See the latest opinion pieces on our pageIn searching for additional elements which fuel BDS activity, two relatively simple factors should be singled out from many others that make up the larger, complex puzzle.The first is the mere ability of a trans-national, well-funded, organized civil society movement, such as BDS, to taint Israel’s image in the international arena. Seen through this lens, the obsessive attention with Israel’s follies thrives on the motivation to pressure Israel into granting Palestinians self-determination. This course of action is modeled after the struggle of black South Africans to eliminate apartheid in the mid-1980s.Similarly to what we see with Israel now, South Africa was not the only country during the 1980s to violate human rights. The UN rationale for investing immense resources in the South African struggle – including the establishment of a Special Committee against Apartheid (comprised of 19 states) and the UN Center against Apartheid which serviced it – was that sensitizing the international community would pressure the government of South Africa to amend its racist policies. While Israel is by no means an apartheid state, BDS leaders are undoubtedly aware of her vulnerability to external, international pressure. They well realize that internationalizing the conflict can effectively transform limited Palestinian power into meaningful social power.The second element which is downplayed when analyzing BDS through an anti-Semitic-tainted lens is the moral grounding that this campaign bases itself upon. Human rights discourse is currently the normative lingua franca, and it is locked in a zero-sum game with a security- based discourse. While the BDS narrative relates to human rights – Israel’s counter-narrative relates to security.Also relevant to the moral grounding element is the BDS appeal to anti-colonialism, which has become an increasingly important value of the liberal Left. Israel’s obvious inability to live up to this value as long as it is entrenched in a conflict with the Palestinians has tarnished Israel’s moral grounding not only among fervent pro-Palestinians but also among those who perceive themselves as supporting the liberal Left at-large, including minority groups and LGBT supporters.Thus, supporters of the BDS campaign – and its attractive moral grounding – are often unaware of the convoluted reality at the base of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.In developing a toolbox to deal with the BDS movement, then, it would be wise to step back from the anti-Semitic paradigm and allocate it only relative weight in light of many other factors which nurture the phenomenon and which warrant a different set of tools. Also of note is that the dismissal of a certain part of Israel’s criticism as mere anti-Semitism contributes to a growing global frustration with Israel’s lack of ability to deal with relevant criticism – from which no country is immune.Michal Hatuel-Radoshitzky is Neubauer Research Associate at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and a PhD candidate at Tel Aviv University.