Dangerous Washington Post Column Legitimizes BDS Movement On Faulty Premises

The construct set forth in Steven Levitsky and Glen Weyl’s recent op-ed is highly troubling.

Mr. Levitsky and Mr. Weyl argue that the only way that Israel can secure international respect is to remove their presence from Palestinian territory. They do not, however, recognize wrongdoing by Palestinians or mention the historical context of the situation. They do not mention multiple instances in which Palestinian leaders refused to sign peace agreements with Israel, nor do they mention the most recent incitement of violence by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Their argument that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is what deters peace is a false dichotomy. This “chicken or the egg” scenario set forth in their op-ed fails to account for history, or the reality of the situation, which is that Palestinian violence and hatred towards Jews predates Israel’s presence in the West Bank and Gaza; as does it predate the existence of a legitimate Jewish state.

Yet, despite the atrocities committed against them, the Israelis have offered an olive branch of peace to Palestinians numerous times since the “occupation” of the West Bank began in 1967; however, every set of negotiations has broken down due to the Palestinian’s unwavering determination to see the end of the State of Israel. For Mr. Levitsky and Mr. Weyl to say that Israel is impeding peace negotiations is a complete departure from historical fact. As it is for them to say that Israel’s presence in the West Bank and Gaza is what hinders progress.go on to assert that the best thing that supporters of Israel, and American Jews in particular, can do to help Israel in the long-run, is to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. They posit that only by cutting off American aid and foreign investment in Israel will the Israeli government withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza, which, they argue, is the in the best interest of everyone. They fail to recognize the real aim of the leaders of the BDS movement, which is to delegitimize the State of Israel.

It seems counterintuitive that supporting this movement will help Israel in any feasible way, or that it could secure peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The BDS movement directly undermines our ability to achieve tolerance and understanding among Israelis and Palestinians when the leaders of it seek the end of Israel.

For self-proclaimed Zionists to encourage other Jews to turn their backs on Israel is a departure from the tenets of Zionism altogether. It is a travesty that such a dangerous conclusion could be built on such false premises.

Pro-Israel Americans must come together to uncover the true motivation of the BDS movement. Those who support boycotting Israel as a tactic are by definition supporting the elimination of Israel as an ultimate goal, and we must fight fearlessly and consistently against that illegitimate objective.”

About the Author
Jack Rosen is the President of the American Jewish Congress.