Report Shows BDS Influence on Campus Rising, But Overestimated
JNS.org – A new report by the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) reveals that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel may not be “taking over” American college campuses to the extent that has been publicized.
The ICC’s “Campus Trends Report,” released Monday, says that “while there was a significant increase in campus BDS campaigns this academic year, the rate at which BDS campaigns were defeated on campuses nationwide remained relatively static.”
According to the report, during the 2014-15 academic year, there were 1,630 documented anti-Israel events at 181 colleges and universities across the country, mostly focused on the 2014 Gaza conflict. At the same time, more than twice that number of pro-Israel events—3,753—were documented at 213 schools.
But the report also states, “There is no doubt that Israel’s detractors are increasing their efforts on college campuses across the country. They are using new tactics and in some cases reaching broad swaths of the campus population, simplifying a complex Middle East reality and latching on to other progressive social causes. They have also found success recruiting and supporting pro-BDS student government candidates who then introduce and pass anti-Israel legislation.”
The report notes that Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a group known for harassment and intimidation of pro-Israel students that has often veered into anti-Semitism, established a presence on more than 40 new campuses during the 2014-15 academic year. The far-left anti-Zionist group Jewish Voice for Peace, meanwhile, opened campus chapters at 14 schools during that period.
SJP and its allies, according to the report, “continue to deepen their involvement with social justice-oriented organizations on campus. This year saw efforts by anti-Israel groups to build coalitions with progressive campus organizations that deal with issues such as LGBT rights, fossil fuel divestment, private prison reform, racial discrimination, and immigration reform.”