(For a systematic breakdown of the latent potential harm of the BDS movement, see pro-Israel American jurist Alan Dershowitz’s 2014 Haaretz article, “Ten reasons why BDS is immoral and hinders peace.”)
Much like in the first recorded organized boycott, staged in Ireland in 1880 against British land agent Charles C. Boycott, the Palestinian organizers launched the BDS initiative with a three-point platform. Called in BDS parlance its “three tiers,” the document asks “people of conscience” to force Israel to meet “its obligations under international law” by:
- Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the security fence
- Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality
- Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194
“BDS is never about criticism of Israel,” said Hoenlein. It is, rather, he said, a way to attack the state. He asked rhetorically, if the concern is for human rights, why aren’t BDS proponents calling for boycotts against the daily atrocities in Syria, or against the massacres of the Yazidis by ISIS.
There is a trend of Jewish students promoting BDS on campuses. Anecdotal evidence has pointed to a sometimesoverwhelming Jewish majority at Students for Justice in Palestine meetings. In a recent speech on a panel about “What’s Next for Israel?” at the 92nd Street Y, journalist Peter Beinart cited these pro-BDS Jewish students as a permanent fixture.
Peter Beinart (CC BY-ND Center for American Progress Action Fund, Flickr)
“Our tent, our Jewish community, our proverbial Seder table, is going to have to include the Jewish kids who are not Zionists, including the Jewish kids who are involved in the BDS movement. Because Jewish kids are overrepresented in the BDS movement. You may find that frightening beyond belief, you may find it terrifying. And I understand why you do, but it’s true,” said Beinart.
“Every generation hears the voice of Sinai anew. This generation – one way it is hearing it makes us radically uncomfortable… We are entering an era in which there is no longer going to be a Zionist consensus in the US, especially if Israel continues on its current path,” said Beinart.
“Most Jewish teens are not anti-Israel,” said Hoenlein. “It is much worse than that. They are indifferent to Israel.”