The Nazi-like boycott of Jews is a global menace

Abraham Lincoln once said, “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Demonstrators in Herning, Denmark, on February 23 call for Denmark to withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest because it was being hosted in Israel (photo credit: HENNING BAGGER / RITZAU SCANPIX / REUTERS)
Demonstrators in Herning, Denmark, on February 23 call for Denmark to withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest because it was being hosted in Israel
Since its establishment in 2001 by the major Palestinian terrorist organizations, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has masqueraded as a nonviolent grassroots human rights organization that aims to “improve” the well-being of Palestinians. Instead of protecting the Palestinians, however, the movement is laser focused on economically, culturally and politically isolating and eradicating the State of Israel, using the model that was applied previously to the apartheid regime of South Africa. 
Until recently, the BDS movement was able to hide its true intentions, building alliances with global civil rights groups. It sought protection for its hateful ideas using claims of freedom of speech, notwithstanding that it openly uses antisemitic propaganda that demonizes Jews living in Israel, the only homeland of the Jewish people. This acceptance allowed BDS to promote hate and incitement to violence against Jews in Israel and everywhere.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” In recent years, it is become increasingly evident the BDS movement is – and always has been – a front of Palestinians terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Fatah, which are still coordinating major global BDS activities and have close links to many of its members and groups.
Many have come to understand that BDS is antisemitic. The US State Department defines antisemitism as animus toward Jews and cites the specific example of “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” This definition is accepted by governments and organizations around the globe. Self-determination is recognized as a human right and Israel, the one and only Jewish state, is an inseparable part of the Jewish identity.
Thus, BDS by definition is antisemitic. But that’s not all. More and more evidence shows that the BDS movement’s antisemitism not only works to deny the Jewish people the right of self-determination, but also drives violence against Jews and others globally.
Late year, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) published a report about the BDS movement’s activities on college campuses, which revealed that Students for Justice in Palestine, the primary BDS organization on American campuses, associates with terrorist organizations while its members encourage intimidation and violence against Jewish students.
The JCPA report definitively shows that BDS promotes antisemitism and has been a primary driver of violence and hate crimes against Jews.
Earlier this year, the Israeli government issued a report called “Terrorists in Suits.” The report exposed the BDS movement’s links to terrorist organizations and demonstrated that BDS was established by Palestinian terrorist groups to eradicate the State of Israel and murder its Jewish citizens by using violent, “non-military” means.
It provided unprecedented details about how the BDS movement was established by and continues to be financially supported and run by members of US designated internationally recognized terrorist organizations. The terrorists leading the BDS movement are using military attacks against Jews in Israel while complementing these activities with non-military tactics to demonize and threaten Jews in Europe and the US
WHILE THE antisemitic and violent nature of BDS movement is just now becoming apparent in America, it is much clearer in Europe, where attacks on Jews have risen exponentially with the mainstreaming of BDS rhetoric. As a result, the European Union’s Justice and Home Affairs Council unanimously approved a declaration denouncing antisemitism that focused explicitly on the denial of Israel’s right to exist that is passionately championed by adherents of BDS.
But BDS is even more dangerous than your run of the mill antisemitism. It radicalizes members of all hate movements and encourages violence. Two months ago, Germany adopted a bipartisan motion recognizing that BDS is antisemitic and its methods are reminiscent of Nazi-era calls to boycott Jews. What led Germany to realize the resemblance of the BDS movement to Nazis?
The top German intelligence agency recently published its most comprehensive analysis of rising antisemitism by Islamist extremists in the country, addressing the rise in antisemitic attacks committed by migrants from Arab states. The antisemitism in the “early warning” report acknowledges that the vast majority of antisemitic crimes in Germany still come from right-wing extremists. However, it also suggests that Muslim communities – who are championing BDS in Germany – are a hotbed of hatred against Jews, infiltrated by Islamist organizations and movements and their propaganda. This type of propaganda is the kind that ferment antisemitic radicalization and “forms the breeding ground for violent escalations.”
This isn’t only in Germany. The New York Times recently published an article titled “They Spit When I Walk in the Street: ‘The New Antisemitism’ in France”. It detailed how French Jews are afraid to “look Jewish” when walking in parts of Paris. Some supporters of Marine Le Pen’s populist right-wing party engaged in antisemitic rhetoric, yet the main source of violence in France against Jews comes from Muslim immigrants, many of whom are engaged in extreme anti-Israel activity.
A 2018 Austrian report on antisemitism analyzed “Imported antisemitic narratives” and indicated that Muslims residents consistently agreed with antisemitic statements more than the general Austrian population. About 65% agreed with the statement, “If the state of Israel no longer exists, then peace prevails in the Middle East.”
Centrist and liberal opponents blame nationalist and populist parties in Western Europe for antisemitism. Ironically, Jews are far safer in Eastern European countries such as Hungary and Poland where governments are controlled by right-wing populists.
It’s not just that BDS has co-opted Nazi-era antisemitic tactics to perpetuate hate. The movement also bolsters other fringe antisemites, like white nationalists and radical leftists, as evidenced in the recent amicus brief filed at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the State of Arkansas’s anti-BDS law.
The BDS movement that promotes hate against Jews is not inclusive, peaceful or humane. It is an insidious push to legitimize antisemitism. This is the same hatred and bigotry that Europe and America have fought to destroy.
By cloaking itself in a veneer of “political criticism,” this terrorist-led movement conceals its violent roots and its goal of denying the Jewish people the same human rights afforded to other people around the world.
We must use anti-terrorist and anti-discrimination laws to defeat this vile BDS hatred.

The writer is an Israeli-American philanthropist. He can be reached at, on Twitter @AdamMilstein, and at

Tags hate crime