The Real Goal of BDS Threatens Every Jew on the Planet
Israeli leaders have promised that the day after Hamas is erased — may it come speedily — there will be a vigorous, no-holds barred national and political reckoning. How could Hamas have pulled off their massive and brutal terror massacre right under our noses?
Another related question, one that also will require considerable soul searching among leaders in the Diaspora, is how did Hamas’ narrative become the narrative at so many elite American universities?
Gone are the days when campus choruses demanded that eastern Jerusalem be crowned the capital of the future state of Palestine. Gone are the robust debates on how and where the final borders between the two states would be drawn.
Everything changed on October 7th, but in ways we thought were impossible: Surely, the social media shares from Hamas terrorists celebrating the largest mass murder of Jews since the Nazi Holocaust would inspire academia and the nation’s CEOs to denounce these latter-day Nazis.
Surely the slaughter of dozens of Israeli babies and the desecration of their tiny bodies by Hamas barbarians would cause universal revulsion and force some change in the actions of Hezbollah and Hamas’ main sponsors in Tehran and Qatar.
Surely women’s groups would denounce the serial rapes and murder of young Israeli women.
Surely UNICEF and Save the Children would demand the immediate release of 30 Israeli children kidnapped and held as hostages.
Surely the United Nations would demand the release of all 240 hostages held by Hamas, without pre-conditions.
But the opposite happened.
Starting on October 8th, as the world struggled to digest Hamas’ hell on earth, its supporters were doubling down with fiery anti-Israel verbal assaults declaring again and again.
Common calls included:
“From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free” (i.e., the end of the world’s lone Jewish State); and
“Apartheid Israel– guilty of Genocide,” which became the mantra of protesters from Berlin to London, to New York.
The national Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement then put out a series of talking points that stated their true intentions:
Decolonization – from the river to the sea.
Not just Gaza and the West Bank, we want all of ‘48.
Put simply, they have admitted they want to destroy Israel.
So how did we get from there to here?
Just follow BDS’ four rungs of activism that started with the West Bank and landed at ground zero of full-blown, unabashed Jew-hatred.
- Step One: Remember that BDS began with loud assurances that they weren’t calling for a boycott of Israel, but this was only a boycott against Israeli settlements and “occupation.”
- Case #1: Remember the United Methodist Church’s Sodastream boycott? Sodastream’s sin was building a plant in Judea and hiring both Jews and Arabs who were being paid equal wages. Under intense pressure, Sodastream was forced to close its West Bank plant, and as a result, dozens of Palestinian families were left without a breadwinner. There’s no indication that BDS supporters did anything to help those suddenly unemployed Arab workers and their families when Sodastream was forced to move.
- Step Two: BDS begins to rail against Israel itself, because the State of Israel is implementing the “Occupation” or “Apartheid” or “Genocide” — or whatever charge stuck to the wall of public opinion.
- Case #2: The Kairos Palestine Document widely adopted “for study” by American mainline churches in 2009. Rifat Kassis, the document team’s coordinator, made the matter clear: “The document calls for a complete system of sanctions of Israel. Not simply a boycott of products generated by settlements or of products in general, or of institutions and organizations that are unabashedly complicit in the occupation, but a total boycott. Our occupation is not selective, and so our opposition must not be.”
- Step Three: BDS attacks Zionists, wherever they may be. That’s because avowed Zionists, be they Jewish or not Jewish, prop up a “racist,” “colonizer,” “genocidal” state.
- Case #3: The 2015 call for the singer, Matisyahu, to be kicked off the artists’ roster of the Rototom Reggae Sunsplash music festival because of his active Zionist support.
- Step Four: BDS against all Jews, unless they wear their anti-Zionism on their sleeve. The assumption is that anything or anyone Jewish is Zionist and therefore subject to being scorned, ostracized, and boycotted.
- Case #4 When Sunrise DC singled out for removal only Jewish organizations in 2021, organizers didn’t take the same draconian measures with non-Jewish organizations that had similar views of Israel as the Jewish organizations.
Welcome to ground zero of vile Jew hatred designed and executed in four easy steps.
Today, Jewish students are bullied at Columbia, violently attacked in public at Harvard, threatened with rape at Cornell, targeted by a University of California professor.
Such antisemitic violence is possible in large measure because we Jews are so expert at misreading the enemy. And make no mistake — this is an enemy, a genocidal maniacal enemy that wants us Jews dead.
Don’t buy the drivel that BDS is all about justice. Today, it is all about legitimizing, embracing, and promoting the destruction of the Israeli state and the death of Jewish people. Their own words prove it.
We have been fooled time and time again by BDSers, but it’s time that we Jews begin to chant our own mantra — publicly and proudly: “Never Again” and “Am Yisrael Chai.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper is Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He is also currently serves as the Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom