As the BDS movement is currently marking ten years since its founding, there have been a number of articles outlining its history. At the popular Legal Insurrection blog, William A. Jacobson offers sharp criticism of a related and widely distributed article by the Associated Press (AP). Rejecting the AP claim that the BDS movement owes its existence to the efforts of “a small group of Palestinian activists” who “had a novel idea,” Jacobson makes the case that in reality, BDS “was the result of a multi-year organized effort for a global boycott of Israel, most prominently in a boycott call issued at the 2001 UN Durban Conference which was so anti-Semitic the U.S. walked out.” Moreover, Jacobson points out that “[while] the Durban conference gave birth to the BDS movement, the seed of that boycott strategy to replicate the boycott of South Africa was planted at a preparatory conference in Tehran.”
The BDS movement that targets Israel with boycotts, divestments and sanctions likes to claim that it fights for freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians. Idealistic young people on campus will easily be attracted by this message, even though it is an all too fitting coincidence that the acronym BDS could also stand for bigoted double standards.