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The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel – most visibly on North American university campuses – is without a doubt fueled by anti-Semitism.

The goal is the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state. BDS co-founder, Palestinian Omar Barghouti makes no bones about it.
As reported by Israeli journalist Ben Dror Yemini in a recent piece on BDS in the Israeli newspaper Yedioht Ahronoth, Barghouti was once asked if an end to the “occupation” would bring an end to the BDS campaign. His answer: “No.”

Now, I have been asked from time to time if I consider all criticism of Israel to be enough to label someone anti-Semitic. It depends on the criticism.
And I have to agree with Yemini that not all supporters of BDS are anti-Semitic. It is quite probable even that a majority are not and are actually well-meaning people (although in recent months, anti-Israel/anti-Zionist support has been bleeding into outright anti-Semitism with questions about dual loyalties – but that is for another column) who in their ignorance have fallen for Barghouti’s lies.
Yemini suggests that a portion of the BDS supporters are falling under the spell of the movement because it purports to be tackling a real problem.
The most widespread argument among those who support BDS is the supposed “Israeli occupation” of the Palestinians. Yet, the writer points out, the BDS campaign wasn’t suspended even for a moment when Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni spoke for Israel.
“They actually wanted to end the occupation,” he notes. “It didn’t work out for them.”

Would an agreement with the Palestinians end the BDS movement? Yemini asks. Not likely, he says, because “the initiators and leaders of the campaign are opposed to a peace settlement based on two states for two peoples.
Their guiding principle is the so-called right of return, which would mean an end to Israel; and one of their main slogans reads: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
He adds that it is in fact the Palestinian side – not Israel - that has repeatedly (in 2001, 2008 and 2014) rejected any and all peace proposals - despite repeated claims to the contrary (including from the Obama White House).
As to the so-called “settlements” (which in many cases are thriving cities), Yemini points out that “the construction in the West Bank, for the most part, is taking place inside the existing blocs, which even under Clinton’s proposal will remain in Israeli hands. Criticism is one thing, but support for BDS is a different story altogether.”

The bottom line for the BDS campaign, he argues, is that it is led by people who deny Israel’s right to exist. “We’re not dealing with a fight for rights, but a fight rather to single out and deny one particular nation’s right to self-determination.”
In my view, folks, singling out the democratic Jewish state of Israel for violating human rights, war crimes, “occupation” and the other ills of humanity is anti-Semitism writ large.
And anyone who supports BDS – no matter whether well-meaning or not – is acting in an anti-Semitic manner.

Palestinian Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, writing for the Gatestone Institute, adds that the Palestinian terrorist group, Hamas, which is committed to Israel’s destruction, has become the BDS movement’s most enthusiastic supporter.
“While the anti-Israel activities of the BDS movement have emboldened Hamas,” Abu Toameh comments, ”they have also undermined those Palestinians who continue to believe in peace and coexistence with Israel. Many BDS supporters are also opposed to any meetings between Israelis and Palestinians, and opposed to security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank. Like Hamas, many in the BDS movement want the PA to boycott not only Israeli products, but also peace talks with Israel.
‘Until now, the BDS movement has failed to offer the Palestinians anything good. It wants Palestinian workers to boycott Israeli companies, but has not been able to offer them an alternative source of income. If BDS supporters really care about Palestinians, why don’t they go to the Gaza Strip and try to promote the rights of women living under Hamas rule? Why don’t they come to the Palestinian territories and try to promote reforms, democracy and freedom of speech under the PA and Hamas?
“At the end of the day, BDS seems to be more about hating Israel than helping the Palestinians. And BDS seems to be more about promoting Hamas’s agenda than advancing the cause of peace in this part of the world.”
What better definition is there of blind anti-Semitism?

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