Have you heard of BDS?
Here in NZ BDS hit the headlines recently for pressuring Lorde to cancel her concert in Israel. And BDS is again getting attention because of the visit to NZ of BDS poster boy Roger Waters.
So… what is BDS?
It stands for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions. And it only targets Israel – the single liberal western-style democracy in the Middle East. BDS attempts to harm Israel by isolating it economically, culturally and politically, with the ultimate goal of replacing Israel with a Palestinian State.
BDS uses the language of human rights to support its goals. Yet despite Christian and other minorities suffering real atrocities and even genocide in neighbouring Middle Eastern states, BDS targets only Israel – the one state in the region where those minorities are truly safe.
In our view BDS is dishonest in the accusations it levels against Israel. But… we think it is important to be fair-minded so we’ll let BDS speak for itself.
So, let’s take a look at the introduction to a BDS video.
Well… the date is right but almost everything else is wrong. Let’s see why this BDS video is so misleading.
The establishment of the state of Israel followed a United Nations General Assembly resolution passed in 1947. The land had been occupied by the Ottoman Empire from the 16th century till near the end of World War 1. It was then placed under the British Mandate. The UN voted to create two states for two peoples. The Jews accepted that proposal. The Arabs rejected the state they were offered and when Israel declared independence in 1948, surrounding nations declared a war of annihilation on her.
The map in the BDS video is simply false. There was no Arab state called Palestine then – or at any time in history. Israel however, has an undeniable connection to the land going back more than 3000 years. It was an independent kingdom then, with Jerusalem as its capital.
Ethnic cleansing? Really?
To suggest Israel is guilty of ethnic cleansing is utterly absurd. The muslim population in Israel and areas under Palestinian control has increased more 500% since 1948. And Arabs play important roles in Israeli society – teachers, policemen, doctors, and yes, even Members of Parliament.
Were Arabs displaced when Israel was attacked by the surrounding Arab nations in 1948? Yes. That is an unfortunate reality of many wars – and, remember, this was a war that Israel did not start.
But even greater numbers of Jews were displaced from the surrounding Arab nations. Israel quickly absorbed and settled those Jewish refugees. The Arab nations, however, refused to absorb many Arab refugees – choosing instead to use them as political pawns – even to this day.
And those Arabs who chose to stay during the 1948 war were granted full rights as citizens of the new state of Israel.
So… what is the issue? Why is there an ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians?
If you listen to mainstream media you may have the impression that the issue is land. The land may be an issue but it’s not the primary issue. The primary issue is that many Arab leaders do not want Israel to exist. They do not want peace. And many seek the genocide of the Jewish people.
And BDS, too, refuses to accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.
A popular myth is that Israel won’t allow the Palestinians to have their own state. The reality is that a Palestinian state has been offered …not once, but three times. And each time that offer has been refused.
Is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict simple? No. It is complex and, yes, there has been wrongdoing on both sides. Most Israelis, however, want nothing more than peace and the falsehoods of groups like BDS can only harm prospects for peace. Perhaps that’s why anti-BDS legislation exists in Canada, France, the United States and Germany. BDS is recognised as discriminatory and racist.
If BDS is motivated by concern for Palestinians shouldn’t BDS be fully supportive of the Jewish nation? Israel is, after all, the state in which the Palestinians enjoy, by far, the greatest freedom and highest standards of living in the region.
Or is it simply hatred for the Jewish state that drives BDS?