Denouncing BDS

The international Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel is an insidious manifestation of antisemitism.

Proponents of BDS claim that it is a non-violent campaign to pressure Israel to “end the illegal occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza and to respect the rights of all Palestinians according to international law and human rights conventions”.

However, the BDS campaign:

  • is a form of political, economic, cultural and ideological warfare against Israel
  • draws false analogies between Israel and South Africa’s former apartheid regime with the aim of delegitimising and demonising Israel
  • spreads propaganda against, and incites hatred towards, Israel
  • denies Israel the right of self-defence
  • blames Israel alone for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • does not acknowledge the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their national homeland, Israel
  • promotes an agenda that would ultimately lead to the eradication of Israel under the guise of advocating for Palestinian human rights.

In this video, Omar Barghouti (one of the founders of the BDS movement) admits that “Palestinians and Arabs in general have never, will never recognise Israel as a Jewish state” and that “most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine”. He also reveals his true desire saying: “major powers around the world that were thought of as invincible, have collapsed. There’s no reason to think why Israel cannot”.

The BDS campaign is a product of the UN Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, in September 2001. A component of the conference was an NGO Forum, which was marked by repeated expressions of antisemitism by non-governmental organisation (NGO) activists and was condemned as such by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, who chaired the conference. The forum described Israel as a “racist, apartheid state” that was guilty of “racist crimes including war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing”. The declaration established an action plan – the so-called “Durban Strategy” – which promoted “a policy of complete and total isolation of Israel as an apartheid state…the imposition of mandatory and comprehensive sanctions and embargoes, the full cessation of all links (diplomatic, economic, social, aid, military cooperation and training) between all states and Israel”. The apartheid accusation drew a false parallel between Israel – a democratic state in which every citizen has the vote – and apartheid South Africa, where only white people had the vote.

The BDS movement disadvantages Palestinians because it targets Israeli businesses which employ Palestinian workers.

Locally, in 2011 the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies was part of a campaigned to have Marrickville Council overturn a decision to implement a boycott of Israeli goods and services; and in 2013 we assisted the Australasian Union of Jewish Students at the University of NSW fight a BDS campaign which tried to block a Max Brenner chocolate cafe from opening on campus.