Why the BDS movement will never resolve the Israel Palestine conflict

Dershowitz Wins Big in BDS Debate with Anti-Israel Professor

BDS is not a protest against Israel?s policies. Rather, it is against Israel?s very existence, Dershowitz told West in a recent debate.

I suspect that the third largest city in Germany, Munich would agree with Dershowitz as it is the first city in Germany to pass an Anti-BDS law that?outlaws both public funds and space for the BDS campaign.

[…]?Munich sent a signal against antisemitism? that should be heeded for all of Germany, said Charlotte Knobloch, the chairwoman of Munich?s Jewish community.

Knobloch, a Holocaust survivor, has waged a relentless campaign to stop the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, which has roiled Munich, the Bavarian capital, and other parts of Germany for years because of its activities in municipal-funded buildings and calls to abolish the Jewish state.

Frankfurt and Berlin have also enacted executive initiatives to stop BDS activity in city-funded facilities.


I recently debated Professor?Cornel West?of Harvard about the?boycott movement against Israel. The topic was resolved: ?The boycott, divestiture and sanctions (BDS) movement will help bring about the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.?

West argued that Israel was a ?colonialist-settler? state and that apartheid in the West Bank was ?worse? than it was in white-ruled South Africa and should be subject to the same kind of economic and cultural isolation that helped bring about the fall of that regime.

I replied that the Jews who emigrated to Israel ? a land in which Jews have lived continuously for thousands of years ? were escaping from the countries that persecuted them, not acting as colonial settlers for those countries.

Indeed, Israel fought against British Colonial rule. Zionism was the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, not a colonial enterprise. Nor is Israel in any way like South Africa, where a minority of whites ruled over a majority of Blacks, who were denied the most fundamental human rights. In Israel, Arabs, Druze and Christians?have equal rightsand serve in high positions in government, business, the arts and academia.

Jews were a majority in Israel, both when the UN divided mandatory Palestine (Eretz Yisrael) into ?two states for two people,? and at present, although the Arab population has increased considerably since 1948. Even the situation on the West Bank ? where Palestinians have the right to vote for their leaders and criticize Israel, and where in cities such as Ramallah there is no Israeli military or police presence ? the situation is in no way comparable to apartheid South Africa.

West then argued that BDS was a non-violent movement that was the best way to protest Israel?s ?occupation? and settlement policies.I responded that BDS is not a ?movement? ? a movement requires universality, like the feminist, gay rights and civil rights movements.?BDS is an anti-Semitic tactic?directed only against the Jewish citizens and supporters of Israel.

If you remember only one point from this entire post the point made below is the one that I hope you will recall. There was no “occupation” when the BDS started hitting Israel and they redoubled their efforts against Israel much later when Israel was bending over backwards to broker peace. Those are not the actions of a movement interested in peace.

?The boycott against Israel and its Jewish supporters […]?began before any ?occupation? or ?settlements? and picked up steam just as Israel offered to end the ?occupation? and settlements as part of a two state solution that the Palestinians rejected.

BDS is not a protest against Israel?s policies. It is a protest against Israel?s very existence.

[…] West argued that BDS would help the Palestinians. I argued that it?has hurt them?by causing unemployment among Palestinian workers in companies such as SodaStream, which was pressured to move out of the West Bank, where it paid high wages to Palestinian men and women who worked side by side with Israeli men and women. I explained that the leadership of the Palestinian Authority is opposed to broad boycotts of Israeli products, artist and academics.

West argued that BDS would encourage Israel to make peace with the Palestinians. I replied that Israel would never be blackmailed into compromising its security, and that the Palestinians are disincentivized into making compromises by the fantasy that they will get a state through economic and cultural extortion.

The Palestinians will get a state only by sitting down and negotiating directly with Israel. I told my mother?s favorite joke about Sam, an Orthodox Jew, who prayed every day to win the N.Y. Lottery before he turned 80. On his 80th birthday, he complains to God that he hasn?t won. God replies, ?Sam, help me out a little ? buy a ticket.? I argued that the Palestinians expect to ?win? a state without ?buying a ticket? ? sitting down to negotiate a compromise solution.

[…] The debate in its entirety ? which was conducted in front of an audience of business people in Dallas, Texas, as part of the ?Old Parkland Debate Series?[…]

The audience voted twice, once before the debate and once after. The final tally was 129 opposed to BDS and 16 in favor. The vote before the debate was 93 opposed and 14 in favor. I swayed 36 votes. West swayed 2. The anti-BDS position won overwhelmingly, not because I am a better debater than West ? he is quite articulate and everyone can judge for themselves who is the better debater ? but because the facts, the morality and the practicalities are against BDS.

We should never give up making the case against the unjust tactics being employed by the BDS and others against Israel. On numerous university?campuses, it is an uphill battle but it is a battle that can be won if open-minded people of all backgrounds are given the opportunity to hear both sides of the debate.

BDS lost in Dallas. BDS lost in a debate between me and an articulate human rights activist at the Oxford Union. BDS is losing in legislative chambers. And if the case is effectively and honestly presented, it will lose in the court of public opinion.