By  Alexandra Markus and SSI National Board. 

Being a Pro Israel leader on campus isn't easy, fact to the matter is that today, many students do not see the large picture and speak out against Israel in the name of "justice". Since 2001 a national student movement called of Students for Justice in Palestine has been trying to bring BDS to campuses and universities across North America, facing no opposition in a shape of a Pro Israel student movement. Today, Students Supporting Israel has over 45 campuses across North America, and five Pro Israel resolutions were passed in student governments led by SSI members on their campuses. SJP and BDS activists need to know that they will be hold accountable for their actions.  Here are ten reasons to why BDS is bad for everyone, and we will fight it on every SSI campuses.  


1. BDS burns bridges instead of building them.

Instead of promoting coexistence, it creates rift by silencing Israelis across the political spectrum, even Israelis who oppose Israel's policies. By isolating Israel from the international arena, BDS prevents any efforts or momentum for coexistence by effectively demonizing one side, making negotiation and finding common ground impossible. Shutting down dialogue moves us further away from peace.


2. BDS incites and propagates a never-ending cycle of violence

In the most recent intifada in Israel almost every day Palestinian terrorists hunt for random Jews to stab, any Jew will do, killing more than 30 and injuring hundreds in just the past four months. This intifada of random murder in the streets is excused and supported by JVP and SJP who call it "resistance," and "justified." The murderers are often teenagers influenced by incitement propaganda taught in schools and in media directed at Palestinian youth. We believe BDS bolsters this intifada movement, teaching Palestinians that violence is an effective means to get the world on your side.


3. BDS exacerbates corruption, to the detriment of Palestinians

The leaders of the Palestinian Authority are not interested in peace. They have frequently declined negotiations with Israel and even turned down several generous two-state offers, including one that offered them Jerusalem. Hamas, Fatah, and other Palestinian leadership groups profit from the conflict, collecting billions in foreign aid enriching themselves in the process while keeping the Palestinian people in poverty, using them as pawns to perpetuate this profitable cycle. Palestinians are the only multigenerational refugees in the world, considered refugees even if they get citizenship elsewhere, and it seems that their leaders are interested in keeping them that way. It’s yet another weapon to use against Israel.


4. BDS is a violation of indigenous rights.

The Martinez-Cobo definition of indigenous supported by the U.N., defines indigenous status as referring to the land where the genesis of a culture, which includes a common language, history, religion, tradition, and legal system, occurred. According to this definition, Jews are indigenous to the land of Israel, and Arabs ("Palestinians") are indigenous to the Hejaz Peninsula, which includes Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

5. BDS is bad for the Palestinian economy

The factories located in the disputed territories that are boycotted by BDS employ Palestinian workers who are paid several times more than local Palestinian wages. BDS hurts Palestinians the most, exacerbating the economic situation in these territories.


6. BDS is based on an inaccurate historical narrative.

The three points highlighted by ApartheidDivest are not only based on false premises, they are  historically inaccurate. First of all, Ehud Olmert already made the same two-state solution ApartheidDivest are alluding to in 2008, but the Palestinian Authority Leader Mahmoud Abbas rejected it. The Arabs fought the Jews before the Jews had Jerusalem (1967), before the  “Occupation” (1967), before the “Settlements” (1968), and before the Wall (built in 2007), making these three grievances red herrings. Second, Israeli Jews and Arabs are already legally equal, with one exception: Arabs do not have to serve in the military giving them a two to three-year head start at life. Although in practice, systematic inequality does exist, Israel does its best to address these inequalities, while the Palestinian Authority has insisted on ethnically cleansing its land of Jews, making renting and selling land to Jews punishable by death. Third, extending the right of return to Arabs would result in Arabs outnumbering Jews. As such, Israel will cease to exist as a Jewish State and safe haven for the Jewish People, a status it has been granted by law.


7.  BDS violates New York Law.

The State of New York recognizes the serious problems inherent in BDS, and as a result, has made it illegal. As a result, any efforts to divest from Israel in the State of New York are classified under discrimination on the basis of national origin, and therefore have no leg to stand on, making ApartheidDivest's campaign an exercise in futility.


8. BDS distorts international law

Israel strictly adheres to international law. Click here for more detailed information.


9. BDS is racist.

We strongly believe that BDS is anti-semitic, as per the State Department’s definition, for holding the world's only Jewish nation to a double standard and constantly singling it out. Their professed love for Palestinians is selective, emerging only when it can be used to bash Israel. They go silent when Palestinians are murdered en masse in Syria.


10. BDS creates an unsafe space.

University campuses pride themselves on its diverse student body. Jewish and Israeli students have historically formed an important part of this diversity. Supporters of the BDS movement have interrupted the free flow of ideas by shouting down Israeli and Jewish speakers, occasionally even harming them physically. The rise of this anti-Semitic movement makes Jewish students feel threatened on campus, and erodes any semblance of a safe space.


As seen above, BDS, a movement founded by Omar Barghouti who is, hypocritically, doing his PhD at an Israeli University, only does harm to both Israelis and Palestinians, and has no tangible benefits. BDS hurts the Palestinian economy, promotes violence rather than empowerment, and upholds a corrupt regime that only perpetuates the suffering of the Palestinian people for political gain. BDS clearly opposes negotiation, the most reasonable road to peace and shuts down discourse that contributes to scientific and artistic progress. This is an affront to academic freedom, which prevents the Israeli ideas from reaching overseas, and makes Israeli students and professors feel unsafe on campuses. 


We Student Supporting Israel are an international movement comprised of many nationalities, religious backgrounds, ethnicities, gender identities, and sexual orientations. We have one thing in common: we support the right of the State of Israel to exist as a Jewish State, in peace and security.


The BDS movement runs counter to our SSI values of plurality, safety, and academic freedom. SSI National wishes to preserve these values, and therefore will not back down in our opposition to this highly problematic movement.


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