Bassem Eid

Stop the Jew hatred at UC Santa Barbara

The Associated Students at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) are attempting to spread antisemitic and anti-Israeli sentiment this week. Yes, I’m referring to another hateful Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) resolution against Israel.

This isn’t the first time UCSB students have attempted to pass a BDS resolution, and it has historically resulted in an increase of antisemitism on campus, and helped neither parties involved. Just two years ago, in 2019, an attempt to pass a BDS resolution promoted an act of terrorism, where flyers with antisemitic messaging of blood libel and Holocaust denial were distributed across campus.

Passing a BDS resolution creates further divide amongst students and squashes any chance at effective dialogue and debate within the community. This is true on any college campus, yet the progression of social media ‘activism’ has allowed these abhorrent messages to spread even farther than just a physical space.

As a Palestinian, I can tell you firsthand that this is not creating any positive change in Israel and Palestine. This resolution is an attempt to blacklist Jews and Jewish-owned companies in Israel from doing business with the university. This bill only heightens tensions on campus and contributes to a growing wave of antisemitism around the country.

Antisemitic hate crimes have become rampant over the past few years and seen a 438% increase in the last few weeks. So why would any university contribute to the culture by passing a BDS resolution, and make both Jewish and pro-Israel students fear for their safety even more than they do already?

BDS is so much more than just a rejection of Israeli business. It affects international trade and investment, all on the basis of religion. In any case, Palestinians like me are often the greatest victims, as thousands of us work alongside Jews and rely on paychecks from Israeli companies to support our families. Yet, many supporters do not realize this because of their overarching goal to threaten the safety of Jews across America.

Passing a BDS resolution hurts more people than its supporters are even acutely aware of, and helps no one as far as I’m concerned. Let us all take a stand against BDS resolutions on college campuses, and allow for a place of honest debate and safety for all within the confines of campus and the digital space.

About the Author
Bassem Eid (born 5 February 1958) is a Palestinian living in Israel who has an extensive career as a Palestinian human rights activist. His initial focus was on human rights violations committed by Israeli armed forces, but for many years has broadened his research to include human rights violations committed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the Palestinian armed forces on their own people. He founded the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group in 1996, although it ceased operations in 2011. He now works as a political analyst for Israeli TV and radio.
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