Antisemitism, albeit has taken the new form of Anti-Zionism - so is the rhetoric - in recent years, has not in any way become more preponderant. In fact it has always been here. The difference remains in the fact that it it exhibited in many different ways as the proclivities of the times change. Why has there been a rise in antisemitism on some American and Canadian campuses? It might have something to do with a lot of ‘progressive’ students, not informing themselves about particular issues, such as Israel, past their social media feeds.


Yet, when swastikas appear on campuses, followed by BDS hate propaganda, and even violence directed at pro-Israel speakers it is time to question why is it that people’s antisemitism is resurfacing, and what makes it so acceptable?

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The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement which has again propped up in recent news stories has been condemned by numerous political figures, and more importantly that of my own country’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau. The BDS movement is not only virulently anti-semitic, but has no place on the campus colleges, and political floors of liberal nations. It is the materialization of hate, thoroughly extracted and rooted in the anti-semitism that has been existent for centuries.

The rather laconic and egregious aims of the BDS movement which has called for the boycott of academia, as well as business, trade and cultural transmission with Israel is in fact not different in pattern and framework from the means by which anti-semitism progressed in the 1930’s across places such as Romania and Germany. The utter reality is that although individuals can wish to say whatever they want, the fact that they lobby governments to uphold their xenophobic policies is absurd.

The boycott of Jewish businesses, the removal of Jews from academic settings, their firing from a milieu of jobs, their cultural and religious isolation as a people are all things that occurred in the most virulently anti-semitic pre-war nations. The difference is that BDS is that it is calling for invariably the same objectives, except this time it is aimed at a nation-state: Israel.



The BDS movement wishes to apply pressure on Israeli academia by promoting for all academics to cut off Israeli universities, thus inhibiting the essential process of academic of transmission, building relations, and sharing ideas and knowledge. It is in my stringent opinion, that to block academic extrapolation and development between disciplines and different universities around the world is the materialization of backward thinking, and it is the first step to totalitarianism.

It is also in their objectives to make it a normal thing for businesses and individuals around the world to stop buying Israeli products and services. The exceptionally ironic thing is however, that Israel is one of the leading innovators of technology and products, the myriad of which is far reaching.

The proponents of the BDS movement in fact wish to equate Israel with the apartheid-era South Africa, which is not only an erroneous comparison, but one indicative of the fact that BDS supporters are trying to re-frame Israel and Jews as oppressors. Not so different from how Romanian and German fascists framed all Jews as the harbingers of oppression.

You might have heard that this is the new antisemitism. The truth is that here is nothing new about the discourse behind this movement. It is essentially the same form of hatred, just disguised under new pretenses. What the BDS movement is promoting is the exclusion of a people based on the fact that they belong to an nationality/ethnicity/religion and the leftists in the West who have bought into their xenophobia, disguised as ‘moral’ rhetoric should try and learn something about the history of antisemitism.

With utmost honesty, does the academic and cultural boycott of a nation sound like the objectives of a peaceful organization and movement? Does it seem to be in line with the virtues of liberalism and democracy?

Although you have heard this a great deal over the course of 11 years, It must be said that the root of this movement is not different from what Hannah Arendt called the “failure to think.” It is undoubtedly the failure to take into account that what one is doing, leads to evil. It plays into a collectivism, a group-think that devalues individual thought and action. The BDS movement will not get its way given the importance of Israeli business and academia in the world.

The BDS movement has played an integral role to spark existent antisemitism amid college campuses. The people involved think that they are following a moral cause, but in fact do not understand the hatred that they are promoting. This is no way to spark conversation between people. Martin Luther King once said: “When they criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking antisemitism.” Perhaps to put it in more simple terms a better way to say is that the hatred of Israel, is the hatred of Jews.
Am Yisrael Chai.

Milad Doroudian is a writer, historian, and the senior editor of The Art of Polemics.




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