Understanding the BDS Movement Part 2—Its Reasons and Methods

In part one, we examined the goals of the BDS movement. BDS is inextricably linked to terror organizations and antisemitic individuals who call for Israel’s destruction. Boycotts of Israel are not as much about having an economic impact on Israel (because they have not), as they are about  demonizing and delegitimizing Israel’s very existence. The entire BDS movement is predicated on falsehoods concerning Israel, all of which are designed to paint Israel in the worst possible light. Let’s look at some common justifications that are given for boycotting Israel. 


Israel is accused of being an apartheid state, like South Africa was for forty years. This could not be further from the truth.

In South Africa, certain areas and amenities were off-limits to blacks. They could not vote, intermarriage of blacks and whites was forbidden, and many other restrictions were imposed, putting black South Africans under horrific oppression.

In Israel, Arabs and other minority citizens enjoy the same freedoms and rights as Jews. They have the right to vote and speak freely. They can use the same buses, serve in the military, and get care in the same hospitals as Jews. Israel’s basic laws guarantee equal rights to all its citizens.

In Judea and Samaria, terrorist attacks and violence from the Palestinian population have led Israel to impose certain restrictions. Despite these restrictions, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians enter Israel on a weekly basis, many for work and medical treatment that their government—the Palestinian Authority—fails to provide for them. 

Occupation and Colonialism

A primary target of the BDS movement is the Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria. The claim is that Israel began an illegal occupation of Judea and Samaria after the Six Day War in 1967. This claim is utterly false since there was no recognized sovereignty over the land before then, and Judea and Samaria was part of land designated, by the international community, for a Jewish State. Moreover, these lands were liberated from Jordan in a defensive war. Israel’s noticeable military presence in the territories is for security reasons—thousands of Israelis have been murdered in terrorist attacks since 1967. The understanding that Judea and Samaria belong to Israel refutes the claim that Israel is guilty of colonialism. Jews are indigenous to these areas, where their history is deeply rooted.

Zionism is Racism

In 1975, the United Nations passed an infamous resolution equating Zionism to racism. Zionism is Jewish nationalism—the movement for Jewish self-determination in their ancient homeland, Israel. It is the realization of the longing of the Jewish people since they were exiled two thousand years ago—to be a free nation in their land. Zionism does not discriminate against other ethnicities or religions, and does not exclude other citizens of Israel from enjoying the same rights and privileges as Jews.

What actions does BDS advocate?

The Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions movement advocates a blanket boycott of Israel, meaning they want people to boycott everything having to do with Israel, in areas such as music, academia, and trade. They want companies and institutions to divest, that is, remove all investments from Israel. Finally, they want world governments to apply sanctions on Israel.  

  • The BDS movement encourages people not to buy anything made in Israel, or by companies that do business with Israel.
  • Israel is accused of using culture to whitewash its so called crimes. The BDS movement calls on musicians and other artists not to perform or exhibit in Israel. Artists who are scheduled to have performances are routinely harassed and pressured not to perform in Israel.
  • Universities around the world are admonished to sever ties with Israeli academic institutions, which the BDS movement claims are complicit in Israeli “war crimes.”
  • Businesses are pressured not to do business in or with Israel, and in the works at the UN right now is a blacklist of companies that do business in Judea and Samaria. BDS activists don’t stop there however. Any company that is affiliated with or partners with an Israeli company is called out, and put on the boycott list.
  • The BDS movement calls on financial institutions to end their relationships with Israeli companies and to remove any investments they have in the Israeli market.
  • They call for a military embargo of Israel and other sanctions on exports. They want to cripple the Israeli Defense Force by promoting the end of cooperation between Israel and other countries, military and security contracts, joint research, and foreign aid.           

What we have seen is that the methods and operations of the BDS movement are deeply dishonest. Promoters of BDS build their case on a foundation of lies. When they attack Israel, they are attacking the freest, most diverse, country in the Middle East.

Lovers of truth need to take a stand against BDS. We need to do the opposite of what the BDS movement calls for. Instead of boycotting, we should buy. Instead of divesting, invest in Israel. Instead of encouraging our governments to sanction Israel, encourage them to stand with Israel.