(photo credit: ALESSANDRO ABBONIZIO / AFP)
NEW YORK – Over 60 Jewish organizations worldwide have issued a statement condemning the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement on college campuses.
The statement was published in the “BDS Cookbook,” an extensive resource for students and professionals to combat BDS through positive programming initiatives and coordinated reactive responses.
The statement asserts that academic, cultural and commercial boycotts, divestment and sanctions of Israel are “counterproductive to the goal of peace, antithetical to freedom of speech, and part of a greater effort to undermine the Jewish people’s right to self-determination in their homeland.”
It goes on to distinguish the fine line between criticism and anti-Semitism.
“We recognize and accept that individuals and groups may have legitimate criticism of Israeli policies,” the statement continued. “Criticism becomes anti-Semitism, however, when it demonizes Israel or its leaders, denies Israel the right to defend its citizens or seeks to denigrate Israel’s right to exist.”
Characterizing the BDS movement as “antithetical to principles of
academic freedom,” the statement contends that the movement “silences
voices from across the Israeli political spectrum,” and espouses
“By pursuing delegitimization campaigns on campus, proponents have
provoked deep divisions among students and have created an atmosphere of
intolerance and hatred,” the statement reads.
The statement is signed by groups ranging from the American Jewish
Committee and the Anti-Defamation League, to the Zeta Beta Tau
fraternity and the Zionist Organization of America.
“The World Jewish Congress- United States signed the statement against
BDS because we believe that BDS measures against Israel are ways to
punish, isolate and falsely criminalize Israel by those who wish to
malign her with libelous charges,” signatory Betty Ehrenberg told The
“The statement as well is geared towards fighting against BDS on campus,
so it is particularly important in helping to set the record straight
for students in general who may not know the true story, and in helping
to educate Jewish students in particular by providing them with the
facts so that they can stand up to anti-Israel actions and sentiments on
Todd Gutnick, spokesperson for the ADL, told the Post: “As the global
efforts to utilize various tactics calling into question the legitimacy
of Israel as a member of the family of nations continue to percolate, in
recent months, some activists behind anti-Israel initiatives have
claimed that Jews and Israelis support these campaigns and tactics.
“While criticism of Israeli policies or actions is always acceptable,
these efforts cross a line that goes far beyond the boundaries of mere
“The Anti-Defamation League felt it was important for mainstream
American and international Jewish organizations to stand together and
make clear that the vast majority of the Jewish community is utterly
opposed to boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel.”