The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement implicates the best hope in achieving peace in the world’s Holy Land. This movement was initially launched in 2005 against Israel. It had gained momentum as a result of the UN’s World Conference Against Racism (2001) and the Second Intifada of 2000. Report on struggles among trade unions and corporate boardrooms, culture facts, and BDS’ “academic jihad” against Israel was tabled in an effort to gain religious support for BDS. This movement is claimed to be peaceful with an objective of “disciplinary economic means” for Israel to rectify the violation of human rights in the Palestinian territories. However, realism indicates that the BDS movement is a way to combat the violent strategy of Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian “rejectionist” who are against keeping peace with Israel for decades. BDS is trapped in criticism of Israeli policies that matches Natan Sharansky’s “3Ds” test for anti-Semitism. First, Israel is criticized for double standards for ignoring human rights abuses in the Muslim world and beyond. Second, demonization of Israel – comparing Jewish State’s action with South Africa’s Apartheid regime or the Nazis. Third, delegitimization that indicates the fundamental right to exist for Israel is denied.
The BDS movement restrains its programmatic dedication to offering the right of return to millions of Palestinians who claim refugee status. It allegedly claims rights of certain wrongs done to Palestinians yet the foundations of Israel’s economy are at stake making the Israelis collectively guilty. The movement is strengthened by a one-sided historical narrative denying responsibilities and destroying the chances for peace and reconciliation for the Islamic states. BDS utilizes Christian supersessions theological claiming that the divine favor of the Jews and Israel is lost, thus, they have no legitimate historical claim of the Holy Land.
Building and strengthening the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement has created a global diversity of opinions between nations and religious groups on its involvement in solidarity work for Palestine. This paper assesses the current BDS movement on addressing social justice organizations, civil society levels, and intentions of the creation of global networks based on the Evangelical Christian Community morals. The effective powers of this movement weaken the predominance of an assemblage of Israel-Palestine public discourses. My argument is based on unsupportive morals of the BDS movement towards fighting for the human rights that are outlined by the Christian Community. The paper presents the general view of BDS movement in various countries and religious group engaging and advocating for economic measures against Israel or Israel-related organizations and individuals. This leads to a subject of debate on the BDS activities.
Campaigns launched by the societies that demand “divestment” of the church, municipal, unions, and company investment portfolios advocates the assertion that it “aids Israel’s occupation” and, thus, has led to the boycott of Israel products, academic institutions, professionals, and artistic performances globally. Therefore, this does not support Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and thus, no solution to the existing conflict. Particularly, in the United States, these campaigns largely fail to create positive public relations as there is a large Jewish population, which is part of the Evangelical Christian Community. In major institutions such as universities, graduate student unions that support divestment, their efforts are nullified by the International Union. These campaigns increasingly have a negative impact on the perception of Israel, thus, used by anti-Israel activists to create attention to their delivery message. My argument on BDS movement goals is that they object in denying the Jewish people the universal right of self-determination. Most of these strategies used by BDS activists and campaigns are clearly anti-Semitic. The drive to the opposition of existence of Israel as a Jewish state is a factor that triggers these campaigns. BDS movement campaigns have led to increased tension in communities – mostly learning institutions – thus, has resulted in intimidation or harassment of Jewish and Israel supporters over their anti-Semitic acts and expressions. The dynamic nature created where antisemitism can be freely expressed has caused violent Christian communities.
BDS movement fails to uphold context-specific and moral consistency strategies. This relay the BDS call on international initiatives and Palestinians in divesting and boycotting Israel. The overriding principles identified in the global BDS movement on the moral consistency and commitment to human rights was based on the gradualness, sustainability, and sensitivity. Conscientious intellectuals, civil societies, and human rights activists have failed to recognize these principles making the BDS ineffective in taking constraints and potential considerations. A civil society forum held in Bilbao, Spain, in November 2008 endorsed recommendations such as the progressive boycott of Israeli products and services until Israel complies with the international law, promoting academic and cultural boycotts and implementation of ethic investments on a trade that diversified Israel bonds from banks, companies, and other financial institutions. These recommendations are against Christianity thus resulted in a Major Christian Palestinian document by the Palestine Kairos group that spread a slogan “to say a word of truth and to take a position of truth.” This document endorses the tools of peace, security, and justice that the BDS fail to substantially fulfill. The global BDS campaign fails to call upon the treatment of Israel equal to other states that have similar violation and crimes of international law. These movements have led to Israel enjoying its impunity and exceptionalism as it pursues ethnic cleansing, agenda of apartheid, and slow-genocide of the Palestine indigenous people with no regard of the international law or even the consequences of violation of human rights. A recent slogan used by the Jewish intellectuals “Never Again!” has led to critics of the BDS movement as the phrase is understood to mean: never again to anyone. The western civil society has embraced the BDS movement largely, thus, carries a unique responsibility for Israel’s action in the future. Moral responsibility has profoundly created deep complicity in using the BDS. This has led to several Arab regimes colluding with the agenda implementation between the United States and Israel.
Collusion and Moral Duty
The common interest that exists between the responsibility of promoting the BDS campaign and the collusion and moral duty fails to exist. This is because the Western states that fund the endless wars of Israel and the apartheid system tend to spend billions of dollars every year leaving their citizens with inadequate health care, substandard housing, and poor education among other problems. Human and material resources are directed to the progressive transformation of the European Union (EU) and the United States, thus, their priorities shift to imperial authority and wars on the international portfolio. Investing in a conducive school system, proper housing, universal health care, development, and job creation are merits the west governments should offer its citizen instead of investing in graft wars caused by the BDS campaigns. My opinion is that the global BDS movement in accordance with the Evangelical Christian Community view does not represent the moral, non-violent resistance, anti-racist, and sustainable campaign for Palestinian human rights. Instead, the BDS movement has become a key political catalyst, thus, the rule of law, the reaffirmation of human rights to equality, freedom, and distinguished living have been politicized rather than implemented. The BDS movement has also promoted ethical excursion to Holy Land by denying the Israelis its lucrative revenues, apartheid institutions, and airlines, thus, benefiting the Palestinians restaurants, hotels, and coach services. Application of domestic and international law has undermined the regional and local governments as “grave misconduct” at the human rights level by public contract companies led them to be prohibited. According to the Goldstone report, which was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council, Israel was isolated and, thus, was held fully accountable for its crime against humanity and other war crimes. This BDS movement is subjected to triggering war and not creating peace and reconciliation between Israel and Palestine.
Christian Legal Society
In Christian Legal Society, the BDS movement created divisions among student groups based on the benefits of recognition (certain groups that were recognized could easily receive financial assistance for their school events). I agree with the Supreme Court in the United States on stopping the Christian Legal Society on amending the law in the school’s nondiscrimination policy that limited the membership to only Christians. This move is purposed on supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement, which is acceptable according to the Evangelical Christian Community’s morals. Applying the Supreme Court’s reasoning of this case in a present context, federal funding could be restricted to only BDS activity thus there would be no motivation reference in restricting a fund beneficial to expressing an opinion and speaking about boycotts on Israel. This reasoning offers freedom to citizens on speaking out their beliefs about Israel policies, and thus, reducing the economic pressure on the state. Actions against discriminating people associated with Israel should be taken under the law. It is unconstitutional to restrict funds with the aim of suppressing individuals or private parties. Since the BDS activity is constitutionally protected, the government should use its power to restrict federal funds to directly benefit the BDS activities, provided conditions on fund uses are relevant to federal interest and, thus, do not burden private speech.
Durban Declaration and Programme of Action
Studying the conceptual framework of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action adopted in 2001. This world conference provided a framework on the fight against racism and racial discrimination of Palestine, thus, aiming at reversing and eliminating the consequences by providing a lasting solution for colonial conflict over the region. This framework motivated the BDS movement as the principles of self-determination and equal rights were reaffirmed. Awareness of these moral commitments to Palestine victims of colonialism, genocide, and apartheid triggered effective and appropriate measures that had lasting consequences since in an effort to create the BDS campaigns, war erupted. Emphasizing on facts or truth about causes, consequences of crime, nature, and history constitutes the international reconciliation based on inequality and injustice. BDS movements do not provide recommendations or solutions on the cause or source of the trouble to the Palestine people. Nevertheless, operative recommendations in the Durban Programme of Action are termed as ineffective by the victims whose human rights have been violated. With regard to the Palestinians, these forums are considered meaningless since there is a lack of relative sources on racial discrimination against them. In an Evangelical Christian community view, the BDS campaigns of peace initiatives of the United Nations and the states have led to ignorance and dismissal of the role of racism in causing warfare in Palestine and, thus, blaming Israel as a root cause. The adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action has influenced Israel’s military aggression against Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. The arrangements for Palestine self-rule has been erased by the aggressive military campaign. This has been referred to as collective retribution of Civilian population “prelude to genocide.” BDS movement is held responsible for these actions of Israel.
The Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement has led to discrimination of Palestinian citizens in all aspects of life including the Expropriation of land they own through “development” of discriminative policies of resource allocation. This included increasing the Jewish population of Galilee and Naqab (Negev). Development plans are accompanied by house demolition and segregation in a case where 3,000 inhabitants of Jaffa – a historic Palestinian town were affected. The inherited practice of early Zionist movement and racist ideology by the state of Israel led to the advantageous interest of the dominant Israelis and the indigenous Palestinians had an inferior status, thus, were oppressed systematically. BDS movement has caused deprival access to basic needs such as education, water, health services, and proper housing to the Palestinian citizens of Israel. In the pretext of discriminatory plans, more checkpoints have been established by the Israeli that limits the freedom of movement for the Palestinians. In mid-2007, a publication indicated more than 1.5 million Palestinians who lived in the Gaza strip were segregated economically, socially, physically, and politically as a result of Israel colonialism. Torture and other forms of ill-treatment were part of the Palestinians’ misery as the victims were denied effective remedies by Israel’s judiciary. Palestinians civilians were killed and injured with impunity as documented by the human rights organization. BDS movement campaigns are responsible for this impunity, which is against the Evangelical Christian Community’s moral values. The strategic call for a comprehensive BDS campaign by the Palestinian refugees and citizens of Israel, has promoted further inequality to these citizens as still, they are under colonization.
The BDS Call
The Israel’s “essential nature” is indeed challenged by the BDS as it’s based on civil resistance to the Palestinian Civil Society Campaign and the Zionist settler colonialism. A new phase of resistance to Israel dispossession, occupation, and apartheid against indigenous Palestine has been qualitatively ushered. In the process of dealing with the discourse question of Palestine, the exceptionalism and double standard nature of how the United States and other states treated the Israeli is exposed. The BDS call was signed by over 170 Palestinian; political parties, mass movements, organizations, and trade union federations. It expressed only the Palestinian’ aspirations without involving the Israelis in the demands they set, thus, the movement is a failure since it was one-party sided. The Palestinian policy of transcending and reducing rights under Israel’s overall control failed since the incessant concessions are based on leadership over basic rights. Therefore, the democratic mandate of the Palestinian officials was undermined since economic interests, trappings of power, and privilege dominates the U.S.-Israeli design for “peace process.” The BDS movement tends to indirectly legitimize the Israeli apartheid, and abandon the moral high ground as it accepts the proportion between the “claims of both sides” and plays according to Israel’s public relations campaign that highly affects its colonial conflict with the Palestinian people. The movement ceases to insist on the necessity of including irreducible rights and legal solution as it presents a platform that fails to unify the Palestinian accelerating division on the principles of equal rights, freedom, and justice upheld by the civil rights societies in the United States. BDS movement drags well-financed lobby groups of Israel and state of Israel into a battlefield where moral clarity in the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality by the Palestinian is outweighed by the financial prowess and Israel’s military power. Generally, BDS is “right over might” paradigm that increasingly recognizes the impunity and criminality of Israel.
Impacts of the BDS movement
The unambiguous invitation to Israelis to support the BDS call is an important component of the BDS. However, the pressurized efforts of the international community to boycotting and putting sanctions on Israel’s product and services play a part on the failure to end the criminal impunity and apartheid. The intense impact of BDS on the Western mainstream leaves the Jewish-Israeli supporters in mixed versions of the BDS calls. Different opinions of the movement have undermined the Palestinian leadership as the reference and BDS calls for the global movement. Palestinians objectives of the unwarranted agency, salvaging their lost, inflated sense of entitlement and anticipating challenges to Israel’s apartheid system ideologically motivated the agendas. Generally, solidarity movements only follow and recognize the oppressed asserting their rights and aspiration to strategize.
The BDS movement has tarnished the era of corporate social responsibility due to its bad publicity to various businesses tied to Israel’s roots. It has frustrated Palestine performers and artists who are in Israeli institutions as their human rights are violated. The movement has brought chaos to local councils and courts over the legality of local boycotts to Israel’s products and services. Debates have been ignited in protestant churches in the U.S., which are divested from Israel’s occupation as liberals are motivated to support the Palestinians. The BDS movement compels critical supporters of Israel to justify non-violent pressure on the state. The Middle East peace process diplomatic missions and nonprofit organization, therefore, undermines the central premise of ending Israel’s occupation of Gaza, leaving rights of Palestinians refugees and indigenous Israel citizens unaddressed.
Diaspora Jews term the BDS movement as evil and source of anxiety in transforming Israel-Palestine debate on the division of territory and end of occupation on the basis of conflict’s old and deep roots. In my opinion, the BDS movement has triggered unanswered questions on the legitimacy of Zionism, and on the method to justify privileges of Jewish over non-Jewish rights. Since the early days of Zionism, the Jews and Arabs have had boycott history, thus, the BDS movement triggers the initial boycotts as the waged campaigns were to reject Arab produce and dismiss Arabs from Jewish residential communities. The Palestine Arab Congress of 1922 that called upon the boycott of Jewish products led to Israeli occupying Gaza and West Bank in 1967. The acts of civil disobedience were accompanied by curfews, arrests, fines, travel restrictions, and deportation of professionals such as lawyers and teachers of Palestine ethnicity. The BDS call remains a challenge to the Israelis and Palestinian leadership as it created political pragmatism and international pressure. Palestinians freedom created by the BDS movement tends to be insubstantial as the citizenship and equal rights are based on one state. Using this weakness of the BDS movement, Israel was threatening a two-state solution and taking measures that undermined Palestinians rights. The two-state solution is a racist proposal that preserves a Jewish ethnic majority and, thus, discriminates non-Jews.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict weakens humanity’s faith in peace as it takes the perspective of different national, cultural, and academic expressions. The BDS movement has grown in Latin America due to the economic, political, and cultural global influence that has led to the United States shifting its attention to the Middle East for the last two decades. This has directly affected the tax-paying citizens as finances have been used to support the warfare. Socially, families have lost their loved ones in the military while marriage break-ups have been rampant. In an Evangelical Christian community view, the BDS movement has negatively affected the living standards of people and has led them turning to evil ways such as committing suicides and divorces. The colonial social structures affected by the BDS movement play a vital role in the fragmentation of societies. The legacies of exploitation, hegemony, and racism have affected the way people regard each other in a way information dissemination and academic discourse are generally conducted globally. The BDS movement has the most powerful symbolic and visual reminder of inequality and discrimination since the Israeli established a wall and increased checkpoints. This has changed the perception of a foreigner in the Israel soil and over time designated a threatening category that couples the nationalism and state sovereignty making the border control mention of “foreigner” as an outsider. These walls contribute to denying people access to healthcare services, workplaces, and eventually the division of the family. As stated above, the walls obstruct access to vital services and have caused great harm to pregnant Palestinian women as they are held up for a long period of time in checkpoints. Complications in childbirth that includes miscarriages and death of mothers and babies are caused by these delays.
Initially, the grassroots of the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) was the Apartheid Wall. However, due to the intensive campaigns, the perception and discourse are changing globally. The Palestinian state has with time turned to ghettos due to euphoria and glow of Oslo that has led to Israel continuously building settlements in the land of the Palestinians. The BDS call, which was a revolutionary struggle for self-determination, equity, and liberation seems meaningless as there are still pressures in the renunciation of refugee human rights and in the process fragments the society. There is no root understanding of this struggle established in the BDS movement as it remains a struggle based on expulsion, racism, and colonialism. Even the solidarity groups and activists lack the convincing power on the “conventional claims” they perceive on the movement. This movement on the basis of answering the crucial question on cooperation and coordination lacks its worthiness. Initial achievements of the BDS work are based on uncertainty, high media profile, and ambiguity. Diversity in the BDS movement is justified using ethical arguments, thus, its solidarity strategy hurts the economy of the states. The prolonged action results in less profitability among the businesses. Differences have arisen due to the solidarity’s inequalities that capture the context on asymmetrical trade markets, colonialism, and globalization. The BDS movement has considerable scrutiny on issues of poverty, occupation, and oppression in its role of the northern movements. The considered disparities between individuals or organizations do not result in strategizing or bettering the decision-making process, thus, challenging the status quo. Agendas that are pursued by external organizations on the BDS movement to the majority provide extensive disparities for global relations.
Basing my argument on the Evangelical Christian Community, the Boycott, Diversity and Sanction (BDS) fails to uphold the moral values and has resulted in social, economic, and political divisions. Questions regarding its future possibilities to provide opportunities and offer freedom to Palestine are still at stake. The effectiveness of the movement cannot be estimated as it has influenced a discourse and wider popular opinions. The aspirations of sharing a vision of change and transformation pursued by the BDS movement lacks clarity on its ambitions. Additionally, the lessons learned as a result of the Boycott, Diversity and sanction (BDS) movement should be evaluated to ensure that no state, individual, academic, or religious groups are oppressed. This can be pursued by identifying the goals of solving conflicts and effectively implementing better solutions.
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Declaration, Durban. “Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference against Racism.” Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (2001).
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