Monday, June 11, 2018

Exposing BDS - Ariel Y. Kramer

by Ariel Y. Kramer

While BDS tries to present itself as a human rights movement, it is precisely the opposite: an entity in pursuit of the destruction of the Jewish State by any means necessary.

A lot can be said about the evil intentions of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and there is ample evidence showing BDS leaders' hypocrisy and philosophical alignment with malicious actors with genocidal ambitions. One could readily find volumes of incriminating documentation about the group's actions and alliances. And while it should be clear that a solid knowledge base is essential, we believe that it is just as important for the informed reader to take the next step and to educate others about the true nature of BDS. It is with this goal in mind that I provide an educational framework toward the end of this missive.

Firstly, we want to underline the importance of combating BDS because of the danger to Israelis and Jews worldwide allowing it to operate unchallenged presents, but also because its actions and goals should be unacceptable to all people of sound moral standing. While BDS tries to present itself as a human rights movement, it is precisely the opposite – an entity in pursuit of the destruction of the Jewish State by any means necessary, one that routinely violates personal liberties and treats individuals (including Arabs) as collateral damage. Boycotts of the Jews were practiced by some of the worst regimes in history, and BDS is a faux "grassroots" outgrowth of the Arab states' seventy-year campaign to strangle Israel economically. As such, while BDS would like to be considered a "movement," it may be more accurately perceived as an underhanded tactic.

Let us focus ever so briefly on the three BDS demands. The first BDS demand is for Israel to "end its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall." The phrasing is ambiguous, as many Israel-haters consider every inch of Israel, and not just the territories won by Israel in 1967, to be Arab land. Hence, the above can be interpreted as a call for the destruction of Israel. "The Wall" is actually a life-saving security barrier that was built in order to stem the waves of Palestinian suicide bombers that were marching into Israeli cities in the early 2000s.

In a similar vein, another BDS demand is for the "Palestinian refugees to return" to Israel. Notably, only a few tens of thousands of Palestinian Arabs would be considered refugees under the universally applied definition of the term "refugee." Alas, BDS refers to a selective definition of the term, according to which Palestinian Arabs, like no other group in the world, may pass down the refugee status from generation to generation in perpetuity. Thus, BDS claims a number of over 7.25 million refugees. Such an influx of foreign population would destroy the Jewish state. Of course, that is the BDS idea.

The last of the BDS demands calls for equal rights for the Arab citizens of Israel, claiming that racial discrimination is built into Israel's legal system in over 50 laws. BDS does not bother to provide actual examples of such legal discrimination against the Israeli Arabs. The reality is that there is no such system of ethnic discrimination in Israel. If BDS so desired, it could find a legal system with dozens of laws that discriminate against Palestinian Arabs and a wall that encircles the Palestinian Arabs' enclave in order to limit their freedom of movement, as all of this is readily present in neighboring Lebanon. And yet, applying pressure on Lebanon is not the focus of the BDS efforts. But then again, Lebanon is not Israel, and that's what matters to the boycotters.

We can infer a lot about an actor from its philosophical alliances. Hence, it may be appropriate to consider a recent tweet from Hamas: "We applaud and salute the influential BDS Movement." This is the same Hamas that calls for the destruction of the Jewish state and genocide against the Jews, brutally persecutes gays and Christians and cynically exploits the Arab population under its rule. Through an analysis of statements by the leaders of both organizations, we see that Hamas finds its own genocidal goals advanced by the demands and actions of BDS.

The reason for this alliance is that BDS serves to push the political narrative of delegitimization of Israel, which in turn provides cover to the openly violent actors, such as Hamas. And so, a quick look at BDS-supporters illustrates that despite what it claims, BDS does not act to bring Israelis and Arabs closer to peace; instead, both stand to lose from BDS's activities.

Even if it may seem that BDS fails more than it succeeds, and as celebrated musicians and actors, scientists, and public personas continue to come to Israel, the threat presented by BDS still should not be taken lightly. BDS has found inroads on college campuses by infiltrating and usurping other (often legitimate) movements. Through intersectionality, BDS enters every conversation and uses every new platform to demonize Israel. The impressionable college students of today will soon become key decision-makers, and we must not allow their judgment to be clouded by the lies and decontextualizations spouted by BDS.

In order to combat BDS, an informed individual should take the next step and readily explain to people the essence of BDS. Many may not be informed and may not be aware of the evil nature of BDS. It is helpful to expose BDS proponents' hypocrisy – the founder of BDS is himself a graduate of Tel Aviv University, while leaders of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority who support BDS send their families to Israel for medical treatment. One could provide examples of how BDS hurts the very people it claims to defend by talking about the Palestinian Arabs who lost the means to provide for their families when pressure from BDS and its allies forces Israeli companies (such as SodaStream) to leave the industrial zone in the Disputed Territories. It is important to inform people about BDS's tactics to subvert other organizations and movements. Lastly, the messenger should relay that bridges are built through cooperation and not through boycotts.

Please apply the below principles as you structure your education campaign about BDS.
Consistent message – in exposing BDS, your message should be simple and consistent. It should be one that is powerful and memorable.

Attack mode – playing defense does not work. When you go on offense, you control the discourse and keep the pressure on the other party.

Persistent engagement – repetition is essential. In order for your efforts to pay off, you must be persistent. Repeat your message often in order to help others remove any doubt about the evil of BDS.

By now, you are well prepared to educate others about BDS. Those of us who truly care about freedom and human rights have a vital role to play against BDS. And remember, BDS does not have to be called BDS to be BDS.

Ariel Y. Kramer is a contributing member at the American Forum for Israel (AFI).


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Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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