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February 11, 2016 7:49 am

BDS Undermines the Very Values of American Universities

avatar by Alexandra Markus

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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.

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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  • BDS is essentially a fascist movement. It seeks to normalize exclusion of Jews as an honourable principle and employs non-violent means in order to promote a violent end to the Jewish state.

    Channeling Arendt’s insight about the nature of fascist movement:

    Let’s not lose sight of its consistently international approach to political activism. BDS feeds the prejudices of masses. BDSers have a genuine and never revoked contempt for the narrowness of the two-states solution. Their international scope is more like the Bolshevik movement. Its antisemitic undertones, often covert, stand as evidence against the identification of anti-Zionism with mere Palestinian liberation from 1967 occupation. BDS works on banding together disparate movements and causes internationally and is mainly concerned with a coordination of international and inter-European, activities. These features of the movement should set off alarm bells in each and every one of its supporters who imagine they are supporting a benign cause. However, I have noticed how hermetically closed are these BDS members to common sense and verifiable history. Which is another staple of the fascist mindset: the inability to tolerate the very idea that there is another, legitimate, side to this conflict.

  • stevenl

    Worldwide BDS is only the visible part of the Western and Muslim antisemitic iceberg.
    The WEST is NOT serious about the TSS for they refuse to put pressure on the Palestinians and blame only & constantly Israel. It started with UNRWA and the past 67 years confirm the despicable role of the West who intends on bleeding Israel. But in vain.

  • Yale

    The author evidently misses the point of BDS: It is a major actor in a campaign whose *purpose* is to undermine the values of the West, including American universities. This is not something that BDS has missed. BDS concentrates on universities primarily because it has many allies there, people who are also hostile to American and Western values, and they give immunity to the bullying that is the basic activity of BDS. That most students are basically ignorant of the realities of the world is a contributing factor.

    The issue, and this needs to be understood clearly, is that people who believed in the totalitarian state as embodied in the Soviet Union have not made their peace with the defeat of that system by the West. We need to remember that a key factor in the demise of the USSR was the campaign to free Soviet Jews, many of whom went to Israel. The “Zionism is racism” resolution was designed to simultaneously win favor for the Soviet model in the Muslim world, which was already pro-totalitarian, and to label as “racist” Soviet Jews who rejected Soviet oppression to go to Israel — they were “Zionists”. BDS is simply the latest manifestation of the same sentiments that gave rise to the “Zionism” resolution in the UN.

    It is no coincidence that BDS supporters include Islamists, Communists, and fascists, three groups one would expect to be hostile to one another. The common thread here is that all three support totalitarianism which regards the liberties of the West as their enemy. Students and others who endorse BDS have joined ranks with all three.

  • Reform School

    BDS causes BDI sin-dumb, a permanent constriction of pupils.

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    Why in the world would any university in Israel accept a man who is serving five consecutive life sentences for involvement, planning, and inciting the murders of Israeli citizens? Omar Barghouti is, in my opinion, the epitome nemesis of the people of Israel.

  • The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement undermines intellectually honesty. It’s goals are to delegitimize Israel and to silence those who oppose its agenda. The BDS movement is a propaganda tool used by the PLO terrorist entity to weaken Israel. And the BDS movement exacerbates the Arab-Israel conflict.