The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, colloquially the BDS Movement, is a Palestinian-led global campaign seeking political activism against Israel for "occupying and colonizing Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes."
The movement, which takes its cues from the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, was created in 2005 as calls grew in the international community to pressure Israel on behalf of the Palestinian cause.
It is often criticized for being antisemitic in its opposition to Zionism and promoting the de-ligitimization of Israel and denying the country its right to exist and self-determination.
The BDS Movement calls for non-violent yet punishing measures against Israel until it ends what is seen as an occupation of rightfully Palestinian territory and a dismantlement of the West Bank separation barrier. BDS also pushes for full equality of Palestinians and the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in accordance with United Nations Resolution 194, adopted December 11, 1948.
The movement uses protests and cultural boycotts to target Israeli businesses in the West Bank or events with connects to Israel. BDS is a key player in the international Israeli Apartheid Week, a series of lectures and rallies across college campuses against Israeli activity in the West Bank. BDS supporters have successfully gotten some artists from cancelling concerts in Israel, even when the concerts were not scheduled to take place in the West Bank.
In addition, business boycotts are a common tactic employed by the movement, targeting Israeli businesses, notably the soft drink company SodaStream and Israeli banks Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi. Supporters are urged to refrain from buying goods or using services from Israeli companies or from companies which do business in Israel.
Multiple organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, classify the BDS movement as antisemitic, citing the double standards Israel is held to that apply to no other country in the world. Other claims of antisemitism highlight that BDS supporters engage in antisemitic activity and deny Israel's right to self-determination. Critics also point out BDS closely parallels the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses in the era right before World War II. Critics also note that the calls to boycott Israeli businesses, which themselves employ Palestinian workers, inadvertently harm Palestinians, the people the BDS movement claims to support.
The European Union has expressed opposition to the boycott of Israel, and motions have been passed across the world condemning the movement. A non-binding motion in Ontario, Canada called to "reject the 'differential treatment' of Israel by the BDS movement," while 21 states in the United States have passed anti-BDS laws. French anti-hate speech law has been used against BDS activists.
BDS enjoys endorsements from the African National Congress and branches of the Green Party in England, Wales, Scotland and Canada. Pink Floyd musician Roger Waters is a noted supporter of the BDS movement, as are Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and novelist Alice Walker.
German antisemitism commissioner calls on bank to shut BDS account
“In past years, Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin decided to deny financial support and municipal rooms, in the future, to the BDS campaign that is hostile to Israel.”
Texas governor signs amendment to limit scope of Israel boycott law
Over 25 states in recent years have passed laws which punish businesses that support BDS.
Israel fights Eurovision BDS campaign with ads leading to pro-Israel site
Internet advertisements on Google featuring the words "boycott" and "Eurovision" encourage searchers to click on a link that, in fact, leads them to a pro-Israel website.
Roger Waters compares Israelis to aliens in bizarre rant - watch
Roger Waters has repeatedly spoken out against Israel, this time comparing Israelis to the aliens from the film Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Anti-BDS law ruled unconstitutional in Texas
This opinion runs counter to the binding Supreme Court precedent that ruled that ideological boycotts are not speech at all.
German political party proposes bill to ban state support of BDS
“We want to prevent state support for organizations that challenge Israel's right to exist."
BDS activist jailed for six months after drunken, racist tirade on plane
Simone Burns called one member of the crew an "Indian money-grubbing bastard."
Brown students ask to divest from Israeli 'human-rights' abusing companies
"It's antisemitic," Mary Greene, president of the Rhode Island Coalition for Israel, a group of Christians and Jews that advocates for Israel, said of the referendum. "That's the root of it."
Shaked revokes tax-free status from BDS-supporting organizations
New regulations signed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked on Thursday are specifically to be used against Amnesty International.
In a first, U.S. calls on German banks to close BDS accounts
The account in question belongs to the Jewish Voice for a Fair Peace in the Middle East and is used to raise funds to promote BDS.