Your View

The BDS Campaign is Wrong Because of BDS

This is a cross post by Anthony Cooper of Just Thinking

Let’s assume for the moment that you think the Israeli occupation of the West Bank is really terrible and one of the most important things to get sorted. Suppose also that you think that the present Israeli government is not serious about ending it. And finally let’s suppose that you think the PNA is willing and able to come to a negotiated peace. You might be tempted to join the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign against Israel. I think that even with these assumptions the BDS movement is wrong because of BDS – Bilateralism, Democracy and anti-Semitism. Let me expand:
1) Bilateralism – It seems obvious that any sustainable and acceptable solution to the occupation will need to be the result of negotiation between the two parties. But the BDS campaign only puts pressure on Israel. If it were ever successful then Israel would be in the position of being desperate to end the occupation. So what can it do? It could try unilateralism which is, presumably, not what supporters of the BDS movement want. But the only other choice would be to go to the negotiating table while desperate. And there’d be nothing to stop the PNA from asking for more and more and more. A boycott against one side encourages unilateralism.

2) Democracy – Israel is a free democracy. There are Israelis who support the occupation and some who campaign against it. The BDS movement is blind to these subtleties. The boycott campaign hurts those who have the same aims as the BDS campaigners as much as it hurts those who don’t. If we want to be emotive about it we might as well call it “collective punishment”.

3) anti-Semitism – I’m not suggesting that all BDS campaigners are motivated by anti-Semitism. I’m sure some are but not all. However, the BDS movement will inevitably result in anti-Semitism. This is for one simple reason: The BDS movement is not going to boycott Israeli Arabs. No one can seriously imagine that the PSC or any other pro-BDS group will add a company owned and operated by Israeli Arabs to the list of those worthy of boycotting. Thus the BDS movement will only be boycotting Jewish people. I think it’s probably fair to call that anti-Semitic.

Thus I conclude that even if you think that the occupation needs to end and the Israeli government is unwilling to end it, the BDS movement is not the right way to go about doing so.