March 27, 2015

With constant news of American and Canadian university student groups promoting boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) of the State of Israel, one would wonder, what are those Israelis always up to?

The BDS movement pushes to educate university students, otherwise unaware of world issues, of their version of world issues. Through showing vivid imagery of the destruction and civilian deaths of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the BDS movement aims to paint Israel as a violent, oppressive bully, guilty of practicing religious apartheid. Furthermore, BDS prompters suggest that Israeli’s are occupying stolen Palestinian land, and refuse to accept the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

What are the actual facts?

Firstly, with regards to the claims of the illegal Israeli occupation of land. A Palestinian state has historically never existed. Palestinians were the people living in the land that had been taken by the British Empire from the Ottomans after the First World War. This region, known as Palestine, was home to both Jewish and Arab immigrants. In 1947, the United Nations sanctioned what would be the original borders of the State of Israel.

Immediately following the creation of the Jewish State, surrounding Arab nations did not accept its right to exist. Thus attacking it relentlessly. Since its creation, the territorial gains made by Israel were due to self-defense from Arab attacks. In 1967, Israel was attacked from all sides by Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. Over the course of what would later be called the Six Day War, Israel took control over a large territory of land including the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Since then, a peaceful two-state solution has been proposed between the Palestinian Arabs and Israel. In the two-state solution, the Palestinians would be given the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

In 2005, Israel withdrew its forces from the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians held an election, bringing to power Hamas, an Islamic militant group. Hamas, considered to be a terrorist organization, calls for the destruction of Israel and the extermination of the Jewish people in its Charter. Hamas fires rockets into Israel from heavily populated Palestinian areas in order to maximize their own casualties. The motivation of which is to vilify Israel in the media.

Since then U.S. President Barack Obama demanded that Israel end its military occupation of the West Bank and return to its 1967 borders. Outraged, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded, stating that with current animosity in surrounding Arab states towards the Jewish people, the withdrawal from the West Bank would only result in Israel being left with indefensible borders. All evidence points to the West Bank becoming a second Gaza Strip.

Why is BDS targeting Israel?

The BDS movement accuses Israel of human rights violations, and practicing “religious apartheid”. Israel’s population is approximately 20% Muslim. In Israel, there are over 350 Mosques in which the respective Muslims are free to practice their own religion free of persecution. Furthermore, Israel has a small Christian population, who are also free to practice their faith in their respective Churches. Capital punishment in Israel is only allowed during wartime. It is only applicable to convictions of war crimes, treason, and genocide. Finally, LGBT rights in Israel are by far the most advanced in the Middle East.
In retrospect, in Saudi Arabia, it is illegal to practice a religion that is not Islam. Apostasy and blasphemy under Islamic Sharia Law are punishable by death. Non-Muslims living in Islamic nations, i.e. Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, etc. are required to pay a special tax. In the majority of Middle Eastern countries, LGBT rights are virtually non-existent, homosexuality is a crime punishable by death. Iran, the largest state sponsor of terrorism, has publicly stated their willingness to wipe Israel off the map.

What has BDS accomplished so far?

Besides making Jewish students feel unwelcome and contributing to a rise of anti-Semitism on university and college campuses, the BDS movement has thus far had no impact on the Israeli economy. One company whose profits saw a drop following the rise of BDS was SodaStream. The company closed its factory in the West Bank and moved to Israel, costing hundreds of Palestinians their jobs, which actually paid almost 5 times more than the average wage in the area. Palestinian newspapers have hailed Israeli employers for providing excellent working conditions and wages for Palestinians in the West Bank.

What is the purpose of BDS? Why does BDS single out Israel? What possible reason is there that the only Jewish state in the world, the only democratic state in the Middle East is the one who’s right to exist is questioned, or even denied. The answer is that the BDS movement is a disgusting manifestation of age-old anti-Semitism. The very same anti-Semitism which plagues the Middle East today, holding back any possibility for a peaceful two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.