BDS – right tactic, wrong target

Our true friends know this, but BDS supporters are not interested in the truth because their movement is built on lies.

Our tour of Airbnb in Israel continues with a visit to a medieval suite (photo credit: JERUSALEM POST)
Our tour of Airbnb in Israel continues with a visit to a medieval suite
(photo credit: JERUSALEM POST)
Airbnb’s decision to remove all listings for properties located in Judea and Samaria – Jewish ones, that is – has sparked outrage, as well as calls to boycott the popular home-rental platform.
In the era of BDS, boycott has become a dirty word. Israel is hurt economically, culturally, and academically from the coordinated ostracism championed by BDS activists – and suffers even more so in the court of public opinion. That the movement is unjust, discriminatory, hypocritical, disingenuous, foolish and dangerous should be evident to anyone who gets past the catchy acronym to find out what BDS actually stands for. Not the end of the so-called occupation, not the dismantling of settlements, not the furtherance of peaceful coexistence, but the slow and steady death of the Jewish state. It’s the dressed-up equivalent of a horde of terrorist supporters burning our flag and chanting “Death to Israel!”
The problem with the BDS movement is not the tools they use – it’s whom they use them against. The idea of using boycotts, divestment, and sanctions to effect positive humanitarian change is legitimate and quite effective, but Israel is the wrong target.
This is an important distinction to make. Unfortunately, the BDS movement has given boycotting a bad name. Boycotts and its sister tactics were used against the apartheid regime in South Africa, and could be implemented to positive ends against a litany of dictatorships which still blight the earth. Note the reference to governments – repressive rulers, not their citizens, are the appropriate object of punitive measures. The BDS movement, however, goes after students, academics, artists, entrepreneurs and regular citizens, as if all Israelis are unvaccinated carriers of some noxious disease. (Not unlike the worldview of an infamous German antisemite.)
Israel, where Jews alone have ever had a homeland, and to which our ties from the days of Abraham have never been sundered, has the right to exist in secure borders. Israel, where most Arabs have better lives than anywhere else in the Muslim world, is not the devil. Israel, whose young men and women put their lives on the line each day to defend all its residents from missile, knife, grenade, rock and incendiary balloon attacks, sows renewal where others sow hatred.
Our true friends know this, but BDS supporters are not interested in the truth because their movement is built on lies. So they march on, and celebrate each time a clueless corporation signs onto their faux-peace campaign.
Airbnb deserves to be boycotted. Why fill the coffers of a company that holds that your country should be stricken from civilization? Consumers speak with their wallets every day (just ask erstwhile fashion mogul Ivanka Trump) and that kind of speech is free also.
At least it is here in Israel. Not so much in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Egypt, North Korea, Burma, Sudan, Zimbabwe, China… But don’t hold your breath waiting for the BDS movement to put the people of those countries on a blacklist.

The writer is a contributing editor to The Jewish Press and a freelance writer and editor. She holds a J.D. from Fordham Law School and has worked as a court attorney and a magazine editor. A former New Yorker, she lives with her family in Jerusalem.



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