Studies have demonstrated that campuses with BDS campaigns experience an increase in anti-Semitism. This connection should surprise no one. BDS is a movement dedicated to demonizing and delegitimizing the Jewish state. But if Israel is such a bloodthirsty enemy of humanity, then what exactly does this say about those of us who support her? Let’s face it, when you demonize Israel you also demonize Israel’s supporters. The line between BDS and anti-Semitism is not merely thin – it doesn’t exist.
This connection between BDS and anti-Semitism was on full display in the month of May. At UC Santa Cruz, the Afrikan Black Student Alliance took over a campus building and issued a set of demands relating to race on campus. What does this have to do with Israel, you ask? Nothing at all. Except for the fact that many of these student protesters buy into the intersectionality myth that their struggle is somehow connected to the BDS movement. The Afrikan Black Student Alliance called on the protesters to stand in solidarity with their Palestinian “brothers and sisters.” And, according to Santa Cruz Hillel Director Sarah Cohen Domont, “Our students were, on three separate instances, subjected to protesters yelling, (expletives and anti-Semitic insults) and one of our Israeli flags was torn down.”
At UC Irvine, Students Supporting Israel hosted a group of IDF reserve soldiers to speak about their experiences in the Israeli army. A group of SJP students came to the event — not to listen but to disrupt and intimidate. The protesters shouted down the soldiers, then waited in the hallway to continue their harassment. In addition to accusing Israel of genocide and terrorism, the protesters held signs saying “Long Live the Intifada.” For those who don’t remember, the intifada was a terrorist campaign in the early 2000’s in which Palestinian suicide bombers killed over 1,000 Israelis and maimed over 3,000 more.
At Northwestern University, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) held an event entitled “When You Come for Rasmea, You Come for All of Us.” This event honored former Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine member Rasmea Odeh, who confessed to committing two bombings in Jerusalem in 1969. One of these bombings killed two Hebrew University students and wounded nine others.
Let’s be clear. When you host an event honoring a terrorist with Israeli blood on her hands, you’re no longer engaging in the legitimate criticism of Israel. You have crossed over into anti-Semitism. Even worse, you’re glorifying terrorism.
A similar event played out at Stanford University, where Students for Justice in Palestine hosted Aarab Barghouti, the son of Palestinian leader and convicted murdered Marwan Barghouti, to speak in support of his father. The elder Barghouti orchestrated a string of deadly terrorist attacks during the Second Intifada before being arrested by Israeli troops. He was convicted on five counts of murder in 2004 and was sentenced to life in prison.
SJP might have the right to bring a terrorist apologist to campus. But by exercising that right they can no longer claim the mantle of legitimate critics of Israel. They are lending moral support to terrorism.
So May was a month in which SJP and the BDSers showed their real face. They claim to be humanitarians simply trying to ease Israeli oppression. But their actions reveal that they are haters, vandals and people with a strange sympathy for terrorists.
When the BDSers cross these lines, they do us a big favor. They help clarify that they’re the extremists in the debate. They show that they can’t further the cause of peace because they don’t seek peace. By their own admission, they seek to end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. As BDS’ radical agenda becomes ever more clear, it will become increasingly easy for us to marginalize them and their message.
– David Brog, Executive Director