With the UAE deal, the BDS movement is over

The normalization agreement between the UAE and Israel has effectively ended the racist BDS movement.

A Palestinian man walks by a grafitti sign calling to boycott Israel seen on a street in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on February 11, 2015. (photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)
A Palestinian man walks by a grafitti sign calling to boycott Israel seen on a street in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on February 11, 2015.
(photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)
With the recent developments between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, it’s become clearer than ever that there’s no future for the discriminatory and racist Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
From its inception, the movement was rooted in a desire to destroy the State of Israel as we know it. While cleverly presenting itself as a peaceful civil-society movement focused on improving the lives of Palestinians, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. If there’s one thing that the UAE-Israel peace agreement has settled, it’s that BDS is an anti-peace movement rooted in bigotry and hypocrisy.
When the initial peace agreement was announced on August 13, the official BDS movement issued a statement not only condemning peace, but aggressively attacking the UAE. For what crime? Making peace.
Its statement read, “UAE dictatorship sells out Palestinian rights through agreement with Israel” and went on to accuse the UAE of being a “police state” that “needed this agreement with Israel to support its military interventions and war against democracy in the region and to circumvent any potential UN sanctions in response to its crimes.”
Funny how the BDS movement has no problem with oppressive and authoritarian regimes which murder their own dissidents, minorities, women and others when they are anti-Israel. In fact, in condemning peace with the UAE, the BDS movement publicly aligned itself with some of the world’s biggest violators of human rights today: Iran and Turkey, which also forcefully condemned peace.
Then again, hypocrisy is the modus operandi of the BDS movement, which subjects Israel – and only Israel – to a moral litmus test to which no other nation on Earth is subjected. The double standards are precisely why the movement has garnered so much criticism for its antisemitic undertones.
Aside from the BDS movement’s hypocrisy, the movement is also self-harming in that normalization and peace talks are in everyone’s interest – especially the Palestinians. Since 1947, the Palestinians have only stood to lose from their stubborn refusal to properly negotiate with Israel, and the world, even the Arab world, has finally had enough.
Instead of learning from these lessons, the BDS movement is digging in its heels and doing all it can to take Palestinians down an endless path of destruction that will end up harming Palestinians disproportionately in comparison to Israelis.
But cutting off its nose to spite its face is the name of the game for BDS. The movement’s leaders and supporters have consistently advocated for policies that actively harm Palestinian citizens – from lobbying to close the SodaStream factory that employs dozens of Palestinians, to the Palestinian Authority boycotting major Israeli companies such as Tnuva and Strauss and preventing them from being sold in Palestinian markets.
And don’t forget that the BDS movement’s co-founder, Omar Barghouti, who was born in Qatar, studied at an Ivy League university in the US, and now lives freely in the state of Israel, enjoying Israeli products on a daily basis. He has never lived in the West Bank or Gaza nor has he had to suffer the consequences economically or otherwise of what the BDS movement does to everyday Palestinians.
Unfortunately for BDS, the Arab world has had enough. On Saturday, the UAE formally canceled its existing law to boycott Israeli products and businesses with a decree from Emirati ruler Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan ending the 1972 law. Other Arab nations are expected to follow suit in the coming months, and for the sake of the Palestinians and their own nations, why shouldn’t they? BDS won’t bring peace, prosperity or security, but it will spread bigotry, hatred and ignorance.
It’s clear that the Arab world is getting fed up with the rejectionist policies of the Palestinians, as well as the BDS movement, and will no longer see the benefit of humoring the cause. Only time will tell if the West will catch on to the joke that BDS has become here in the Middle East. The UAE-Israel peace deal was merely a symbolic nail in the coffin of an already dead movement that ought to fade into oblivion.
The writer is the CEO of Social Lite Creative LLC and a research fellow at the Tel Aviv Institute.