BDS is Anti-Semitic

As reported previously, the original decision by the Ben and Jerry’s board was to stop selling their product anywhere in Israel. It was moderated by parent company Unilever limiting the ban to the disputed territories of Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem.

The Chairman of the Ben and Jerry’s board, Anuradha Mittal, also runs The Oakland Institute which produced a series of nine reports condemning the very existence of Israel in 2017. She is a long-time supporter of the BDS  (Boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) movement who deleted her Airbnb account after Airbnb thankfully reversed its own boycott of Israel. She also urged opposition to a congressional resolution condemning Antisemitism.  Her leadership of Ben and Jerry’s entry into BDS is an attempt to give legitimacy to the anti-Semitic BDS movement which she supports.

A question often asked that I will attempt to answer below is, why is BDS anti-Semitic?

The BDS is political warfare used against Israel, intended to isolate it economically, culturally, and politically. BDS is not about disagreeing with the policies of an elected Israeli government. Heck, many Israelis have problems with their government’s policies. That’s why there were four elections during the past two years.  The BDS movement has just one purpose, to delegitimize Israel and deny the Jewish people their right to self-determination. That in itself is Antisemitism, a claim supported by world leaders who are not Jewish.

  • Pope Francis has said, “anyone who does not recognize the Jewish people and the State of Israel — and their right to exist — is guilty of Antisemitism.”
  • Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau agreed at a 2019 town hall he said, “Antisemitism has also manifested itself not just in the targeting of individuals, but it is also targeting – a new antisemitism – against the State of Israel… So, yes, I will continue to condemn the BDS movement.”
  • In 2019  President Trump issued an executive order (EO) that broadened the federal definition of Antisemitism using the IHRA  definition, which includes “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination” The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of Antisemitism is recognized by 31 countries including the United States.
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed about the link between BDS and antisemitism, stating in a July 2019 interview: “I think it often stems from that syndrome [antisemitism], definitely.”

As explained by Alan Dershowitz

BDS is an antisemitic tactic directed only against Jewish citizens and supporters of Israel. Its purported protest is not against Israeli policies but a protest against Israel’s very existence. It has nothing in common with a grassroots protest campaign, because it is led by a small number of extremely well-funded and closely coordinated organizations, who together decide on strategies and tactics – hiding behind a façade of promoting international law and human rights. (…)As someone who has held sacred the right to freedom of expression and assembly all of my life, it is important to say: Discrimination based antisemitism is not an exercise of free speech. It is an offense. And it should concern every person of good will.

The founder of the BDS  movement Omar Barghouti has said the BDS movement is opposed to the existence of a Jewish state. At a 2013 address, Barghouti stated, “A Jewish state in Palestine in any shape or form…[will] perpetuate a system of racial discrimination that ought to be opposed categorically…most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, no rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, would ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”

Another example of the movement’s Antisemitism is their constant comparisons of Zionism and the state of Israel to Nazis. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy is another element of the IHRA definition of Antisemitism.  Many of those comparisons come from the organization that created and manages BDS, the BDS National Committee (BNC).

As reported in the study “The New Antisemitism.” 

Ana Sanchez, the International Campaigns Officer of the BNC based in Spain, tweeted, “From the Nazi Holocaust to the Zionist” and included an article that expands on this anti-Semitic comparison. As the BNC leaders disseminate anti-Semitism, as demonstrated above, they influence a broad international audience. Representatives, whether they are activists, organizations, or local chapters, begin to mimic, espouse and provide a platform for the same views. Eventually, the anti-Semitic rhetoric and depictions appear on official BDS organizations’ events and on their social media accounts around the world. For example, just 10 days after Ana Sanchez’s aforementioned tweet, the leading BDS body in Spain, Red Solidaria Contra la Ocupación de Palestina (“RESCOP”), a coalition comprised of more than 40 organizations and groups in solidarity with Palestine74, tweeted a picture of the Israeli flag with a swastika and stated: “In Madrid, thousands of people denounce genocide in Gaza and request suspension of arms trade with Israel.”

That’s one of the thousands of BDS movement examples.

The BDS movement also promotes the classic anti-Semitic blood libel. BDS activist in Gaza75, Adel Mahmoud, spreads the historic blood libel, accusing Israel of drinking Palestinian children’s blood. He tweeted, “Drink the blood of our dead children, bottled in bottles of Israeli juice.”

For those who (like me) don’t read Arabic:

BDS supporter and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib regularly associates Israel with the anti-Semitic blood libel. Even the ADL, which rarely criticizes a Democrat (even an anti-Semitic one), pointed out this example:

Just as in the case of the BDS movement’s denial of the right of Jews to have a homeland, there are many other examples of their use of the blood libel and other anti-Semitic canards.

The BDS movement grew out of the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa. That conference was an anti -Semitic hate fest. Copies of the anti-Semitic work, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, were sold on conference grounds, fliers depicting Hitler with the question, “What if I had won?” circulated among conference attendees. The answer: “There would be NO Israel and NO Palestinian bloodshed,” and many more examples. The conference was so anti-Semitic that U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell walked out.

As reported by the organization NGO-Monitor,  NGOs (non-governmental organizations) at the conference urged “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. Additionally, it called for condemnation of those states who are supporting, aiding, and abetting the Israeli apartheid state and its perpetration of racist crimes against humanity including ethnic cleansing, acts of genocide.”

In other words, the anti-Semitic Duban Conference was the beginning of the BDS movement.

When one summarizes the facts about the Ben and Jerry’s boycott and the BDS movement it becomes crystal clear that Antisemitism is behind it all:

  • The Ben and Jerry’s Boycott was designed as a boycott of the entire Jewish State of Israel, not just the disputed territories of Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem. It was meant to be a legitimization of the BDS movement.
  • The Chairman of the Board of the committee that decided to boycott Israel believes that the Jews should not have a state in their ancestral homeland and objected to a congressional resolution against Antisemitism.
  • The BDS movement given legitimacy by the Ben and Jerry’s ban is anti-Zionism (the movement stating the Jewish people their right to self-determination)
  • Denial of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination has been identified as Antisemitism by world leaders of 31 different countries, including the Canadian and British prime ministers, American President Donald Trump, and Pope Francis.
  • The BDS movement promotes the classic anti-Semitic blood libel.
  • BDS began at a UN conference that was so anti-Semitic that the U.S. secretary of state walked out.

There is absolutely no way for anyone who is not anti-Semitic to deny Ben and Jerry’s BDS action, and indeed, the entire BDS movement is an example of hatred toward Jews.