BDS- (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions)
- when antisemitism pretends it isn't
If you've never heard of the BDS movement, congratulations! Just as in 1930s Germany; Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions seeks to encourage, and to enforce with threats and propaganda, economic discrimination against Jews.
Notionally, of course, it is a movement to support Palestinian rights. If it actually benefited Palestinians, we would give it credit. However, the example of SodaStream, pressured by BDS to close its West Bank factory and lay off hundreds of Arab workers, and which has gone from strength to strength since relocating to the Negev, demonstrates otherwise.
Co-founder of BDS, Omar Barghouti, makes no secret of his wish to destroy Israel. Despite living in Israel; being married to an Israeli and having studied at Tel Aviv University, Barghouti demands that Palestinians practise what he preaches and deprive themselves of all of the benefits that he personally enjoys.
We were delighted to see that the Bundestag in 2019 not only branded the BDS movement as antisemitic, but has compared it to the Nazis' campaign in the 1930s to boycott Jewish businesses. And members of the Bundestag should know! This was followed by the Czech parliament's condemnation of "all manifestations of antisemitism... activities and statements by groups calling for a boycott of the State of Israel, its goods, services or citizens” in October 2019.
The current UK government has a manifesto commitment to "ban public bodies from imposing their own direct or indirect boycotts, disinvestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries. These undermine community cohesion." (Conservative Party Manifesto 2019, p.20). This commitment was reaffirmed in the Queen's Speech on 19 December in 2019.
The priority now must be to ensure both that the Government sticks to its commitment and also that, as a foreign policy matter, the ban applies uniformly across the UK.