Your BDS Survival Guide

So, you’ve been drawn into an argument about BDS and don’t quite have the information at hand to defend Israel. Below I have put together a resource guide to help in these situations. My goal with this guide is to clearly and unequivocally prove that BDS is an organization that:

  1. Is hell-bent on the destruction of the state of Israel (through “peaceful means”)
  2. Is fueled by anti-Semitism
  3. Actively harms the interests of the Palestinians they claim to support, in order to advance their agenda of destroying Israel and spreading Jew hatred.

In other words, the main aim of BDS is not to help Palestinians, but to hurt Israel and Jews.

I will make my case by providing factual evidence to debunk the three main lies that BDS uses to justify its activities. BDS preys on uninformed “socially conscious” liberals by attaching their cause onto movements ranging from black lives matter, to gay rights, to any kind of oppression anywhere in the world, no matter how little it has to do with Israelis and Palestinians. A cursory examination of BDS positions and policies reveals what their true intentions are. I hope that this guide will be of help in educating people on the facts so that they can defend against the hypocrisy that is the BDS movement.

Lie #1: BDS’ goal is to arrive at a 2-state solution:

Here is a clip of Norman Finkelstein debunking this lie. For those who don’t know, Norman Finkelstein is one of the biggest Holocaust deniers in the world, in addition to being a supporter of BDS. The fact that he, one of the idols of the BDS movement, dishes out this scathing critique of BDS, is noteworthy:

One of the stated goals of BDS is the right of return of all Palestinian refugees. The following article explains how Palestinian refugees are treated with different guidelines and definitions of what constitutes a refugee than from any other refugee population in the history of the world.

In short, Palestinians are unique in the history of refugee populations because they are the only refugee population ever whose descendants are also considered refugees. Again, no other refugee population in the history of the world has this definition tacked onto the definition of what it means to be a refugee. The following excerpts are from this article:

The Palestinians have long enjoyed extra protection and indulgence from the UN, and especially the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, UNWRA, first established in 1949. In those days, the world was awash in refugees. There were as many as 40 million European refugees after World War II, and another 14.5 million after the Indo-Pakistan partition plan. Over the next decade, 850,000 Jews from Arab lands would also become refugees, driven out by anti-Semitic fury following Israel’s creation.

UNWRA defines a Palestine refugee as “any person whose ‘normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948 and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.’” That makes sense. Whatever caused the displacement—and the historiographical battle rages as to how many fled voluntarily and how many were driven out involuntarily—six hundred to seven hundred thousand Palestinians ended up homeless after the 1948 war. They deserved international assistance. But UNWRA then adds a twist: “Palestine refugees are persons who fulfil the above definition and descendants of fathers fulfilling the definition” [italics added]. Now, we need George Orwell.

Pop Quiz: What do you call “descendants” of European refugees, Indian refugees, Pakistani refugees, or Jewish refugees from the post-1945 or post-1948 turmoil? Answer: Citizens of their respective lands. The classification “refugee” is a transitory one not an enduring identity willed from one generation to the next—except when we come to the question of Palestine and we see the world’s investment in perpetuating the problem.

So we see now what BDS’ call for “right of return of all Palestinian refugees” means in practical terms for Israel. BDS wants all of the original refugees from 1948 to move back to Israel and become full citizens, as well as all of the descendants of the original refugees since 1948. This means millions and millions of refugees that Israel would have to take in. I hope it is clear that this is not a realistic option for Israel to take, because doing so would destroy Israel’s character as a democratic Jewish state. This would result in a one state solution with a Jewish minority, which is exactly what BDS wants.

Lie #2: BDS helps the Palestinian cause:

Recently there was a controversy surrounding the Israeli company SodaStream and its factory in the West Bank. Led by BDS, organizations such as Oxfam and liberals the world over were up in arms about SodaStream operating a factory in the West Bank. SodaStream employed thousands of West Bank Palestinians in its factory, where they earned 4 times the wages of their fellow West Bank compatriots, in addition to working peacefully, side by side with Jewish Israelis. BDS lobbied ferociously to shut down this Israeli factory in the West Bank, claiming that it was part of the “occupation.” In the end, SodaStream did shut down this factory, and thousands of Palestinians who depended on SodaStream to support their families, lost their jobs.

Here is a video about what life was like for the people working in the Soda Stream factory in the West Bank

This factory, which was an example of co-operation between Israelis and Palestinians, is now closed. BDS sees this closure as a “victory.”   Furthermore, the Palestinian Authority itself opposes BDS. This article explains why.

Lie #3: BDS is non-violent and not anti-Semitic:

BDS recently pressured Spanish music festival Rototom to cancel the performance of Jewish American singer Matisyahu. Here is an article that explains why BDS’ actions prove that it is operating out of pure anti-Semitism: Note that this is not only my opinion, but the opinion of the Spanish government, as well as many international politicians, musicians, and newspapers.

Here is a list of BDS intimidation tactics on college campuses, along with a video of a pro BDS protest. At 1 minute and 45 seconds in the video, listen to what the Palestinian supporters are chanting: “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Think for a moment what that phrase actually means. From the river (which river? The Jordan river) to the Sea (which sea? The Mediterranean sea) Palestine will be free. Take a look at a map of Israel and locate the area between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean sea and you will notice that this comprises the entire land of Israel, not just the “occupied” West Bank, but including all of Israel proper (the territory pre-1967 that was not considered “occupied”). What this shows us is that Palestinians and BDS supporters view all of Israel as occupied territory and want to “liberate” it (i.e. push the Jews into the sea, or flood Israel with millions of the descendants of Arab refugees, which would effectively create a “single state” solution).

It’s time to take BDS to task for its blatant hypocrisy and anti-Semitic intimidation tactics, and I hope that this guide has provided some useful information to that end. If in your defense against BDS, you come across someone who still feels the need to boycott Israel, kindly direct them to this article which lists all of the items they will need to rid themselves of because they were either made in Israel, or use technology that was developed in Israel.

About the Author
Roger Goldberg was born in Israel to American and Russian parents, and grew up in Columbus, Ohio. In 2010 Roger co-founded the Reward Volunteers iPhone app, which was acquired in 2012 by Vermont based Cabot Creamery Cooperative. After 9 years of living in Brooklyn, Roger decided it was finally time to come home, and to that end, made Aliyah in October 2015.
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