A version of this article appeared in JNS on February 1, 2023.
The Palestinian Authority, PLO and Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) recently called “on the peoples of the world and their democratic and progressive forces” to actively participate in the BDS Movement against Israel and to demand “the dismantling of Israel’s regime.”
Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, a senior project manager at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) and ex-head of the IDF Military Intelligence research division, told JNS that “the communique calls for the direct destruction of Israel and praises terrorism.”
Kuperwasser explained that “BDS wanted to be seen not as an official government organization, but rather as a grassroots movement.” He also noted “that in BDS, there are also many actors from very different political groups, and not all of them support the P.A.”
Dan Diker, president of the JCPA and a former secretary general of the World Jewish Congress, told JNS concerning BDS that “a lot of civil society groups surrounding the Palestinian issue are really political groups with radical agendas that are linked to terror groups.”
Diker said that the P.A. has sought to maintain a cautious approach to the BDS movement. The P.A. has been concerned about its relationship with Israel and other key international actors.
“The Palestinian Authority is playing a double game…. They have security cooperation with Israel and they receive money from Israel. They can’t openly boycott Israel because they would just be shooting themselves in the head,” he said.
Even though the P.A. and the BDS National Committee do not normally openly cooperate, experts say they have had a discreet relationship for a long time. According to Diker, cooperation between the P.A. and the BNC “is an old trend.”
Kuperwasser agrees, saying “there is hidden cooperation because the common goal of all of them is to struggle against Zionism…. What brings them together is a shared goal of the destruction of Israel.”
Kuperwasser explained that the representative of the Islamic Nation Coordination Community, a pan-Palestinian political coordination organization, to the BNC is a member of Fatah, an organization that controls the P.A.
According to Diker, “The P.A. and BDS have been cooperating closely for nearly 20 years.”
He added that BDS is “linked to PLO terror groups so designated by the United States and Europe.”
Kuperwasser added that “BDS believes that they can represent themselves as morally sophisticated and moderate because BDS is not about direct use of force, whereas in fact, BDS is just a complementary tool to the use of force.”
Diker said, “The P.A. won’t stop security coordination with Israel as they would be shooting themselves in the head. The PA security apparatus depends on security cooperation to keep them safe from enemies like Hamas and Islamic Jihad.”