The American Jewish Congress has teamed up with students to launch a campaign under the banner “BDS is antisemitism,” in opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
The campaign began last week and will create anti- BDS activities with the aim of influencing the opinions of students at leading US universities, including Columbia University; New York University; the University of Pennsylvania; the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Santa Monica; and the University of Texas.
To confront stereotypes which the groups believe BDS fuels, the AJCongress has collated video testimonies from students who have directly experienced antisemitism on campus from movement activists.
Among the testimonies is the story of Dalia, a Jewish-American student and president of Students Supporting Israel at Columbia University, who said: “A large group of BDS supporters used violence and called us racists who represent a country under Nazi rule. Throughout the year we’ve been told that terrorism against Israelis is justified and that Zionism is a racist movement whose goal is to steal Arab lands and commit genocide.”
These clips will be released on social media throughout the campaign to show the reality for Jewish students on the ground and the blurred line that exists between supporting boycotts and antisemitism. The videos also show students talking about the activities they hold on their campuses to express solidarity with Israel and Jewish students.
The campaign will culminate in a US-wide coordinated activity by all participating campuses, which will see dozens of students unfurl the slogan “United against BDS” to raise awareness of antisemitism in the movement and to express solidarity with other students across the US.
AJCongress president Jack Rosen said: “The American Jewish Congress believes that BDS is not purely an anti-Israel issue, but a human rights issue. The American Jewish Congress launched the campaign on college campuses where BDS commands strong support and BDS activists employ intimidation tactics against Jewish students to send a clear message that the normalization of hate and antisemitism needs to stop. We invite everyone to join us in uniting against BDS in order to put an end to its divisive and hateful messages. We must stand united in promoting truth and peace, and against boycotts.”