Previously Published in The Huffington Post
The global movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS) has been continually shoved into the international spotlight as of late, with 306+ universities voting on BDS resolutions, various commercial entities refusing to do business with their Israeli counterparts, and notable public figures like Roger Waters calling for celebrities to cancel events in Israel.
Unfortunately, this bigoted, and borderline anti-Semitic movement has gained legitimacy throughout the globe, utilizing its mission to isolate Israel as a way to assist “oppressed” Palestinians. Yet, how do boycotts, sanctions, and the divestment of funds ultimately help the Palestinian people?
The simple answer is, they don’t.
Firstly, the BDS Movement incorrectly blames Israeli “apartheid” for being the root cause of Palestinian economic hardship. When analyzing the expenditures of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, it is obvious that the governing body of the Palestinian people, regardless of location, care little about their people’s general welfare.
In the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority uses aid money to grant all Palestinian prisoners, imprisoned in Israel terror and violent offenses, a monthly salary. Additionally, the Palestinian Authority, under the rule of Mahmoud Abbas, has promised, circa February 2016, to compensate the families of Palestinian martyrs’ after the demolition of their homes by the IDF. Furthermore, within the Palestinian budget, there is a fund titled The National Association of the Families of the Martyrs of Palestine, which aims to allocate funds to the families of terrorists.
Beyond the direct funding of terrorists and their families, the Palestinian Authority also funds radicalized education content, which utilizes textbooks, class lessons, and television to spread animosity against Israel, and further, incite violence. Evidently, the ruling class of the Palestinian Authority cares little about the extreme poverty and hardship within the West Bank, and have no issue spending millions upon millions of aid money received towards perpetrating the violence of the conflict.
If members of the BDS Movement, and supporters of its agenda, were truly passionate about the Palestinian people and their livelihood, they would realize that solely blaming Israel is not the answer, and would seek to create reform within the Palestinian Authority.
Moreover, advocates for the BDS Movement fail to realize the symbiotic relationship between the Palestinian and Israeli economies. Ultimately, when the Israeli economy, boasting a GDP exceeding $290 billion, thrives, the Palestinian economy (which is virtually 1/24ththe size of Israel’s) simultaneously grows.
As noted in Forbes’ analysis of the BDS Movement’s impact on the Israeli economy, Israel is a massive employer of Palestinian workers. The company Sodastream, that was originally based out of Judea and Samaria, recently moved outside of the disputed territories. Although the CEO of Sodastream announced that the move had no connection to international pressure, the BDS Movement still celebrated the relocation. What is more concerning about BDS’s rejoicement about this news is the fact that Sodastream’s move resulted in the loss of about 500 above market wage Palestinian jobs. Members of the BDS Movement were willing to turn a blind eye to Palestinian suffering in order to push their agenda of hatred towards Israel. If BDS was truly a pro-Palestinian movement, I hope they would recognize the vitality of the Israeli economy and Israeli commerce in ensuring a robust Palestinian workforce.
Lastly, I think we can all agree that the central goal of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is peace. It is something I truly believe people on both sides yearn for. Peace is beneficial for both sides, but for the Palestinians, it hopefully will result in greater independence and eventually statehood. Yet, on the BDS Movement’s website, nowhere is the word peace located in the organization’s mission statement or description. Thus, it is fair to assume that a meaningful and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians is not an established goal of the movement. As a peace agreement would most likely include the creation of a Palestinian state, I find it hard to fathom how BDS can call itself pro-Palestine when it ignores peace as a priority. Further, BDS continually disregards the main source of the conflict, Palestinian violence and radicalism, and instead focuses on accusing Israel of being “racist” or apartheid”. If members of the BDS Movement truly cared about the welfare of the Palestinian people, and eventually the creation of a Palestinian state, they’d condemn incitement and terror, and work to foster discussion instead of isolation.
The BDS Movement has a radical agenda. The boycotts, divestments, and sanctions do nothing but significantly harm advancements towards peace. They ignore the root cause of Palestinian economic hardship, and furthers said hardship by advocating for actions that damage the Palestinian economy. BDS isolates and degrades one side, instead of concentrating on the discovery of a common ground. BDS is not pro-Palestine, it is pro-hate.