The anti-Israel movement on campus would like you to think that divestment is a form of pure, grassroots student activism. But recent developments at Loyola University of Chicago have shown that divestment promoters are deceiving the public regarding the true nature of their campaigns.
On Tuesday, April 1st, Students for Justice in Palestine presented the Loyola student government with an anti-Israel divestment resolution. But what they neglected to mention was that they didn’t write the legislation themselves. It turned out that the real author was Dalit Baum, a major leader in the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. Baum is not a student or faculty member of Loyola or any North American university. She is a paid operative working to co-opt student governments into following the BDS Movement’s malicious, anti-Israel agenda. And if she is writing resolutions for one school, it is likely that she is writing them for others as well.
Many in the pro-Israel community suspected that professional BDS activists were behind anti-Israel campaigns on college campuses. Divestment initiatives are often orchestrated at a level that most students would not be able to achieve on their own. And now we have definitive proof that this is not purely grassroots, student-led activism, but rather an industry in which paid operatives play a crucial role. It should be noted that Dalit Baum, the operative in question, actively promotes the “right of return,” which, in the words of President Barack Obama, would, “extinguish Israel as a Jewish state”. This is something that all campus organizations absolutely must be made aware of before they make a decision on whether or not to support anti-Israel divestment campaigns.
It is important to understand the larger context here: BDS is a movement built on deception. It demands the elimination of Israel, but sells itself as a progressive, social justice cause. It manipulates the public into thinking that boycotting the safety measures that keep innocent Israelis alive every day is “human rights activism”. It appropriates and abuses the voices of progressive icons like MLK and Nelson Mandela to gain legitimacy, even though both strongly opposed the toxic brand of anti-Zionism that BDS represents. BDS activists tell members of student governments that divestment does not target Israel or Israelis, even though their official handbook calls divestment a, “stepping stone towards a broad, comprehensive boycott of Israel.” So when they insist that campus divestment campaigns are entirely student-led, it’s just one drop in an ocean of BDS deceptions.
BDS can continue trying to mislead the public about its methods and true intentions, but people are waking up. Campus divestment activists have been forced to distance their campaigns from BDS because student governments do not want to associate themselves with such a malicious movement. Even notorious anti-Israel academics like Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky have publicly condemned BDS for its rank hypocrisy.
BDS is able to recruit well-meaning people only through deception and emotional manipulation. The lies about campus divestment being purely grassroots are just one example of this. But sunlight is the best disinfectant. By exposing BDS for what it truly is, we can stand up for the truth and stop this movement from poisoning any more of our campuses and communities.