Radical Roots, Extremist Ends
In the summer of 2014, Hamas fired more than four thousand rockets, and assaulted Israel using a vast underground network of attack tunnels that reached well into Israeli territory. The Israel Defense Forces responded by targeting the terrorist infrastructure of Gaza, triggering scores of pro-Hamas demonstrations in European and North American cities in which protesters held placards reading “Free Palestine,” “End the siege on Gaza,” “End Israeli Apartheid,” and “Stop Israeli state terror.”1
These public protests demonizing, criminalizing, and delegitimizing Israel also characterize the ongoing boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement. Global BDS activists exploited the 2014 Gaza conflict to reinvigorate their political and economic warfare campaign against Israel.2 On August 20, 2014, at the height of the war, hundreds of pro-Hamas protesters in New York City carrying placards that read “Israel=Racism and Genocide” and “Palestine from the river to the sea” – a public call for Israel’s destruction – also dropped a massive flag from the Manhattan Bridge that read “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.”3
Observers who have followed the ongoing delegitimization campaign against Israel may have noticed that these BDS calls are not meant merely to pressure Israel toward a two-state solution. Instead, BDS is being used as a platform to advocate ending Israel’s existence as the nation-state of the Jewish people. As such, the BDS movement’s objectives parallel Hamas’ war goals.4 Michael Gove, Britain’s Conservative Party whip, labeled European BDS calls against Israel during the 2014 Hamas-Israel war as a “resurgent, mutating, lethal virus of anti-Semitism” reminiscent of Nazi boycotts of Jews on the eve of the Holocaust.5
More generally, BDS represents a continuation of an ongoing campaign promoting political subversion and economic warfare against the State of Israel irrespective of the territories in dispute between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors.
In fact, during the past decade, these broad international efforts – known as the delegitimization campaign – have sought to undermine Israel’s existence as a sovereign state. Moreover, this global crusade operates in the political, legal, academic, cultural, and economic fields, and has been characterized by “direct action” measures such as “humanitarian aid” flotillas, as well as other activities such as “die-ins” and precoordinated demonstrations and protest marches primarily in European cities and on North American campuses.
In Western circles, BDS is commonly misunderstood. It is generally viewed as a progressive, nonviolent campaign led by Palestinian grassroots organizations and propelled by Western human rights groups, who call for boycotting Israeli goods produced in the “occupied” or “disputed” Golan Heights and West Bank territories captured from Syria and Jordan respectively in the 1967 war.
It is also widely assumed that the global BDS movement is further limited to boycott and divestment aimed at Israel’s presence over the 1967 Green Line, resulting in international actions led frequently by the Palestinian Authority at the United Nations, at the UN-affiliated International Court of Justice, as well as petitions made to the International Criminal Court.
However, a closer investigation of the BDS movement reveals a starkly different picture. BDS is more accurately described as a political-warfare campaign conducted by rejectionist Palestinian groups in cooperation with radical left-wing groups in the West. BDS leaders and organizations are also linked to the Palestinian Authority leadership, the radical Muslim Brotherhood, other radical groups, terror-supporting organizations, and in some cases even terror groups themselves such as Hamas.
BDS boycott campaigns have effectively misled trade unions, academic institutions, and even leading international artists and cultural icons, with seemingly earnest calls for “justice” entailing the establishment of a Palestinian state living beside a Jewish state. These BDS supporters have been led to believe that the combined pressure of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions will force Israel to withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines, otherwise known as the 1967 Green Line, enabling a resolution of the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict.6 However, as some commentators – including the New York Times’ Roger Cohen and Professor Norman Finkelstein – have pointed out, the BDS movement seeks to eliminate Israel even before addressing the Palestinian issue.
As explained below, the publicized “demands” of the BDS movement state clearly that the endgame of this punitive global campaign is to cause Israel’s implosion as the nation-state of the Jewish people and enable the creation of another Arab-majority state in its place. The major challenge in understanding the BDS phenomenon is to expose its radical nature and camouflaged extremist goals. Some have begun to understand the real BDS challenge. In 2009, the European Court of Human Rights condemned the boycott of Israeli products by a French mayor as an act of incitement.7 Roger Cohen, a liberal critic of Israel, noted “the hidden agenda of BDS, its unacceptable subterfuge: beguile, disguise and suffocate.”8 In Cohen’s view, “Mellifluous talk of democracy and rights and justice masks the BDS objective that is nothing other than the end of the Jewish state.”9
Understanding the maximalist goals of BDS presents a challenge to policymakers, shapers of public opinion, and Middle East observers alike. The movement has exercised tactical sophistication in “dressing up” its radical linkages and extremist ends in a language of peace, justice, and human rights that appeals to Western audiences.
This monograph seeks to uncover how BDS is used by Palestinian groups and other radical organizations that have misappropriated the language and cause of human rights in their ongoing attempts to vilify, criminalize, and delegitimize the State of Israel. This study also brings to light the BDS movement’s ultimate goal: far from promoting a negotiated solution to the decades-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the rights and requirements of both parties, the global BDS crusade seeks the dismantling of Israel and its replacement with another Arab-majority state.
What Is BDS?
BDS stands for boycott, divestment, and sanctions, and refers to three distinct yet related forms of punitive action against the State of Israel. All of these actions promote isolating, breaking off relationships with, denormalizing,10 delegitimizing, and punishing the Jewish state.
- Boycott refers to the breaking of relationships with Israel as a means of protest, punishment, intimidation, or coercion. These actions include consumer and trade boycotts, cultural and sporting boycotts, and academic boycotts.
- Divestment is the opposite of investment: the withdrawal of investments in Israel by banks, pension funds, and other large investors or from companies operating in Israel.
- Sanctions refer to punitive actions taken by governments and international organizations, including trade penalties or bans, arms embargoes, and cutting off diplomatic relations.
The term “BDS” is not used in any other conflict or boycott campaign. It is nomenclature that refers exclusively to imposing these punishments on Israel.
The Radical Roots of BDS
The term “BDS” is relatively new, having been popularized following the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.” However, the roots of boycotts against Israel and the Jewish people extend back centuries.
Since the Middle Ages, Jews were the targets of boycotts and formal legal exclusion continuing hundreds of years.11 Jews were banned from owning property, attending universities, or practicing a trade. Even after the European Enlightenment removed many of the formal barriers to Jews, informal, grassroots boycotts and exclusion still persisted. A mass popular boycott of Jews was organized in France in the late 1890s,12 and the Jews of Limerick, Ireland, were the victims of a boycott campaign in 1904.13 Universities in Europe and the United States14 maintained official and unofficial quotas of the number of Jews they would admit, which continued well into the 20th century.
The Arab Boycott of the Jewish Yishuv
In 1945 the newly-created Arab League declared a collective boycott of the Jews in British Mandate Palestine that was carried out with the establishment of national boycott offices.
These ongoing anti-Jewish boycotts around the world were not limited to the diaspora. Arabs in British Mandate Palestine began to boycott the prestate Jewish Yishuv in the 1920s. This tactic was designed to discourage Jewish immigration to Mandate Palestine and prevent the creation of a Jewish state.
As early as August 1922, the Fifth Palestine-Arab Congress declared a boycott against Jews and called on all Arabs to refuse to sell them land and boycott Jewish businesses. This boycott was extended to all Jewish goods in 1929. The Congress also opposed Jewish immigration to Palestine and called for a repudiation of the Balfour Declaration.
As early as August 1922, the Fifth Palestine-Arab Congress declared a boycott against Jews and called on all Arabs to refuse to sell them land and boycott Jewish businesses.15 This boycott was extended to all Jewish goods in 1929. In 1931 the Arab Workers Committee published a list of Jewish goods to boycott, and issued it both to Muslim countries and to the West.16 In 1937 an Arab Congress meeting in Syria passed motions calling for the Balfour Declaration to be scrapped while encouraging an economic boycott of Jews.17 In 1945 the newly-created Arab League declared a collective boycott of the Jews in British Mandate Palestine that was carried out with the establishment of national boycott offices.18 Damascus hosted the central boycott office, while other Arab League member states set up national boycott offices as well. These offices were located in the founding member states of the Arab League, such as in Damascus and Cairo. Formally, the Arab boycott is still in effect today.
BDS mobs converge on Tesco supermarket in UK during a day of BDS protest in 2011. BDS activists raided stores and deshelved Israeli goods while demonstrators drew attention outside.(www.londonbds.org)
Israeli dates in an Ireland grocery store marked with yellow boycott stickers (www.bdslist.org)
The Arab boycott spread and became a secondary boycott of companies doing business in Israel. Coca-Cola, for example, was boycotted in 1966 and disappeared from supermarket shelves around the Arab world. Little has changed: on August 16, 2014, BDS mobs trashed the Coca-Cola section of a Tesco supermarket in Birmingham, England, to protest the soft-drink giant’s continued presence in Israel.19
The Arab boycott became more prominent at times, most famously after the 1973 Yom Kippur War when Arab oil-producing countries imposed an oil embargo on the United States and other Western countries as a punishment for supporting Israel. However, its economic impact largely declined in the 1990s as many Arab countries became more lax in enforcing it in light of the improvement in Arab-Israeli relations following the Madrid and Oslo peace initiatives in 1991 and 1993 respectively. In fact, Israeli trade offices and commensurate new economic relationships were launched with Arab states in the Gulf, while the fledgling Palestinian Authority established economic ties with Israel and initiated wide-ranging private business ventures with the creation of PA investment vehicles such as the Palestinian Investment Fund (PIF) and the World Bank-funded Planning and Development Collaborative International (PADCO) that was set up with the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.
The Second Intifada, Durban, and the Roots of Contemporary BDS
While the Arab countries relaxed enforcement of their decades-old boycott of Israel in the early 1990s, the Arab-boycott precedent would give rise to a wider international movement to isolate Israel. The Palestinian war of terror also known as the Second Intifada, which was characterized by Fatah and Hamas suicide-bombing assaults following the breakdown of peace talks in the summer of 2000, provided the foundation for an equally virulent political and diplomatic campaign against Israel.
The 2001 UN World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa, has become recognized as a seminal event in the current global BDS campaign against Israel. Governments and NGOs from around the world convened for the formal Durban Conference and its parallel NGO Forum from August 30 to September 8, 2001. The PLO delegation led by the PLO’s UN representative, Nasser al-Kidwa, together with other member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and Western NGOs, played a central role in formulating what was called the final NGO declaration.
Delegates attend the second meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the Durban World Conference Against Racism, July 30, 2001, at the Palais des Nations (UN) in Geneva. Durban has become
recognized as a seminal event in the current global BDS campaign against Israel. (AP Photo/Donald Stampfli)
U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), a member of the U.S. delegation to the Preparatory World Conference Against Racism, briefs the press in Geneva on August 9, 2001, following the U.S. delegation’s withdrawal from the conference in protest of Durban’s discriminatory treatment of Israel. (AP Photo/Donald Stampfli)
Human rights NGOs, with input from Arab states and Iran, ensured that the NGO Forum included a final declaration that read:
[We] [c]all upon the international community to impose a policy of complete and total isolation of Israel as an apartheid state as in the case of South Africa which means the imposition of mandatory and comprehensive sanctions and embargoes, the full cessation of all links (diplomatic, economic, social, aid, military cooperation and training) between all states and Israel.20
Durban represented a watershed moment for anti-Israel radicalism. It was no irony that the above calls to criminalize and isolate Israel were accompanied by terror attacks by Palestinian terror organizations. On September 9, the day after Durban ended, a Hamas suicide bomber killed three people at the Nahariya train station in northern Israel. Durban’s radical likening of Israel to apartheid South Africa would help create international legitimacy for violence, or what both Fatah and Hamas call “resistance” against the “illegitimate” Jewish state, which set a precedent for future calls for its dismantling and actions to achieve that goal.21
To that end, the Durban Conference’s NGO declaration would establish the political and ideological infrastructure for the contemporary BDS movement: economic boycotts, government sanctions, and the severing of social and cultural links with Israel were all key areas of focus.
While Durban has been accepted as the watermark for the current global BDS campaign against Israel, it should be viewed as an internationalization and intensification of the longstanding Arab boycott. Both campaigns targeted Israel as an illegitimate entity regardless of territorial boundaries. It was this notion of a maximalist campaign to rid the world of the Jewish state that would be trumpeted by leaders of the BDS movement such as Omar Barghouti, Mustafa Barghouti, and As’ad AbuKhalil. Tom Lantos, former U.S. representative to the Durban Conference and member of the U.S. House of Representatives, noted the role the Palestinian delegation to Durban headed by UN representative Nasser al-Kidwa played in drafting the text of the NGO declaration that branded Israel a criminal entity.22
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on September 1, 2001, at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. Arafat and his nephew, Palestine’s UN delegate Nasser al-Kidwa, led Durban’s campaign to delegitimize, demonize, and isolate the State of Israel. (AP Photo/Jose Goitia)
In the period coinciding with the Durban Conference, campaigns to boycott Israel began to appear in Western countries. For example, the BIG (Boycott Israeli Goods) campaign was launched by Britain’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign in July 2001 at an event in Parliament with MP George Galloway.23 In 2002 academics from around the world, especially those based in the UK, United States, France, and Morocco, signed a letter stating that they refused to “cooperate with official Israeli institutions, including universities…[or] attend…scientific conferences in Israel…[or] participate as referee in hiring or promotion decisions by Israeli universities, or in the decisions of Israeli funding agencies.”24 By 2004 there were regular boycott protests and events in Western countries. However, these were often local and small with limited impact.
The boycott movement appeared to be driven almost entirely by Western intellectuals and far-left activists, leading to accusations that the campaign was Orientalist (the projection of Western narratives onto the Middle East).25 In 2004-2005, there were efforts to “Palestinianize” the boycott so as to establish its international credibility as an authentic grassroots Palestinian movement.
In July 2004 Palestinian engineer-turned-activist Omar Barghouti established the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) “in response to a serious academic boycott effort launched earlier in the UK that year.”26 PACBI released a “call”27 for a boycott of Israel, which it claimed was endorsed by a number of Palestinian “civil society” organizations such as trade unions, campaign groups, and NGOs.
The PACBI call was immediately useful to anti-Israel campaigners, and was cited around the world as “proof” that the Palestinians had called for an academic boycott.28 However, it was more narrowly focused on academic and cultural boycotts. To spur the BDS movement more generally, a broader BDS call would be needed.
Behind the Contemporary BDS Campaign:
The 2005 “Civil Society” Boycott Call and the BDS National Committee
While it took several years to gain recognition as a foundational moment in the international BDS movement, on July 9, 2005, almost a year after the PACBI call was published, Palestinian NGOs released the “Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until It Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights.”29 PACBI was one of the main organizers of this new initiative, along with the Palestine NGO Network, Stop the Wall, and the Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative. The 2005 Palestinian NGO boycott call was signed by various Palestinian civil society organizations, which, in 2007, led to the creation of the BDS National Committee (BNC) to implement and promote the action.30
The 2005 BDS call and the BDS National Committee, also referring to itself as the BDS movement, have become recognized as the point of reference for the global BDS campaign.
The 2005 BDS call and the BDS National Committee, also referring to itself as the BDS movement,31 have become recognized as the point of reference for the global BDS campaign. Indeed, the popular term “BDS” itself was adopted from its use in the 2005 call.32 Today the BNC holds regular conferences and hosts a UK-based European coordinator, Michael Deas, who has promoted BDS in the European Parliament.33
Michael Deas, a leading BDS activist who coordinates activities of the BDS National Committee, has promoted BDS in the European Parliament. (http://vimeo.com/79185547)
The BDS call urged boycotts, divestment from Israel, and government sanctions:
We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel.34
The explicit references to apartheid South Africa closely reflect the language and strategy of the Durban NGO declaration a few years earlier.
The 2005 BDS call does not limit itself to the post-1967 territories; instead it references the establishment of Israel, as in: “Thirty eight years into Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan Heights” and “Fifty-seven years after the State of Israel was built mainly on land ethnically cleansed of its Palestinian owners.” That is, the call did not restrict its concern to the lands captured by Israel in 1967, but also included the establishment of Israel itself in 1948.
The 2005 BDS call displays the same ambiguity of language in its three conditions Israel would have to fulfill for the boycott to be lifted:
- Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall.
- Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
- Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.35
It is noteworthy that two of these three demands are unrelated to the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War but are instead demands relating to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. The question of minority rights within Israel itself and the “return” of “Palestinian refugees” to Israel are not issues that arose in 1967. In fact, all three of these conditions can be understood as promoting the dissolution of the State of Israel as a Jewish democratic state.
Regarding the third demand above, the standard UN definition of a refugee36 does not apply to “Palestinian refugees,” who uniquely inherit their status.37 No other refugee status in the world is inherited and nobody else can be born a refugee. Hence the number of Palestinian refugees is constantly increasing, and in 2014 constituted more than five million people. The BDS demand that Israel grant citizenship to some five million Palestinian Arabs who reject the existence of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people is essentially a call for Israel’s destruction.
Similarly, the 2005 call’s second demand above seems to be an innocuous and uncontroversial appeal for equal rights for Israel’s Arab citizens. However, this appeal too must be understood in the context of a political discourse by Israeli Arabs in which the concept of collective equality between Jews and Arabs means by definition that Israel can exist only as a binational state, thereby annulling its Jewish character.
The Haifa Declaration, for example, a well-known Israeli Arab initiative, asserts that equality for Israeli Arabs requires “a change in the constitutional structure and a change in the definition of the State of Israel from a Jewish state” to a form of binational state. The declaration also demands an end to the Law of Return and “guaranteeing the Palestinian citizens in Israel the right of veto” over some laws.38 Another group, the National Committee for the Heads of the Arab Local Authorities in Israel, similarly demands in its “Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel” substantial political and cultural autonomy for Arab citizens of Israel as a precondition of equality.39 Adalah’s “Democratic Constitution” likewise calls for a binational state40 as the path to equality.
This seemingly innocuous demand by the BDS campaign, then, can be understood as a call for the dismantling of the State of Israel as a Jewish democratic state and its replacement with a binational state. Indeed, Palestinian commentator and U.S.-based BDS advocate Noura Erekat notes that this demand “exceeds the mandate of a movement for Palestinian self-determination” and that “therefore, the BDS call has been read as an implicit endorsement of the one-state solution.”41
Hamas and other rejectionist groups consider all of Israel to be occupied Arab land, and even the Palestinian Authority’s official media promote the notion that all of Israel is “Occupied Palestine.”
The first point of the above-quoted 2005 BDS call, the demand for Israel to end “its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands,” sounds at first hearing like a reference to the territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War. However, this is an ambiguous and even misleading phrase. Hamas and other rejectionist groups consider all of Israel to be occupied Arab land, and even the Palestinian Authority’s official media promote the notion that all of Israel is “Occupied Palestine.”42
This deceptive language enabled BDS leaders to position their boycott call as simply “anti-occupation” to mainstream audiences in the West who might have recoiled at the more explicit call for the dismantling of Israel. The BNC’s BDS movement website confuses the point even further: in some places it has more narrowly defined the original BDS demand by calling on Israel to end “its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantl[e] the Wall” (emphasis added).43
In other places on the BNC website, the original text – “its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” – remains without any reference to 1967 territory. This confusing addition of “Arab lands occupied in June 1967” also created controversy among some anti-Israel campaigners who saw it as a narrowing and therefore a betrayal of the wider original boycott demand. Iranian American campaigner Paul Larudee called this change “deceptive and even fraudulent,” and charged that Omar Barghouti had made this change “as an assurance that BDS would not demand the return of all lands stolen from Palestinians” in 1948 in an attempt to pander to “soft Zionists.”44
Confusion over the true scope of the BDS call allows liberal critics of Israel to express their support by citing the more limited phrasing, while the original 2005 BDS call refers to the dismantling of all of Israel.
This confusion over the true scope of the BDS call was not accidental. It allows liberal critics of Israel to express their support for the BDS movement by citing the more limited phrasing, while the original signatories of the 2005 BDS call can maintain their loyalty to the more expansive version referring to the dismantling of all of Israel. To add to the existing confusion, both versions of the text exist side-by-side on the BDS movement website. The BDS activists’ deliberate ambiguity attracted otherwise-unintended support for BDS from some liberal critics of Israel who are likely unaware of its maximalist goals. Nevertheless, however the first demand of the BDS call is interpreted, the BDS call’s three demands taken together require the dismantling of Israel to be fully satisfied.
This is widely understood by the Palestinian NGOs that signed onto the statement. Noura Erekat writes that Palestinian organizations “viewed the comprehensive approach to Palestinian rights” of the 2005 BDS call “as a veiled endorsement of the one-state solution.”45
Ahmed Moor, a Palestinian-American author and campaigner, wrote: “BDS is not another step on the way to the final showdown; BDS is The Final Showdown.”
Some BDS leaders acknowledge this openly. Ahmed Moor, a Palestinian-American author and campaigner, wrote:
I view the BDS movement as a long-term project with radically transformative potential. I believe that the ultimate success of the BDS movement will be coincident with the ultimate success of the Palestinian enfranchisement and equal rights movement. In other words, BDS is not another step on the way to the final showdown; BDS is The Final Showdown.46
This belief grows directly from the conviction that nothing resembling the “two-state solution” will ever come into being. Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish state itself.47
The 2005 BDS call was successful in “Palestinizing” the anti-Israel boycott movement and was used by preexisting boycott campaigns, like the BIG campaign mentioned above, to retroactively justify their activity. Significantly, it also introduced the trinity of “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” into the wider anti-Israel discourse, ideologically uniting otherwise disparate boycott initiatives into a “global BDS campaign.”
The Extremist Goals of the BDS Movement
The global BDS movement has been effective in deceiving some global opinion shapers into believing that BDS’s goal is a two-states-for-two-peoples solution. For example, New York Times columnist and Pulitzer prizewinner Thomas Friedman has written that the BDS movement is led by “opponents of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.”48 Referring to BDS, Friedman asserted that “the Third Intifada is based on a strategy of making Israelis feel strategically secure but morally insecure.”49
New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, who is often critical of Israeli policy, wrote that the BDS movement’s goal is “the end of Israel as a Jewish state. This is the hidden agenda of BDS, its unacceptable subterfuge: beguile, disguise and suffocate.”
Other prominent writers have understood the BDS movement’s subterfuge. As noted above, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, who is often critical of Israeli policy, wrote that the BDS movement’s goal is “the end of Israel as a Jewish state. This is the hidden agenda of BDS, its unacceptable subterfuge: beguile, disguise and suffocate.” Norman Finkelstein, one of the West’s most outspoken critics of Israel, also voiced concern about BDS’ disingenuous nature. Finkelstein charged that the BDS movement was a “cult” and that those who ran it were dishonest. He added, “At least be honest what you want – ‘we want to abolish Israel and this is our strategy for doing it.’”50
As’ad AbuKhalil, a political science professor, noted: “There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the State of Israel.”
As’ad AbuKhalil, a political science professor, author of the Angry Arab News Service blog, and prominent BDS supporter noted, “Finkelstein rightly asks whether the real aim of BDS is to bring down the State of Israel. Here, I agree with him that it is. That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the State of Israel.”51
Palestinian NGOs and the BDS Movement
The Palestinian organizations that signed onto the 2005 “grassroots” Palestinian BDS call are primarily not grassroots organizations. These NGOs do not represent, as they claim, a broad swath of Palestinian society. Instead they are largely either individual antipeace activists or effectively fronts for rejectionist Palestinian political factions.
These factions, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, exploit BDS as an alternative and sometimes complementary strategy to terror in attempting to cause Israel’s implosion. Historical context is significant. Rejectionist groups such as the PFLP had lost influence, relevance, and financial capacity with the establishment of the internationally-backed, Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in 1994. These other Palestinian groups saw their role in BDS initiatives as a ticket to maintaining relevance and garnering local Palestinian support in opposing the newfound cooperation and spirit of political compromise between the Fatah faction and Israel following the signing of the Oslo Exchange of Letters and the 1995 Oslo Interim Agreement.
Moreover, during the 2000s the NGO leaders became elite political actors without the popular backing required by political parties. Indeed, many NGOs eventually broke loose of party control, sidelining political parties. According to Salah Abdel Shafi: “Some prominent NGO political activists marginalized the political party and use the NGO as a platform to enter the social and political arena.”52 Additionally, as commentator Maha Abu-Dayyeh notes:
The increased donor aid into Palestine as a result of the establishment of the Palestinian Authority also contributed to the proliferation of NGOs that addressed a variety of social, cultural, economic as well as radical political agendas. The Palestinian NGO community has become vibrant and well-funded by international donors, and many NGO leaders were also politically active in various [Palestinian political] parties (emphasis added).53
Tariq Dana, a political science professor at Hebron University,54 characterized Palestinian NGOs before the Oslo agreement as “mass-based movements,” whereas in the post-Oslo period they came to be led by two elites: “former leaders and activists, generally middle-class and politically affiliated with leftist factions,” and “a younger generation of career-oriented professionals who mostly gained their knowledge and skills from Western universities or professional experience overseas.” Dana explained that “another aspect of NGO elitism is the upward concentration of power in the hands of a few individuals.” He cited a Fafo poll in which 59 percent of respondents said that they distrusted Palestinian NGOs up to 2011.55
Norman Finkelstein, a major critic of Israel as noted, charged that the NGO leadership of the BDS movement was unrepresentative: “the gurus in Ramallah, you know, giving out marching orders. And then if you disagree, they say, ‘10,556,454 Palestinian civil society organizations have endorsed this.’”56 Finkelstein would further ask, “Who are these organizations? They’re NGOs in Ramallah, one-person operations, and they claim to represent what they call this thing, ‘Palestinian civil society.’…[T]hen why can’t they ever organize a demonstration of more than 500 people?…[They] represent absolutely nothing.”57
A relentless critic of Israel, political scientist Norman Finkelstein has charged that the BDS movement is a childish “cult” whose goal is to destroy Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Working through “civil society” organizations and NGOs around the world also eases the way to promoting the Durban strategy of branding Israel in terms of apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and so on, and of course campaigning for BDS. This is clearest when examining the leaders of the NGOs that created and organized the 2005 BDS call.
The Palestinian Leadership of the BDS Campaign
Mustafa Barghouti has been at the forefront of PLO efforts to unify ranks with Hamas, despite its support for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and its charter calling for the mass murder of Jews. (Reuters /Suhaib Salem/ASAP)
Dr. Mustafa Barghouti is one of the most important figures involved in creating Palestinian “civil society” organizations and in spreading boycotts and the “nonviolent resistance” approach in the past few years. In October 2001, he was one of the founders of Grassroots International Protection for the Palestinian People (GIPP), “a program that aims to protect Palestinians, including those engaged in nonviolent protest, through the presence of international civilians to deter or at least bear witness to IDF and settler violence.”58 GIPP served as an umbrella group for partnering and coordinating the activities of civilian associations, social organizations, NGOs and churches from the West Bank, Europe and the U.S.; under its wing came the PNGO network which today is central to the BDS movement, as well as the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), known for its involvement in violent and terrorist supportive activities (see separate section on ISM).59
Currently, Mustafa Barghouti is a well-known oppositionist and serves as Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative [Al-Mubadara] Party (PNI). Prior to founding the PNI, he was secretary general of the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP) and its representative on the Palestinian National Council (PNC). The PPP under his tenure had been signatory to a November 2001 statement issued by the aforementioned National and Islamic Forces which called to continue the “blessed intifada” and praised the “heroic resistance,” while warning of the “tricky policy exercised by the Zionist entity in light of the Zionist Lobby control over the main keys of the U.S. decision-making process in order to guarantee full support to the policies of the racist government of Israel, especially during the reign of the terrorist Sharon.”60
Barghouti’s party is the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats. Its own boycott initiative, bader, aims for a systematic boycott of all Israeli goods in Palestinian territories.61 Mustafa Barghouti’s role can perhaps be best characterized as “agent” to effect cooperation between various rival factions within the Palestinian community, having enjoyed close ties for many years with both international far-left elements and European affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood.62
Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian engineer-turned-activist, founded the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and helped establish the BDS movement. He is a longtime supporter of the “one-state solution,” which by definition means the subversion and dissolution of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
A different Barghouti – Omar Barghouti – is a founding member of both PACBI and the BDS movement. He is a longtime supporter of the “one-state solution,” which by definition means the subversion and dissolution of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Barghouti’s radicalism extends to Israel’s primary ally, the United States. Some of Barghouti’s early writings, which are still available online, express profound anti-Americanism. In July 2004, for example, he stated:
We are witnessing the ominous rise of the most powerful empire ever to exist. Judging from consistent media reports and opinion polls, the rest of the world seems to view it as a menacing rogue state that is arrogantly bullying other nations, east and west, north and south, into unqualified submission to its self-declared designs for world domination and incontestable economic supremacy.63
In September 2004 he wrote an open letter to the American public in which he asserted that American leaders had created a racist environment in which soldiers had stopped perceiving Iraqis as humans; that he opposed any shape or form of terrorism, “regardless whether it comes from your government – as is the case most of the time – or from any of your many victims seeking revenge”; and that since Americans chose “empire,” they were “therefore guilty by association or by being an accessory to crime.”64
Barghouti’s leadership of the BDS campaign is a good example of the movement’s long-term goals regarding Israel. He is an author of the November 2007 “One State Declaration” that emerged from “One State Solution” conferences held in London and Madrid in the same year.65 He told the New Republic that even if Israel were to end its control of the West Bank, his calls for boycotts would continue. He said, “The majority of the Palestinian people are not suffering from occupation, they are suffering from denial of their right to come back home.”66 This call for the “return” of the descendants of Arab refugees to Israel is, as discussed above, effectively a call for the end of Israel as a Jewish democratic state.
Barghouti has also written:
The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is really dead. Good riddance! But someone has to issue an official death certificate before the rotting corpse is given a proper burial and we can all move on and explore the more just, moral and therefore enduring alternative for peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Mandate Palestine: the one-state solution.…The current phase has all the emblematic properties of what may be considered the final chapter of the Zionist project. We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it, for Zionism is intent on killing itself. I, for one, support euthanasia….Going back to the two-state solution, besides having passed its expiry date, it was never a moral solution to start with.67
Barghouti signed a July 2010 open letter to President Abbas titled “Don’t deny our rights,” in which Palestinians from around the world demanded to have new elections after Abbas’ speech in June in which he said, “I would never deny [the] Jewish right to the land of Israel.”68
The letter’s signatories wrote that they:
Regard this announcement, which adopts a central tenet of Zionism, as a grave betrayal of the collective rights of the Palestinian people. It is tantamount to a surrender of the right of Palestinian citizens of Israel to live in equality in their own homeland, in which they have steadfastly remained despite the apartheid regime imposed on them for decades. It also concedes the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.69
The signatories added that, “No Palestinian institution or leader has ever accepted an exclusive Jewish claim to Palestine, which is irreconcilable with the internationally recognized rights of the Palestinian people.”70
Jamal Juma’, coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (also known as “Stop the Wall”), claims the organization has fifty popular committees under its umbrella. The popular committees that Juma’ claims to represent often blur the line between nonviolent and violent protest. Stop the Wall was one of the conveners of the first BNC conference in 2007. Juma’ has described Israel as a “colonial racist apartheid state.”71 He registered the current domain for the website of the BNC, bdsmovement.net, and coordinates many of the anti-Israel demonstrations in various Palestinian villages. In some cases these demonstrations have turned violent. For example, Stop the Wall-supported demonstrations in Bil’in72 and Nilin have often involved the rolling of burning tires and the throwing of rocks and Molotov cocktails, resulting in over 170 injuries by 2009.73
Juma’ has blasted the Palestinian Authority for clamping down on both armed resistance and unarmed struggle. “For the oppressed and occupied, ongoing struggle and resistance using all necessary means is not only our right, it is our obligation,” he wrote. “Resistance will continue as the Palestinian people assert their fundamental rights.”74
Prominent BDS activist Zaid Shuaibi said: “Freedom, justice, return of refugees and self-determination in general require a rejection of normalization and greater resistance against Israel’s multi-tiered system of oppression which includes occupation, colonization and apartheid.”
Another prominent BDS activist, Zaid Shuaibi, is the networking and outreach officer of the BNC in the Palestinian territories and the Arab world. In a June 2013 interview, he said:
Freedom, justice, return of refugees and self-determination in general require a rejection of normalization and greater resistance against Israel’s multi-tiered system of oppression which includes occupation, colonization and apartheid. In contrast, Oslo and the peace process is a normalization project without resistance to an ongoing project of ethnic cleansing….An absolute majority of Palestinians today is calling for abandoning this suicidal Oslo track.75
Palestinian Terror-Group Links to the BDS Movement
Many Palestinian groups that claim to support nonviolence often exist alongside, and not in place of, groups that support violent “resistance.” For example, in November 2008 the BDS National Committee produced a position paper titled “United Against Apartheid, Colonialism and Occupation: Dignity & Justice for the Palestinian People.”76
Among the endorsers of this paper is the London-based Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), which, according to the Israeli defense minister’s designation, is part of Hamas’ European section.
Another endorser is the Swiss-based Alkarama for Human Rights. In December 2013 the U.S. Treasury categorized as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” both the president of the Council of Alkarama, the Qatar-based Sheikh Abd al-Rahman bin ‘Umayr al-Nu’aymi,77 and the organization’s representative in Yemen, `Abd al-Wahhab Muhammad `Abd al-Rahman al-Humayqani, for their funding of various al-Qaeda groups.78
The top-listed signatory on the 2005 call is the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine (CNIF). The CNIF is described as the “coordinating body for the major political parties in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”79 It is also a member of the BDS National Committee.
The CNIF was established by Marwan Barghouti and Yassir Arafat in 2000-2001, the early days of the Second Intifada, to coordinate terrorist activity against Israel between the nationalist PLO groups and the Islamist Hamas.80
Not only is the CNIF the first listed signatory of the 2007 BDS call; the first speaker at the BNC conferences is usually a representative of the CNIF. For example, at the BNC conference in 2013, BDS leader Mustafa Barghouti, a former Palestinian prime ministerial candidate, delivered the speech on behalf of the CNIF, and the official report of the conference notes that the CNIF constitutes “a main pillar of the BNC.”81
Noura Erekat emphasizes that “the BNC now includes representation of Palestinian political forces in the form of the Coalition of National and Islamic Forces.”82 She also notes that:
The Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, the coordinating body for the major political parties in the Occupied Territories, along with the largest Palestine Liberation Organization mass movements, facilitated the acceptance of the BDS call by major sectors of Palestinian civil society within the Territories and beyond.83
Hadar Eid notes that “[Hamas] is represented in the BNC’s secretariat within the national and Islamic action committee.”84
Hamas issued a statement on February 14, 2014, saying, “We in Hamas appreciate and welcome these economic boycotts against the Zionist occupation.”
Hamas’ Gaza leadership has endorsed international BDS activities against Israel. According to Middle East Monitor, Hamas issued a statement on February 14, 2014, saying, “We in Hamas appreciate and welcome these economic boycotts against the Zionist occupation and we consider it a step in the right direction toward pressuring the occupation to stop its settlement activities and its Judaization of the Palestinian land.”85 In July 2014, Hamas’ @qassamenglish Twitter feed tweeted: “Don’t buy these products” with a link to an article about BDS86 as a grassroots civil society movement.
The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades have served as the cutting edge of Hamas in its suicide bombing attacks on Israel. The organization has also taken part in the BDS effort as seen in the accompanying tweet. (Twitter)
A few of the 2005 BDS call’s signatories are known front organizations for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is a banned terrorist group in the United States.87 Despite their bona fides as legitimate NGOs, the Union of Health Workers Committees and the Union of Agricultural Workers Committees are both campaigning charities run by PFLP members,88 as are Addameer89 and several others.
The Palestinian Authority and BDS
At first the Palestinian Authority was suspicious of the BDS movement, just as the BDS movement was hostile to the PA.90 In 2009, BDS leader Omar Barghouti attacked the PA for “conceding Palestinian rights and acting against the Palestinian national interests,” accused it of a “betrayal of Palestinian civil society’s effective Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel,” and concluded that “the PA must be responsibly and gradually dismantled.”91
Protesters boycott a branch of Israeli chocolatier Max Brenner in Melbourne, Australia, in 2012. BDS mobs assaulted local police, leading to arrests of protesters and a repudiation by Australian Jewish leaders. (Lochlan Tangas)
By 2011, though, the Palestinian Authority began to co-opt the BDS movement. Senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath told Ha’aretz:
We are learning how to co-exist with popular struggle. To tell you the truth, this wasn’t at the beginning in the mind of Abu Mazen [Abbas]. He is gradually starting to see it – popular struggle and international activism. Abu Mazen at the beginning was scared of the idea of BDS. But if you want to put real pressure, this is the way….The BDS groups meet here in my office….
Unarmed struggle does not mean that I have submitted to Israeli occupation but that I am looking for other ways of making pressure, not armed, not violent. One of them is BDS.92
Shaath also noted that Fatah supports “the BDS movement all over the world.”93
Senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath said that Fatah supports “the BDS movement all over the world.”
The BNC’s third conference in December 2011 was opened by Hebron governor Kamil Hamid, who asserted, on behalf of President Abbas and the Palestinian leadership, that they and the PA supported all forms of “popular peaceful resistance [muqawama]” and all its prospects. The issues of the right of return, resisting normalization, strengthening BDS within the Palestinian camp “as an active Palestinian resistance,” and so forth were raised again.94 This conference marked the adoption of BDS by other senior PA figures. It also signaled pressure to adopt it as official policy as illustrated by Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, who addressed the conference.
Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the PLO Executive Committee also took part in the 2012 BNC conference.
Some senior PA officials have publicly embraced BDS. For example, three PA ministers sit on the board of directors of a BDS-supporting NGO called the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute, also known as MAS. One MAS researcher, Ismat Quzmar, was previously the BNC’s coordinator95 and, prior to that, was an economic policy analyst at the PA’s Ministry of National Economy. This close coordination, if not integration, between PA bodies and BDS-supporting Palestinian NGOs raises the question of whether some of these NGOs should in fact be considered government-operated NGOs (GONGOs). For example, Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki is the founder and former executive director of PANORAMA, the Palestinian Center for the Dissemination of Democracy and Community Development, which supports BDS goals.
Other Partners of the BDS Movement
Many of the organizations promoting anti-Israel boycotts are either far-left organizations or Islamist groups. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, these groups began to work closely together on a number of shared causes including opposition to Israel and promotion of boycotts. This collaboration is sometimes described as the “Red-Green alliance,” a term popularized by the Reut Institute.96
The BDS National Committee forms the center of the contemporary BDS movement, providing BDS supporters worldwide with legitimacy by being a Palestinian organization and offering guidance and shared direction to national BDS campaigns by, for example, choosing targets. However, as noted above, local anti-Israel boycott campaign groups are often older than the 2005 BDS call and have their own radical roots.
This section provides a brief overview of these different groups, including their ideological roots and their role in BDS campaigns. Each subsection is worthy of further, fuller study.
International Far-Left Elements
Far-left elements, at best supporters of the “one-state solution,” serve as the main “mentors” for the other forces involved in the delegitimization campaign. Usually they hold postcolonialist/postimperialist theories (inspired by intellectuals such as Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, and others), in which Israel is perceived as a Middle Eastern imperialist enclave. In the past few years, encouraged by the Czech Velvet Revolution (1989–1990), far-left, mainly anarchist groups adopted this language and methodology. It is important to note that even actions that potentially may lead to violence (such as riotous protests or occupations of public places) are still presented as “nonviolent.”
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, some far-left groups have posited political Islam (Islamism) as the only organized force able to resist U.S. hegemony and their perception of “empire.”
The far-left groups behind BDS tend to be the remnants of the Cold War-era Marxist parties – both pro-USSR Communist parties and Trotskyists mixed with 1960s-style radicals, Greens, and newer groups of left-anarchists. These groups are diverse with their own ideologies, histories, and internal tensions.
A good example of such groups is the Socialist Workers Party UK (SWP), one of the UK’s largest far-left organizations. A Trotskyist group, it sees itself as the vanguard of a Marxist revolution that will ultimately overthrow the British state. Through front organizations and directly, the SWP was a major supporter of boycotts against Israel, especially the academic boycott.97 Another example is the South African Communist Party. Once explicitly pro-Soviet, it was an early and enthusiastic supporter of BDS.
These varied groups tend to see their involvement in anti-Israel boycott efforts as one activity among many, often including it alongside campaigns for Cuba or Venezuela and against the United States.
One venue where these organizations converge is the World Social Forum (WSF). The WSF is an international antiglobalist gathering that was supposed to counter Davos’ World Economic Forum; the WSF (and its regional gatherings, such as the European Social Forum and other local ones) has probably been the most important platform for BDS promotion and cooperation within the radical left.
Martine Aubry, left, first secretary of the French Socialist Party, confers with Senegalese Socialist Party leader Ousmane Tanor Dieng during a World Social Forum event at Place du Souvenir in Dakar, Senegal, on February 9, 2011. The World Social Forum (WSF) is an international antiglobalist gathering that has provided an important platform for BDS promotion and cooperation among radical-left groups. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
The 2005 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, included a delegation from the above-mentioned Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OGAPI), a coalition of anti-Israel NGOs. One of the joint statements by organizations at the 2005 WSF focused on boycotting Israel. In January 2005 these organizations published a call for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions vis-à-vis Israel to End Occupation and Apartheid Policies.”98
The statement said:
We call upon the international community and governments to impose political and economic sanctions on Israel, including an embargo on armaments. We call upon the social movements to mobilize also for divestment and boycotts. These efforts aim to force Israel to implement international resolutions, and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, to stop and take down the illegal wall and end all occupation and apartheid policies.
This statement is strikingly similar to the 2005 Palestinian BDS call, and indeed the OGAPI was one of the drafters of that call. The World Social Forum BDS statement was essentially an early draft of the Palestinian BDS call, and in fact might represent the earliest use of the term “boycott, divestment and sanctions.”
Subsequent WSF meetings reaffirmed the commitment of participant organizations to the BDS cause.99
Jewish and Israeli Anti-Zionists
Jewish and Israeli anti-Zionists play a critical role in the BDS campaign. They serve as some of its most public and prominent supporters, its most important ideologues and thinkers, and a legitimizing force that the campaign uses to insulate itself against charges of anti-Semitism.
Jewish anti-Zionist legitimacy complicates the BDS movement. It is counterintuitive to think that Jewish BDS activists support the demise of Israel and its replacement by an Arab or neutral state. However, this is the case.
Some of these Jewish anti-Zionist intellectuals were members of Matzpen, a breakaway group of the Israeli Communist Party in the early 1960s. Matzpen leaders were active anti-Zionist campaigners and became the “educators” on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict of leading figures of the “New Left” in Europe.100 Gradually the Palestinian-Israel conflict became an extension of other anticolonialist struggles, and the language and terminology of anticolonialism was adopted against Israel. Former Matzpen leaders are still very active in the battle today; the most prominent of them is probably Michel Warschawski, “Mikado,” who founded the Alternative Information Center (AIC) in Jerusalem and is also said to have been among the founders of the World Social Forum. The son of Matzpen founder Moshe Machover, Daniel Machover founded Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights101 in the UK.
Steven and Hilary Rose, two British Jewish academics, led the 2002 campaign for academic sanctions and boycotts against Israel102 and co-drafted the original boycott call.103 It was this call that inspired Omar Barghouti to found PACBI.104
Many of the prominent Israeli BDS supporters moved to the UK. Ilan Pappé, an Israeli neo-revisionist historian and former candidate for the Communist-dominated Hadash Party, is based in Exeter, England. Pappé was an early supporter of the academic boycott.105 Haim Bresheeth, formerly of SAPI College in Sedro, and academic architect Eyal Weitzman,106 both BDS supporters, also relocated to Britain. Pappé and Bresheeth, along with BDS supporter Oren Ben-Door, were signatories of the 2007 One State Declaration.107
Some of the many known Jewish BDS personalities such as Naomi Klein, Professor Judith Butler, and Adam Shapiro – who is a founder of the violently anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement – have been outspoken in their opposition to Israel and have mobilized public support for a Palestinian state in its place.108
Jewish anti-Zionists provide legitimacy to the global BDS campaign. They can claim to support boycotts “as a Jew”109 and often speak at pro-BDS events, publish articles, and appear in the media. They also form the nexus of Jewish pro-Palestinian groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace and Jews for Justice in Palestine, which also include more mainstream, liberal members in addition to anti-Zionist radicals. In 2008, Jewish anti-Zionists founded the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.
Within Israel, the most prominent BDS organizations are Coalition of Women for Peace’s subgroups Who Profits and Boycott from Within. Boycott from Within evolved from Anarchists against the Wall, an Israeli left-anarchist group that was set up to protest the security barrier.
A central dilemma in Israeli and pro-Israeli Jewish circles in exposing Jewish extremism in the BDS movement is, at what point should the traditionally large Jewish “tent” be closed to these rejectionist Jewish groups and their supporters? These Jewish and Israeli projectionists and BDS advocates have proved themselves just as dedicated as their fellow travelers in Christian, Islamist, and Palestinian BDS circles to the dissolution of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
A Jewish BDS demonstration, Union Square, New York City, March 8, 2014. Some Jewish groups have played a prominent role in legitimizing BDS. (All-Nite Images/Flickr)
A boycott of Israeli cosmetics company Ahava outside a local branch store in Berlin, Germany, October 2012. Some radical Israeli groups have legitimized the subversion of Israel as a Jewish nationstate. (http://www.bds-kampagne.de)
Perhaps surprisingly, Islamist groups have not been at the forefront of the global BDS campaign. However, they have provided the ideological framework that energizes politically-minded Western Muslims who are often the most vigorous and enthusiastic participants in BDS activity.
There are different Islamist groups: Sunni and Shia, Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi, supporters of violent jihad and proponents of political campaigning. Many of these groups devote much of their energy to opposing one another; in that respect they are similar to the far-left groups discussed above. Nevertheless, there are also ideological similarities among Islamist groups, including a theological opposition to the existence of the State of Israel.
Following the outbreak of the Second Intifada, radical Muslim clerics issued religious rulings banning the purchase of Israeli goods. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a fatwa in May 2001 in which he stated: “The purchase of any item which helps strengthen Zionism is not permissible unless it reaches the point of necessity.”110 Pro-Iranian organizations, such as Innovative Minds,111 began to promote boycotts of Israel to Muslim audiences at about the same time.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa in May 2001 supporting boycotts against Israel. (AP Photo/IRIB)
In April 2002 Sheikh Qaradawi published a fatwa on boycotting Israel. (AP)
Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi is one of the leading scholars of the global Muslim Brotherhood112 and a theological proponent and defender of suicide bombings in Israel.113 Hamas, as the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, looks to Qaradawi as a spiritual guide. In April 2002 Qaradawi, based in Qatar, published a fatwa on boycotting Israel that declared:
It is Jihad to liberate the Islamic lands from those who attack or conquer them. These are enemies of Islam. This Jihad is an absolute obligation and a sacred duty….
Each riyal, dirham…etc. used to buy their goods eventually becomes bullets to be fired at the hearts of brothers and children in Palestine. For this reason, it is an obligation not to help them (the enemies of Islam) by buying their goods.114
Leading Muslim Brotherhood scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi published a fatwa on boycotting Israel in 2002 that declared: “It is an obligation not to help them (the enemies of Islam) by buying their goods.”
Qaradawi sourced the boycott in Islamic history:
The boycott is a very sharp weapon, used in the past and recently. It was used by the pagans in Makkah against the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, and his companions. It caused great harm to them; they even had to eat leaves. It was also used by companions of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, to fight against the pagans in Madinah.115
In the same fatwa Qaradawi also mandated a boycott of American goods.
Despite this fatwa and other similar calls, only a few Western Islamist groups devoted significant resources to promoting a boycott of Israel. Far-left groups were generally more prominent in boycott campaigning than Islamist groups. Among the few exceptions was the Friends of Al-Aqsa group, a UK-based Islamist group specifically focused on anti-Israel campaigning.116
As BDS campaigning has grown to be a main form of anti-Israel political activity, more Islamist groups have been actively involved in BDS initiatives. Muslim Students Associations, many with reported ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, have become active BDS proponents in North America, South Africa,117 and Europe.118
New York University Chaplain Khalid Latif speaks to students at the university’s Islamic on February 24, 2012. Groups at NYU such as Students for Justice in Palestine cooperated with the MSA in leading BDS and protest campaigns during Israel’s 2014 war with Hamas. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Churches and Christian Groups
A full history of Christian-Jewish and Christian-Israeli relations is well beyond the scope of this study, especially as there are many different Christian denominations. However, since medieval times Christian churches have supported and promoted anti-Jewish boycotts. Medieval Christians were not allowed to enter synagogues, celebrate with Jews, or attend Jewish banquets. Christians who violated the prohibitions were themselves boycotted and tainted.119 Christian boycotts against Jews continued until the early 20th century.120It is noteworthy that the Vatican only recognized the State of Israel in 1993,121 for example. However, BDS is mainly an issue in the mainline Protestant churches, often inspired by more radical Christian ideologies among some parts of these churches.
One of the primary Christian anti-Jewish ideologies is supersessionism, also known as replacement theology. This doctrine of early Christianity held that the church had replaced “Israel” – that is, the Jews – in God’s plan. Historically, supersessionism was used to delegitimize Judaism and to demand that Jews convert to Christianity.
Supersessionism began to be used as a contemporary response to Christian Zionism, which is the Christian belief established in the 19th century that the Jews have a biblical claim to Israel. If today’s Jews are not the Israel of the Bible, then Christians are able to believe in the literal truth of the Bible without supporting a Jewish claim to Israel.122
In Palestinian liberation theology it is not only the Christians who replace the biblical Jews; it is the Palestinians who become the “real” or “true” Jews of the Bible, identified with Jesus struggling against his Jewish “oppressors.”
Starting in the 1980s, Rev. Naim Ateek, a Palestinian Anglican priest in Jerusalem, fused liberation theology (a Latin-American Christian theology that combines Christianity with socialist and Marxist ideas)123 and supersessionism to create Palestinian liberation theology.124 In Palestinian liberation theology it is not only the Christians who replace the biblical Jews; it is the Palestinians who become the “real” or “true” Jews of the Bible, identified with Jesus struggling against his Jewish “oppressors.” In Ateek’s words:
The suffering of Jesus Christ at the hands of evil political and religious powers two thousand years ago is lived out again in Palestine…hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified. Palestine has become one huge Golgatha [sic]. The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily.125
Ateek has referred to “Jesus Christ, living in our country as a Palestinian under occupation.”126
Ateek considers the Old Testament, with its notions of a Jewish claim to Israel, to be a “primitive form of nationalism that looked at one’s own tribal interest.”127
Ateek founded the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre in Jerusalem to promote his ideas. Ateek and Sabeel were early advocates of church divestment campaigns128 and are regularly cited by churches when considering divesting from Israel.129 Friends of Sabeel organizations around the world promote Sabeel’s agenda to Christian groups. In 2013 the Anti-Defamation League listed Friends of Sabeel North America as one of the top ten anti-Israel hate groups.130
In December 2009, Ateek was one of the main authors of a long religious plea for the Palestinians called “Kairos: A Moment of Truth.”131 Signed by Palestinian Christians, the Kairos document calls for a boycott of Israel. Based on the model of the various boycott calls discussed above, the Kairos call has been cited by the Methodist132 and Presbyterian133 churches to support their boycott positions and has become a rallying point for Christian anti-Israel activity worldwide.
Signed by Palestinian Christians, the Kairos call has been cited by the Methodist and Presbyterian churches to support their boycott positions and has become a rallying point for Christian anti-Israel activity worldwide.
Although they are not radical organizations themselves, many church-linked international NGOs are major donors to radical BDS-supporting NGOs – for example, Christian Aid in the UK, Sweden’s Diakonia, and the Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO) in The Netherlands. These organizations, often recipients of government funding themselves, provide what is believed to be the majority of the funding for the core Palestinian BDS organizations discussed above.
BDS Modus Operandi:
Targeting Liberal and Progressive Critics of Israel
Far-left revolutionaries, rejectionist Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority, terrorist groups, and Islamists lie at the heart of the anti-Israel BDS campaign. However, the campaign itself is not restricted to far-left meetings or Friday mosque sermons. BDS has also penetrated university campuses, local governments, trade unions, churches, and even supermarkets and concert halls.
Many of these professional groups, unions, and associations that have subscribed to the global BDS campaign are liberal critics of Israel and supporters of a Palestinian state in the West Bank. However, these mainstream critics of Israel have become the foot soldiers of a movement whose leaders and ideologues see BDS as a step toward Israel’s destruction.
Some supporters of the Palestinian cause might naturally join organizations such as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Students for Justice in Palestine, or the France-Palestine Solidarity Association, believing them to be mainstream organizations supporting the Palestinians. However, these campaigns are often run by the far-left, Islamist, or other anti-Israel radicals mentioned above. Notably, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has been censured on several U.S. campuses. The UK’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is run by a secretive far-left group called Socialist Action.134 While its logo includes the entire State of Israel,135 some of its supporters still believe that PSC supports a two-state solution.
Motions and Resolutions
BDS is often introduced to democratic civil society organizations such as trade unions, professional associations, and student governments in the form of motions and resolutions that are debated and voted on. The structure of these mainstream organizations renders them prime targets for a small number of dedicated BDS campaigners, often expatriate Palestinians or in some cases pro-Palestinian Arab nationals, Islamist activists, or members of the far left, who write and propose motions on BDS at meetings of the above-mentioned trade unions, professional associations, and student governments. Frequently BDS motions are the sole proposals made on Israel and the Palestinians, and liberal pro-Palestinian voters often vote for these BDS proposals because they “want to show support for the Palestinians” rather than because they support the BDS cause itself. Activist organizations and associations that have approved such a BDS policy might be forced to commit resources to supporting BDS to the detriment of other causes. In this way civil society organizations can essentially be subverted into becoming part of the BDS machine.
As noted above, many Palestinian civil society organizations are largely funded by Western NGOs. These NGOs, which may in turn be partially funded by governments, listen to their local partners when shaping NGO policies including BDS. Oxfam, for example, promotes boycotts and labeling of goods produced in Israeli farms beyond the Green Line136 and calls for an arms embargo on Israel.137 As extensively reported by NGO Monitor, these international NGOs are major recipients of money from Western governments. In this way governments fund NGOs that, in turn, fund pro-BDS Palestinian NGOs.
Delegations to the Middle East are a key tool used by BDS leaders and activists to radicalize others. Delegations will often meet with the pro-BDS Palestinian NGOs discussed above, and will be made to feel that BDS is mainstream and widely supported.
For example, when BDS activists wanted to convince the Scottish Trade Union Congress to expand its boycott policy, they first arranged for its leaders to join a delegation to Israel and the PA-governed areas. According to the delegation’s report, they “met with the representatives of four Palestinian NGOs which form part of the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions Campaign based in Ramallah,” including “Jamal [Juma’], the Co-ordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign.”138 At the meeting they were told about “the major violation of 60 years ago, with the complete theft of the land and the eviction of Palestinian people”139 – referring to the foundation of Israel in 1948, not to Israel’s control of the West Bank after 1967. On their return, the delegation recommended and easily pushed through a boycott of Israel.140
Parallel events transpired with South African Christian leaders who visited in 2012141 and returned citing the above-mentioned Kairos document and supporting BDS, as well as with U.S. Presbyterians in January 2014 who immediately announced their support for targeted divestment.142
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) pioneered a more activist way of visiting Palestinian areas. The ISM is probably the most important anarchist incubator involved in Palestinian issues, and many of its veterans create local groups in their home countries upon returning from the West Bank. ISM volunteers have often joined “popular resistance” protests against the separation barrier, under the auspices of Stop the Wall. ISM volunteers undergo two days of training in Ramallah in “nonviolence strategies and philosophy, group decision making and cultural considerations for living and working in Palestine which helps prepare them for demonstrations and actions that ISM participates in against the ongoing Israeli occupation.”143
ISM-London, which endorsed the 2005 BDS call, also offers “very highly regarded” training and says that more than 250 people have been trained since 2009.144 ISM activists in Europe also join demonstrations against shops that sell Israeli products. The ISM website links to national and regional branches in Britain, the United States, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and The Netherlands. ISM co-founder Huwaida Arraf participated in a meeting organized by the Global Anti-Aggression Campaign (GAAC).145 As already noted, the head of the GAAC, Sheikh Nu’aymi, was later designated by the United States for his involvement with al-Qaeda.
The Ecumenical Accompaniment Program for Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) is another program that sends large numbers of volunteers to Palestinian areas. EAPPI volunteers, known as Ecumenical Accompaniers, live in Palestinian towns and accompany Palestinians during their daily lives. EAPPI has been described by critics as biased146 because of the one-sidedness of the program, and it promoted the pro-BDS Kairos call.147 Returning volunteers are encouraged to write blogs and make speeches about their experiences in their local churches.
Many of the ideological leaders of the BDS campaign also make public appearances to spread their ideas. Omar Barghouti, for example, has conducted annual speaking tours of the United States since 2010,148 promoting his book and lecturing on college campuses.
Many people join the BDS movement believing it to be a corrective tool that will help achieve a two-states-for-two-peoples solution. They do not know and are not told that the BDS campaign’s leaders are working toward a different goal: the elimination of Israel.
These BDS tactics have convinced many liberal pro-Palestinian activists that BDS is a progressive, mainstream campaign. Many of these people join the BDS movement believing it to be a corrective tool that will help achieve a two-states-for-two-peoples solution. They do not know and are not told that the BDS campaign’s leaders are working toward a different goal: the elimination of Israel.
The global BDS movement constitutes a complex network of radical ideologies, organizations, and individuals. One of the primary challenges in understanding BDS is to see through its camouflaged exterior. The movement has succeeded to mislead many into believing that it is, as Thomas Friedman put it, simply an “Intifada propelled by non-violent resistance and economic boycott,”149 seeking to advance a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
However, as this study has attempted to illustrate, BDS leaders and activists have more accurately characterized their activities as a complementary strategy to the policy of terror and political violence that Hamas, other Palestinian groups, and Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organizations have long embraced as part of their avowed effort to dismantle Israel as a sovereign state. And as we have attempted to clarify, BDS is merely a recent variant of centuries of anti-Jewish boycotts that the Arab powers embraced nearly three decades before the reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty in 1948. The difference today is that the BDS campaign includes new but equally radical actors, including far-left, Muslim, Christian, and even Jewish and Israeli groups and individuals.
In this sense, efforts to subvert Israel as a sovereign state have not changed. However, the BDS campaign’s penetration of Western mainstream professional groups, trade unions, leading academic institutions, and even the world of cultural icons represents a dangerous globalization and mainstreaming of the BDS effort. While it has achieved relatively minor success in its economic and political warfare against Israel, BDS’ media prowess as seen in Israel’s summer 2014 war against Hamas has reverberated across Europe and on North American campuses.150
That is why the BDS movement must be exposed and combated as a subversive strategy whose destructive nature has generated condemnation across the political spectrum in Israel. Moreover, it has also failed to arouse public support. Instead, the BDS movement has triggered deep opposition and resentment among the Israeli population and has, accordingly, set back prospects for a peaceful, negotiated solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Mapping the Key Organizations and Players of the BDS Movement
Addendum – BNC Conferences and PACBI
First BNC Conference
The first BNC conference convened in Ramallah in November 2007, organized by the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), the Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI), the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), and the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign.151
The leaders of most of these groups were quoted as saying that BDS aims to bring an end to the Jewish state and delegitimize Zionism. This aim constituted a part of the conference’s resolutions. Among the guests was Virginia Setshedi of the Palestine Solidarity Committee in South Africa, who reminded the audience that apartheid was a crime against humanity and explained that the new, post-apartheid South African social movement understood the struggle of the Palestinian people. At the time of the 2001 World Conference against Racism in Durban, she said, a commitment was made to support the Palestinian struggle to isolate “apartheid Israel.” The social movement in South Africa, which welcomed the 2005 Palestinian civil society BDS call as an appeal by the Palestinian people to launch this joint struggle, has worked ever since on building the BDS movement in South Africa – shaming the South African government and pressuring it to rescind normal relations with Israel, and boycotting Israeli consumer products. In light of the recent SodaStream controversy, it is noteworthy that during the conference it was emphasized that “Palestinian employment in Jewish settlements and Israel is to be excluded from the boycott, because it is a source of necessary income that has no current substitute.”
Second BNC Conference
The second conference took place in Nablus on May 22, 2010, but there is little information on the proceedings. According to the early announcement on the conference’s participants and contents,152 the visitors from abroad included the British union leader Hugh Lanning (who was also elected by the British Labor Party as its candidate for the parliamentary seat of Canterbury and Whitstable) and the anti-Israel journalist Jonathan Cook, while Mahmoud Aloul, a veteran Fatah member and former governor of Nablus, represented the Council of National and Islamic Forces. Rifat Kassis represented Kairos Palestine, a Christian organization known for its December 2009 multilingual call for Christians around the world to help fight the Israeli occupation,153 and is currently central in the struggle against Christian recruitment to the IDF or civil service. Omar Barghouti and a representative of Badil were scheduled to speak about spreading BDS internationally, and Shaher Sa’ad, secretary-general of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), was to speak on activating BDS among trade unions.
Third BNC Conference
The BNC’s third conference was held in Hebron in December 2011, and was opened by Hebron governor Kamil Hamid, who asserted, on behalf of President Abbas and the Palestinian leadership, that they and the Palestinian Authority supported all forms of “popular peaceful resistance [muqawama].” The issues of the right of return, resisting normalization, strengthening BDS within the Palestinian camp “as an active Palestinian resistance,” and so forth were raised again.154 This conference marks the adoption of the BDS movement by other senior PA figures, and the pressure to adopt it as official policy.
The conference had several sessions followed by dedicated workshops. The opening session reportedly discussed ways to “strengthen the [boycott] campaign within the Palestinian camp.” Among the speakers was Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee who, in November 2013, threatened that the PA would go to the UN Security Council over an Israeli announcement of an intention to build homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.155 The international speakers included European BNC coordinator Michael Deas; Adam Horowitz, co-editor of the mondoweiss.net portal, which, along with electronicintifada.net, is probably the most important BDS-supporting outlet; and Thobile Ntola, Central Executive Committee member of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and a member of the South African Communist Party.
Among the Palestinian participants at that conference there was at least one other example of the heavily politicized NGO environment already referred to. Ibrahim al-Shikaki is an economist who works at an NGO called the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute (MAS),156 on whose board of trustees sit several senior current and previous PA officials:
- Former MAS director-general Dr. Samir Abdullah was also a minister of planning and minister of labor in the PA, and is known to be close to Riyad al-Maliki.
- The current MAS director is former minister of planning Dr. Nabil Kassis.
Current members of the board include:
- Dr. Jawad Naji, minister of economy
- Dr. Jihad al-Wazir, governor and chairman of the board of the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA)
- Dr. Mohammad Mustafa, CEO of the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF) and economic adviser to Abbas. PIF is an “independent investment company, which aims to strengthen the local economy through key strategic investments, while maximizing long-run returns for its ultimate shareholder – the people of Palestine.157 PIF is also connected to the PA itself.158
- Dr. Sabri Saydam, telecommunications and information-technology adviser to Abbas, who was quoted as promoting boycotts against Israel using new technologies
It should also be noted that Ibrahim Dakkak, cofounder with Mustafa Barghouti of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI), is a past deputy head of MAS.
Fourth BNC Conference
The fourth BNC conference took place on June 18, 2013, at Bethlehem University, under a slogan that reinforced the stated goals of BDS: “Boycotting Israel and Opposing Normalization Contribute to Liberation, Return of Refugees, and Self-Determination.” According to a BNC report, “Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the PLO Executive Committee also took part in the conference, underlining official recognition of the BDS movement’s increasing clout and impact.”
This time “anti-normalization” is a specific theme that runs throughout the BDS campaign, which involves creating “public awareness” about “the criteria for boycott and anti-normalization,” in order to construct “a popular culture of boycott.” So central is the anti-normalization theme that “a response to those insisting on normalization” was developed.
The Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
PACBI was founded in 2004, with its most important European partner located in the UK – the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP). Following the 2008-09 Gaza war, the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI),159 and the French Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Troit International en Palestine (AURDIP)160 were also launched. In most cases, members of these umbrella organizations come from far-left circles; some of them are Jewish or former Israelis. PACBI was frequently represented at the BNC conferences by Dr. Gabi Baramki until his death in 2012.
PACBI has advocated a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions,
based on the premise that these institutions are complicit in the system of oppression that has denied Palestinians their basic rights guaranteed by international law. This position is in line with the authoritative call by the Palestinian Council for Higher Education (CHE) for non-cooperation in the scientific and technical fields between Palestinian and Israeli universities.161
PACBI notes that the April 2002 statement by 120 European academics and researchers urging the adoption of a moratorium on EU and European Science Foundation support for Israel was followed by a number of pro-boycott initiatives in the same year by academics in the United States, France, Norway, and Australia. Particularly noteworthy have been the annual congresses of UK academic unions, where boycott-related resolutions have been debated and passed since 2002. BRICUP has been instrumental in the ongoing struggle to popularize the academic boycott in the union movement in the UK and beyond.
According to PACBI, the 2008-09 Gaza war
served as a catalyst for further activism, and the period since then has witnessed a tremendous growth of initiatives in the spirit of BDS and targeting Israeli academic institutions. Such efforts have come from Australia, Canada, Ireland, Norway, Egypt, Sweden, Scotland, Lebanon, Spain, the United States, Italy and France, among others. Particularly encouraging has been the founding of the U.S. Campaign.162
PACBI’s definition of “normalization” of the relationship with Israel, in brief, consists of
participating in any project, initiative or activity whether locally or internationally, that is designed to bring together – whether directly or indirectly – Palestinian and/or Arab youth with Israelis (whether individuals or institutions) and is not explicitly designed to resist or expose the occupation and all forms of discrimination and oppression inflicted upon the Palestinian people.163
In November 2007, “An important milestone in building the global BDS campaign was achieved in Ramallah.”
Some 300 activists, members of unions, associations and NGOs in towns, villages and refugee camps of the occupied West Bank, with monitors from the global solidarity movement in Britain, Canada, Norway, Spain and South Africa, convened for a day of discussion and debate about ways to promote all forms of boycott against Israel among Palestinian community organizations, unions, as well as political, academic and cultural institutions.164
During this convention further strategies and goals were developed to widen BDS to other fields and new arenas. Alongside its detailed guidelines for an academic boycott, PACBI issued similar guidelines for a cultural boycott in July 2009. It is also worth noting that the central group initiating calls to artists coming to Israel to cancel their visit, the Israeli Boycott from Within, follows many of PACBI’s guidelines. Most of those involved in this group are activists against the “apartheid wall.”165
In September 2013, BRICUP and AURDIP organized a “Letter by academic researchers to the EU regarding the participation of Israeli settlements in EU research programs.” It was signed by more than five hundred European academics who urged the EU “not to water down its new guidelines preventing EU funding from being awarded to Israeli projects and entities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including eastern Jerusalem.”166 The letter was addressed to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
PACBI also operates through various student unions in the West. More than a few Muslim/Arab student umbrella organizations both in Europe and the United States are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Usually Israel Apartheid Week (IAW), one of the most important annual events in this field, brings speakers from the BDS movement along with far-left speakers. In 2014 IAW took place during March across Europe, the United States, South Africa, and Brazil.167
* * *
* Senior Research Associate: Arieh Kovler
7 Joel S. Fishman, “The BDS Message of Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism, and Incitement to Discrimination,” Israel Affairs, v. 18, n. 3 (July 2012):412-425.
10 This is the language of the part of the BDS movement that sees itself as an extension of the older “anti-normalization” movement of antipeace Arab states and Palestinian groups that opposed any normal relations with Israel.
11 Anthony Julius, Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England (OUP, 2010), p. 478.
12 Ibid., p. 479.
15 Gil Feiler, From Boycott to Economic Cooperation: The Political Economy of the Arab Boycott of Israel (Routledge, 1998).
16 Ibid. Thus the Arab boycott of Jews in Israel is older than the Nazi boycott of Jews in Germany, which began in 1933.
20 According to former U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos, “The Durban Debacle: An Insider’s View of the World Racism Conference at Durban,” Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Winter/Spring 2002.
21 Hamas’ call for “armed resistance” against Israel appears in the Hamas charter, see http://www.palestine-studies.org Fatah’s more nuanced declarations still call for Israel’s destruction. Fatah’s 6th Congress in Bethlehem in 2009 featured its internal-order document, which declared that, “The armed popular revolution is the only inevitable way to the liberation of Palestine,” and added that, “The struggle will not end until the elimination of the Zionist entity and the liberation of Palestine.” See http://jcpa.org/article/will-fatah-give-up-the-armed-struggle-at-its-sixth-general-congress/
22 Tom Lantos, “The Durban Debacle: An Insider’s View of the World Racism Conference at Durban,” Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Winter/Spring 2002.
32 The phrase “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” also appears in a January 2005 statement by organizations at the World Social Forum. That statement was partially drafted by organizations that went on to produce the July BDS call. See the section on the radical left in this study.
36 “Any person who: owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country,” UN Refugee Convention (1951), http://www.unhcr.org/3b66c2aa10.html
42 See, e.g., Palestinian Media Watch examples, ; http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=10725″ target=”_blank”>http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=2962 http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=10725
51 As’ad AbuKhalil, “Critique of Norman Finkelstein on BDS,” Al-Akhbar, February 2012, http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/4289
52 Salah Abdel Shafi, “Civil Society and Political Elites in Palestine and the Role of International Donors: A Palestinian View,” Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP), July 2004, p. 11, http://www.euromesco.net/euromesco/media/paper33_final.pdf
53 Maha Abu-Dayyeh, “NGOs in Palestine: An Ongoing Evolution of Palestinian Civil Society Organizations,” This Week in Palestine, No. 124, August 2008, http://www.thisweekinpalestine.com/details.php?id=2536&ed=156&edid=156
55 “Palestinian Opinions about Governance, Institutions and Political Leaders: Synthesis of Results of Fafo’s Opinion Polls in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, 2005–2011,” http://www.fafo.no/pub/rapp/10130/10130.pdf
57 Cited in ibid.
62 See, for example, his participation in a Palestine Solidarity Campaign rally in London in 2003,http://www.palestinemonitor.org; Mustafa Barghouti is a regular attendee at the previously referred to annual Palestinians in Europe conferences, and also participated in preparatory meetings for the “Global March to Jerusalem”; see http://www.aljazeera.net/news/pages/674970c1-84b9-49e2-a900-2685599ea749
68 Abbas afterward retracted this statement.
103 Manfred Gerstenfeld, “The Academic Boycott Against Israel,” Jewish Political Studies Review 15:3-4, 2003, http://www.jcpa.org/phas/phas-gersten-f03.htm
113 Ash-Sharq al-Awsat (London), December 12, 2001.
116 “Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA),” Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, August 2011, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/17858
119 Anthony Julius, Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England (OUP, 2010), p. 478.
120 Ibid., p. 479.
121 Fundamental Agreement between Israel and the Holy See, http://mfa.gov.il
125 Sabeel Easter message, 2001.
132 “Seizing the Mandate: Boycotting Products from the Illegal Settlements,” United Methodist Kairos Response, https://www.kairosresponse.org/Boycott.html
138 STUC General Council Delegation to Palestine and Israel 2009, Delegation Report, p. 29,
161 “PACBI Guidelines for the International Academic Boycott of Israel,” revised in August 2010, http://pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1108
163 “Palestinian youth united against normalization with Israel,” April 28, 2010, fn. 1,
164 “The Campaign for the Boycott of Israel will re-vitalize popular resistance and restore dignity to the Palestinian people,” November 22, 2007, http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=635
166 “500 European Academics urge EU to maintain stance on Israeli settlements,” September 15, 2013, http://www.imemc.org/article/66119
About the Author
Dan Diker is a research fellow of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at IDC
Herzliya and a foreign policy fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is a
former secretary-general of the World Jewish Congress where he co-founded the Global
Coalition for Israel, a private-public partnership with the Israeli government to combat
the delegitimization of Israel and the Jewish people. Diker earned his BA cum laude from
Harvard University and an MA in Government and Counter-Terrorism summa cum laude
from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Israel. Currently he is Middle East analyst and
host of “National Security” on the Voice of Israel radio network.
What Is BDS?
The Radical Roots of BDS
Behind the Contemporary BDS Campaign: The 2005 “Civil Society” Boycott Call and the BDS National Committee
The Extremist Goals of the BDS Movement
Other Partners of the BDS Movement
BDS Modus Operandi: Targeting Liberal and Progressive Critics of Israel
Mapping the Key Organizations and Players of the BDS Movement
Addendum – BNC Conferences and PACBI
About the Author