What is the BDS Movement? | Behold Israel

What is the BDS Movement?

Some facts about the BDS Movement as more companies, unions, organizations and support grow internationally to boycott, divest and place sanctions on the State of Israel


Many of you have been asking with all of the news of the BDS movement, and the increasing number of supporters it has been gaining internationally, what is the BDS movement exactly?

If you have been reading the news yesterday or today, you can see what the BDS movement is clearly: it is the organized, anti-Israel agenda that is most widely spreading through its gain of media exposure and supporters mainly in North America and Europe.

The “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” Movement officially claims that the movement is created as a “global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005, and is coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), established in 2007. BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.”

However the beginnings of BDS started in 2001 during the “Durban strategy” which was adopted following the UN Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, and as history tells, hatred towards the State of Israel has existed since far before.

As co-founder of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) Omar Barghouti stated in 2004,“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.”

With over 170 endorsements from various Palestinian movements and organizations, the movement is not only a Palestinian movement but one that is plaguing universities, political parties, leadership and unions and audiences worldwide. While it is not an established organization, it is run and funded by NGO’s and activists.

BDS claims three international law violations as its main agenda for the movement. The movement officially names those three objectives and violations as:

  1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality
  3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

The movement advocates for a Palestinian “Law of Return”, calling for Palestinian refugees the same right as Jews to immigrate to Israel. The movement also sees the State of Israel as an apartheid state and any and all Israelis living in the West Bank as settlers and occupiers.

The movement’s main economic strategies have been to gradually advocate and pass for boycott or labeling of Israeli products from the West Bank, several cases of goods in Europe labeled or boycotted as “from occupied territories of Palestine”. The movement is focused on the boycott of Israeli goods, academia, sport and culture.

It claims that Israel is an apartheid state and that “economic pressure and the power of public opinion that is generated by a wide-scale international boycott is immense” citing F.W. de Klerk who “wrote that the boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign against apartheid South Africa led to a 1.5% decline in national economic growth.”

Additionally, it sees the IDF not as a defensive army, but an army used to occupy and maintain “Israeli control” of the region.

The BDS movement refers to Israel’s creation and presence in Palestinian territories as “colonization, apartheid and occupation” constantly referring and comparing Jewish immigration and the creation of the State of Israel as to that of European colonization.