Saturday, September 13, 2014

Is BDS really Anti-Semitic?

I hear a lot of people who claim that the BDS movement against Israel is Anti-Semitic {read Anti-Jew}.

Their reasons:

1. There are a lot of bad / worse actors on the world stage - boycott them.

Although how do you boycott Boko Haram or Isis? Do they have academics or products?

And with larger countries with wider issues, governments handle situations with the UN, sanctions, bombings, and other tools.

2. The people behind the BDS movement are pro-Palestinian Muslims.

I'm not sure who else would be behind the BDS movement. Israel is occupying the Palestinians - so it makes sense for them to fight back. The Israelis complain that the Palestinians pursue violence, the BDS movement is a non-violent Palestinian protest.

3. There are local causes people can protest - like the modern day slavery of the American prison system.

Amazingly though, there is no shortage of protests, political movements, and boycotts going on within America - everything from the app to the Ferguson protests. People can walk and chew gum at the same time - they can integrate numerous social protest causes within their life - participating in BDS doesn't mean Israel v Palestine is your sole issue.

And yet, just as people can have more than one social issue in mind in their lives at any time - they can also have many reasons - both reasonable and less so. I don't think there is any doubt that the specific protests of the BDS movement contain a virulent anti-Jewish streak:

  • Much of the language involved delegitimizes Israel's existence - protesting for peace through the total destruction of Israel and genocide of Jews (again). 

  • The academic boycott - stifling the free flow of information and speech is a form I am always against and find particularly abhorrent.

  • The followers who are not directly connected to the Palestinian movement; college students, university administrations - these are groups of people who deal in extremes and do present a specific focus and language against Israel that they do not levy in other causes - an attitude of 'who do these Jews think they are?' Reminds me of how Republicans try to degrade President Obama using language like, lefty, communist, tyrant, king - when they mean black.

Is BDS itself Anti-Jew? No, BDS is an idea - and while not an illegitimate concept, may of the people involved, and the followers are clearly anti-Jewish. So before you join in on piling on Israel - answer honestly, why is this your cause?