In the summer issue of Democracy Journal, David Greenberg reviews “The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel,” edited by Cary Nelson & Gabriel Noah Brahm. Greenberg highlights that this volume “encompasses a broad range of opinions, with left-leaning contributors (Michael Bérubé, Martha Nussbaum, Mitchell Cohen) nestled alongside right-leaning ones (Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, Richard Landes). The contributors’ differences suggest a raucous seminar more than a manifesto, and the diversity of opinion stands as a refreshing counterpoint to the propagandistic nature of so much literature on both the BDS left and the chauvinistic pro-Israel right.”
In an op-ed published by The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Palestinian human rights activist and political commentator Bassem Eid outlines “The Palestinian Case Against BDS.” Eid emphasizes that “[as] a Palestinian dedicated to working for peace and reconciliation between my people and our Israeli neighbors, I do not believe that the BDS advocates are helping our cause. On the contrary, they are just creating more hatred, enmity, and polarization.”
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.