the only way out, believe me.

  • every time the BDS open their mouths, it gets wider to accomodate their foot. i hope they choke on it..