BDS Q&A: What is BDS?

January 16, 2018

BDS stands for the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel.

The movement takes much of its inspiration and rhetoric from the successful boycotts of the 1980’s and early 1990’s that forced the South African government to abandon its system of racial apartheid. This is why the BDS movement tries so hard – despite so many facts to the contrary – to draw a parallel between Israel and South Africa.

BDS leaders also try very hard to portray themselves as peace activists who are using non-violent means to force Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and make way for a Palestinian State.

But a visit to the BDS website quickly reveals that BDS has far a more radical goal: eliminating Israel as a Jewish state. This is not an exaggeration. This is something BDS leaders readily admit.1

Israel’s conflict with her Arab neighbors is complex. The Israeli people themselves are deeply divided on the best path forward. There is room for disagreement and debate on many of the issues at the core of this conflict.

The problem with the BDS movement is not that it criticizes Israel. The problem with the BDS movement is that it criticizes only Israel. BDS insists on blaming the entire conflict on only one side – Israel. Such simplistic scapegoating won’t bring peace; it will only fuel extremism.

1 See Ali Mustafa, “Boycotts work: An interview with Omar Barghouti,” The Electronic Intifada, May 31, 2009.

Media Resources

Video by Alan Dershowitz on BDS

BDS - Anti-Palestinian, Anti-Semitic, Anti-Peace

Video Gallery


Why Isn't There a Palestinian State?

Why don't the Palestinians have their own country? Is it the fault of Israel? Of the Palestinians? Of both parties? David Brog, Executive Director of the Maccabee Task Force, shares the surprising answers...

UN Watch

Hamas is Expert at Driving Media Agenda

UN Watch Statement, delivered by Col. Richard Kemp, October 16, 2009, UN Human Rights Council Special Session on Goldstone Report

Leave a Comment