The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a Palestinian-led delegitimization campaign against Israel rooted in radical anti-Zionism. BDS normalizes and mainstreams Jew-hatred by denying the Jewish people’s right to national self-determination and seeking to redefine Israel as a pariah state by isolating it economically, radicalizing public discourse with hateful rhetoric in the process.
BDS activists reject accusations of antisemitism and exhibit bias against Jews, claiming that BDS is a non-violent, pro-Palestinian protest similar to the anti-Apartheid movement against South Africa. In reality, BDS is akin to boycotts of Jewish-owned businesses in Nazi Germany.
The founder of the BDS movement is Qatar-born Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti, who currently lives in Israel. Barghouti rejects a two-state solution and has admitted publicly that the goal of BDS is to eliminate the Jewish state and replace it with a Palestinian-Arab state.
The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) oversees the work of over 300 different BDS organizations and fiscally sponsors the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), which is affiliated with major Palestinian terror organizations such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Virtually all anti-Israel groups, both Jewish and Arab, support BDS, falsely libel Israel as a racist, colonialist apartheid state, traffic in historical revisionism, and create a hostile and isolating climate for Jews and Israel advocates, particularly on college campuses in the context of events such as Israel Apartheid Week or groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine. Studies have shown that antisemitic attacks increase on campus following the adoption of BDS resolutions by student governments, which are often voted on during Jewish high holy days when Jews are unable to participate.
BDS proponents have been known to use Nazi-type propaganda against Jews. For that reason, the BDS movement is often considered the “new antisemitism” of our century. In fact, there has been an increasing alliance between left-wing BDS organizations and far-right antisemitic groups. For example, BDS supporters have appropriated the phrase “Jewish supremacy” to characterize the state of Israel, a term coined by white supremacist David Duke. In term, Duke and other white supremacists have begun adopting the BDS tactic of using dog-whistle terms and vocabulary such as “Zionist” and “Israel” as replacements for the word “Jews.”
Though both Republican and Democratic leaders, as well as Jewish groups across the political spectrum, oppose the BDS movement, an increasing number of Democratic members of Congress are embracing anti-Zionism and demonstrating their bias against Jews through pushing BDS and other anti-Israel policies, including Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Betty McCollum, and Cori Bush.
BDS has been called a hypocritical campaign for its encouragement of punitive actions solely against Israel and has been accused of actually harming Palestinians and failing to advance the cause of peace. At least 28 states in America have enacted anti-BDS legislation that prohibits the state from contracting with entities that discriminate against Israel.
In 2017, the Israeli Knesset passed a law to ban foreign supporters of the BDS movement from entering the country.