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February 11, 2016 7:49 am

BDS Undermines the Very Values of American Universities

avatar by Alexandra Markus

Israeli Apartheid Week, which takes place on campuses across the world. Photo: wiki.

Israeli Apartheid Week, which takes place on campuses across the world. Photo: wiki.

The BDS movement is thriving on many college campuses. Here are some of the reasons this policy actually violates the principles these colleges claim to promote:

BDS burns bridges instead of building them.

Instead of promoting coexistence, the BDS movement creates a rift by silencing Israelis across the political spectrum — even Israelis who oppose Israel’s policies. By isolating Israel from the international arena, BDS discourages any efforts or momentum for coexistence by effectively demonizing one side, making negotiation and finding common ground impossible. Shutting down dialogue moves us further away from peace.

BDS incites and propagates a never-ending cycle of violence.

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During the current intifada in Israel, Palestinian terrorists hunt for random Jews to stab almost every day, killing more than 30 and injuring hundreds in just the past four months. This intifada of random murder in the streets is excused and supported by pro-Palestinian groups, such as JVP and SJP, who call it “resistance,” and “justified.” The murderers are often teenagers influenced by incitement propaganda taught in schools and promoted in the media, and directed at Palestinian youth. BDS bolsters this intifada movement, teaching Palestinians that violence is an effective means to get the world on your side.

BDS exacerbates corruption, to the detriment of Palestinians.

The leaders of the Palestinian Authority are not interested in peace. They have frequently declined negotiations with Israel and even turned down several generous two-state offers, including one that offered them Jerusalem. Hamas, Fatah, and other Palestinian leadership groups profit from the conflict, collecting billions in foreign aid — enriching themselves while keeping the Palestinian people in poverty, using them as pawns to perpetuate this profitable cycle. Palestinians are the only multigenerational refugees in the world, considered refugees even if they get citizenship elsewhere, and it seems that their leaders are interested in keeping them that way. It’s yet another weapon to use against Israel.

BDS is a violation of indigenous rights.

The Martinez-Cobo definition of indigenous supported by the UN, defines indigenous status as referring to the land where the genesis of a culture — which includes a common language, history, religion, tradition, and legal system — occurred. According to this definition, Jews are indigenous to the land of Israel, and Arabs (“Palestinians”) are indigenous to the Hejaz Peninsula, which includes Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

BDS is bad for the Palestinian economy.

The factories located in the disputed territories that are boycotted by BDS employ Palestinian workers who are paid several times more than local Palestinian wages. BDS hurts Palestinians the most, exacerbating the economic situation in these territories.

BDS is based on an inaccurate historical narrative.

The three points highlighted by ApartheidDivest are not only based on false premises, they are  historically inaccurate. First of all, Ehud Olmert already made the same two-state solution ApartheidDivest desire in 2008, but the Palestinian Authority Leader Mahmoud Abbas rejected it. They also claim the problem is settlements and Israeli control of Jerusalem. But the Arabs fought the Jews before the Jews had Jerusalem (1967), before the  “Occupation” (1967), before the “Settlements” (1968), and before the Security Wall (built in 2007), making these three grievances red herrings.

Second, Israeli Jews and Arabs are already legally equal, with one exception: Arabs do not have to serve in the military — giving them a two to three-year head start at life. Although in practice, systematic inequality does exist, Israel does its best to address these inequalities, while the Palestinian Authority has insisted on ethnically cleansing its land of Jews, making renting and selling land to Jews punishable by death. Third, extending the right of return to Arabs would result in Arabs outnumbering Jews. As such, Israel will cease to exist as a Jewish state and safe haven for the Jewish people, a status it has been granted by law.

BDS violates New York Law if any organization is tied to New York State.

The State of New York recognizes the serious problems inherent in BDS, and as a result, has made it illegal. As a result, any efforts to divest from Israel in the State of New York are classified under discrimination on the basis of national origin, and therefore have no leg to stand on, making ApartheidDivest’s campaign an exercise in futility.

BDS distorts international law.

Israel strictly adheres to international law. Click here for more detailed information.

BDS is racist.

BDS is antisemitic, as per the State Department’s definition, for holding the world’s only Jewish nation to a double standard and constantly singling it out. Their professed love for Palestinians is selective, emerging only when it can be used to bash Israel. They go silent when Palestinians are murdered en masse in Syria.

BDS creates an unsafe space.

Many universities pride themselves on a diverse student body. Jewish and Israeli students have historically formed an important part of this diversity. Supporters of the BDS movement have interrupted the free flow of ideas by shouting down Israeli and Jewish speakers, occasionally even harming them physically. The rise of this antisemitic movement makes Jewish students feel threatened on campus, and erodes any semblance of a safe space.

As seen above, BDS, a movement founded by Omar Barghouti who is, hypocritically, studying for his PhD at an Israeli University, only does harm to both Israelis and Palestinians, and has no tangible benefits. BDS hurts the Palestinian economy, promotes violence rather than empowerment, and upholds a corrupt regime that only perpetuates the suffering of the Palestinian people for political gain. BDS clearly opposes negotiation, the most reasonable road to peace, and shuts down discourse that contributes to scientific and artistic progress.

The BDS movement runs counter to American values of plurality, safety and academic freedom.

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