BDS Movement is a non-violent political campaign led by Palestinian activists to protest against the ethnic attacks of Israel. BDS is short for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions which strongly stands for Palestinian cause and consider Israel an illegitimate state. The movement advocates different financial protests against the ruling state of Israel to pressure them into abiding international law.
It addresses three major offences by the state of Israel against Palestine. First is ending the Israeli occupation of West Bank and Gaza Strip, second, equalizing rights of Arab-Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, and third to restore the rights of banished refugees so they can return to their cultural and ancestral homeland.
It is often compared to the South African anti-apartheid movement but also accused of being anti-semitic due to its sole targeting of the only Jewish state in the world. The state of Israel has claimed the land of Palestine since 1948 while Palestinians opposed this occupation to an extreme level. Their basic rights have been sabotaged due to the new laws of Israel that mostly discriminate Palestinians.
Origin And History Of BDS Movement
Number of sources trace BDS’s origins to Durban Conference of 2001 against white racism towards black people in South Africa. Anti-apartheid veterans identified similarities between the state of Israel and South African apartheid. They recommended Palestinians to organize campaigns like this to defeat apartheid. Pro-Palestinians in Europe and the United States actively endorsed this campaign and its effort to delegitimize Israel. Pro-Palestinian is known as the one who recognizes the entire land of Palestine before Israelites annexed its territories. Those who still support the illegitimate claim of Israel, are called Pro-Israel.
The call of such movement came after the second Palestinian Intifada in 2000 when Israeli Soldiers and Policeman entered in Al-Aqsa mosque along with then commander/politician Ariel Sharon. They provoked and killed unarmed Muslims and thus started one of the greatest resistance the world has ever seen. Number of organized campaigns around the world have promoted the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of Israel since then.
The campaign intensified during 2004 and 2005 and made a mission to impose wide boycotts and implement divestment plans against Israel, which were similar to those applied to South Africa against apartheid. The United Nation Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) has repeatedly addressed the oppressive occupation of Israel in Palestinian land and their denial of rights for the citizens.
BDS shares the similar vision of UNHRC to impose equal justice in historic Palestine (the same size of land Palestinians had before illegal occupation by Israel).
How Is It Working?
They launched several campaigns demanding the divestment of churches, universities, municipality, unions and other investments in companies that support Israel’s occupation of Palestine. They also demand boycott of Israeli products, services, education, professionals, artists, and any other associations in Israel and abroad.
Many illegal businesses established by Israel received a lot of heat but the world community never responded to any of those credible claims
BDS movement members and supporters believe that their activism will encourage Israel to change their policies about Palestine, but the state completely disagrees with the movement. Instead of recognizing its occupation in the land as occupation, Israelite forces always said that this non-violent movement is anti-Semitic while being involved in Gaza bombings on the other hand.
BDS is not criticizing the policies of Israel, but demanding to demonize and delegitimize it. Anti-semitism is a term coined by the German agitator, Wilhelm Marr in 1879. It is defined as the hostility towards Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group. In that light, BDS activities are not as hostile as those which are against Muslims as noted in the Gaza Bombings. Therefore, it is factually incorrect to say that those activities are anti-semitic.
The movement only addresses the civic crimes of Israel that are continuously ignored by the world leaders. Even large corporations like Apple and Google did not recognize Palestine as an autonomous land.
Even for boycotts, they point out those elitist corporations that are violating human rights, international law, and financial equality.
The members of the movement believes that divestment and boycott is the most effective way to challenge injustice. It is because the forces against them monetize from selling different product and services to grow stronger and then use that power against the minority. Boycott and divestment is a process that hits them where it hurts the most; money.
This is the reason why number of countries opposed this movement. They were afraid of the fact that they would start to lose money if more people opened their eyes to what BDS was highlighting. Critics of movement have argued that it is a biased and oversimplified approach to the complex issue of Israel and Palestine. Both parties hold each other responsible for the conflict. However, BDS does not support any peace efforts between Israel and Palestine, and rejects a two-state theory solution. It undermines Israel’s nationalism and how it has transformed an unpretentious land into a full fledge capitalist economy.
What Does BDS Want From Israel?
BDS activities to pressure Israel affect Jewish people all over the world, which is why it is labelled as anti-semitism. Pouncing on the opportunity, US congress who is Pro-Israel falsely accused BDS (without evidence) of promoting rampant anti-semetic behavior in college campuses. This clearly indicates how a person will be labeled an anti-Jew bigot if he or she opposes Zionist apartheid.
One of Donald Trump’s rampant executive orders about fighting anti-semitism adopted the modified definition of anti-semitism by International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRC). According to this definition, anti-Zionism and even low level critique of Israel are inherently classified as anti-semitic. Therefore, whenever BDS movement activates to raise voice for an issue, a Zionist group associates it with anti-semitism to suppress the voices. Trump’s administration made it legal to weaponize this narrative against those expressions that were supposed to be protected by constitution.
After establishing state in Palestinian land, Israeli government enacted several laws that purposefully discriminated against the Arab minority. Reportedly, there are 65 Discriminatory Laws of Israel that specifically target Palestinians: this is called anti-semitism. Some discrimination in these laws is explicit while a lot of them are hidden behind words in a weirdly neutral manner.
In the name of anti-semitism the Zionist alliance openly carried out discrimination against Palestinians. In 1948, a female Palestinian refugee was banished from Galilee by saying that the existence of Israel as a state was a racist work. BDS is there to make sure that this kind of state terrorism does not happen more often. Those who slander the movement do not understand equal justice or anti-semitism because they are doing anti-semitism themselves by disregarding Palestinian fight for their rights.
Beyond The International Narrative
BDS movement might be against the legitimacy of the state of Israel, but it is not an antisemetic movement. Rejecting Zionism Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is not anti-semtism. Being against one particular ethinicity like Judaism is anti-semitism which BDS does not do. It promotes equality and justice and only oppose the forces that are hell bent on destroying it.
The movement has openly condemned all sorts of discrimination but want Israel to account for their human rights violations. Their efforts may seem like anti-Israel because they want the society to be geared more towards Palestinians. Israeli leaders maintain that since BDS wants the end of Jewish control, so they are anti-semitic. However, there is another problematic element in how BDS critics describe its goals. The critics popularized the narrative that BDS wants the end of “Jewish leadership” which implies that BDS promotes hate for all Jews.
This is wrong because BDS has only accused Zionists of apartheid which does not necessarily include all Jews but may include the ones from Judeo-Christian alliance. After learning the truth and educating themselves properly about history, number of BDS critics have come to learn that how Bogus Mike Pompeo and Israel claims were
US State Secretary, Mike Pompeo disregarded the struggles of Palestinian community and supported Zionist agenda by verbally acknowledging Israel’s legal status. In order to conceal their activities fueled by Zionism, they created a narrative that BDS hates all Jews. It may weaken the public opinion of BDS, but it failed to weaken their efforts. One of the movement’s organizer, Mahmoud Nawajaa explained the idea of BDS after which he was detained by Israeli forces
BDS’s mission is not fueled by hatred for Jews but for the state that refuses to acknowledge countless human rights violations against Palestinians. Most recently, in May 2020 a 31-year old autistic Palestinian, Iyad al-Halaq was killed by Israelite police for not stopping at Jerusalem Lion’s Gate Checkpoint. Police did not take immediate action against his killer but arrested those who protested in agony. Unfortunately, this situation is a total reflective of how Israelite forces treat the Palestinian people and their natural right to live in the land of Palestine.
Israel has changed the narrative from illegal occupation to an issue of Palestinian stubbornness to accept the change in leadership. Thus, controlling the public opinion as well by showing Palestinians as security threats to Israel and justifying their collective oppression on Palestinians.