What is BDS?
Boycotting Israeli goods actually predates the establishment of the State of Israel. On December 2, 1945 the new Arab League Council decreed thus: “Jewish products and manufactured goods shall be considered undesirable to the Arab countries.” All Arab institutions, institutions, organizations, merchants, commission agents and individuals were instructed “to refuse to deal in, distribute or consume Zionist products or manufactured goods.”
That wasn’t all. The League declared a boycott of all goods produced by nations that did business with Israel. That included Coca Cola. It was sold in Israel; so….the Arab countries boycotted the company.
And that, too, wasn’t all. The League declared the blacklisting of firms that traded with other countries that did business with Israel!
Selling off stocks and bonds and other investment funds which make growth possible in Israeli business and industry. BDS demonstrators advance this method.
A ban on trade. It can cripple a nation’s economy, especially if it is a complete set of sanctions. At the present time, American sanctions on Iran are squeezing the life’s blood out of Iran’s economy. That is what the BDS Movement wants to do to Israel.
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Two lies that BDS propagates: first, that Israel is illegally occupying the West Bank—Judea and Samaria; and secondly, that Israel is brutally treating the Palestinians.
Israel is presented as a selfish colonialist power. The BDS people castigate Israel with buzz words like settler-colonialism, genocide and apartheid. None of these fit.
BDS never, never refers to the wars and harassment that Israel has endured from her Arab neighbors.
BDS blames Israel, and only Israel, for the tension in the Middle East.
BDS blames Israel for Arab suffering and brutally treats the Palestinians.
However, the BDS movement fails to show any interest in Arab suffering unless they can fix the blame on the Jews.
It fails to acknowledge that Israeli Arabs have far more human rights and a far greater standard of living than other Arabs in the Middle East. It fails to acknowledge that even the Palestinians have far greater opportunities in gainful employment in Israel than they ever have had—that access to education and health care is greater, life expectancy is longer, infant mortality is greatly reduced, illiteracy rates are lower and that life expectancy rose from 48 years old in 1967 to 72 in the year 2000. (See more in my book Israel the Chosen, pp. 174-190
Yet, the BDS voices take upon themselves the image of virtue and compassion.
At the first BDS conference in Ramallah the conferees sought to link BDS to the South African racial segregation system. At that meeting, the goal was stated: to bring down the State of Israel.
The proponents of BDS press upon their hearers one set of principles and focus entirely on Israel as the world’s great evil with outrageous accusations not mentioned here.
This obsession with Israel’s imperfections blinds them to the actual crimes of other nations such as China’s imprisonment of a million Muslims in order to “re-educate” them, the stateless situation of the Kurds. It also distorts history with the reasons for homelessness of the Jewish people following World War II—the holocaust in Europe and the expulsions of the Mizrahi Jews in the North African nations—expelled under unusually horrid conditions with their money and property expropriated.
Key Figures in the BDS Movement
Most of the professors in Middle East Study departments in the major universities of America line up with the BDS Movement. Many of these departments have within them student groups that demonstrate on behalf of this movement.
Arab Nations’ Grants to American Universities
One reason for the anti-Israel sentiment in American universities is that over the past few decades large sums of money from Arab countries have supported the Middle East Study programs through grants, chairs and fellowships. Their literature educates but also advances the Muslim/Arab viewpoint. Seldom is this made known. But universities will accept such gifts to grow their departments. It fits in with the “viewpoint diversity” standard required under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
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The world of neighbors around Israel-- indeed many peoples throughout the world, including the United Nations, want to see the position of the State of Israel to be lowered; for Israel puts them to shame. They are envious; and Israel’s success angers them. It especially angers those ancient nations which are descendants of ancient biblical nations—Persia (Iran), Babylon (Iraq), Jordan (Moabites, Ammonites, etc.), Gaza (the Philistines), Egypt. The word “Jew” is used in at least some parts of those populations as a curse word… the only time it is used their societies.
But the Lord of heaven and earth now desires Israel to be elevated. That is evident from many strange twists and turns of modern international affairs in modern history. Israel is to be set on high—having leaped up from their lowered position in the world.
Those nations are but sparrows; Israel is an eagle which grows stronger in spite of opposition by the little birds.
Israel’s opposition is unusually harsh. Nevertheless, Israel’s help in the times of natural disaster is well known and is unprecedented for a small nation. So the State of Israel is an anomaly.
QUESTION: Is the BDS Movement succeeding?
ANSWER: No, not at all. In fact, Israel’s success in spite of opposition is phenomenal and proceeding apace. During the life of the BDS Movement, foreign investment in Israel has grown by 42%. Israel’s GDP has risen by more than 64%. And Israel has experienced unprecedented growth and is more secure economically and militarily. In these times, no nation of note would dare ignore Israel or boycott their products. The BDS Movement while active in American, Europe and the Middle East, is a failure.
This is the work of the Lord.
As Robert Jenson says in his Commentary on Ezekiel: “This God simply is the God who reverses the judgments and outcomes of this age.” (p. 143)
“This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous to behold.”
And then there is God’s promise to Abraham which should be remembered:
“I will bless those who bless you,
And curse those who curse you….”
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