What is BDS?
BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.
The BDS movement is a sinister campaign designed to erode the very basis of Israel's legitimacy. With the exception of the seemingly unrelenting Iranian effort to build nuclear weapons, this push to undermine the idea that Israel has the right to exist as the Jewish state in the Middle East is its greatest existential threat. Heller IAI is greatly concerned by the goals and tactics of the global BDS Movement, because of its punitive approach towards Israel and its failure to focus on the responsibilities of all parties to help end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Heller IAI strongly opposes views and positions held by these BDS groups because, among other reasons, they fail explicitly to recognize Israel’s right to exist and they ignore or reject Israel’s role as a national home for the Jewish people.
Six Reasons to Oppose BDS
- The BDS movement does not recognize the state of Israel and seeks its destruction.
- The BDS movement applies a double-standard in criticizing Israeli policy and ignoring abuses by other nations and the role of the Palestinians in the conflict.
- BDS’ main impact is to create a hostile atmosphere.
- A boycott of Israel unfairly singles out one nation, blacklisting all voices and perspectives.
- Boycotting Israeli products does nothing to help the Palestinians improve their lives, begin state building, or develop democratic institutions.
- Well-known critics of Israeli policy and peace activists oppose BDS campaigns as counterproductive.
- Learn how to advocate on Israel's behalf
Know the Facts! (Courtesy of www.stopbds.com)
Myth: “Israel’s ‘Apartheid Wall’ is a violation of international law and must be torn down.”
Fact: All countries have a right under international law to protect their citizens. No one can deny that the security barrier has saved lives as the number of suicide bombers from the West Bank has been reduced to zero since its construction. The Israeli High Court has held that the barrier is legal but has issued rulings to alter the route in certain locations in response to Palestinian complaints.
Myth: “Israel must allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in Israel.”
Fact: There is no basis in international law for the so-called “right of return.” Israelis from all the major political parties agree that Israel would cease to exist as an independent Jewish state if 4.5 million Palestinian Arabs, few of whom ever set foot in the area, were allowed to move to Israel. Israelis do agree with the United States that the refugees should be allowed to immigrate to a future Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank. Click here to learn more.
Myth: “The Gaza Blockade violates international law and is only meant to make Palestinians suffer.”
Fact: Blockades are legal under international law. The current blockade is maintained not only by Israel, but also by Egypt. Israel has no responsibility for Gazans since it no longer occupies the Gaza Strip, but it has nevertheless provided humanitarian aid and continues to provide electricity and other resources to Gaza even as the Hamas leadership there continues to engage in terror attacks and declare its refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Click here to learn more.
Myth: Israeli policy is the source of the Arab-Israeli conflict. If Israel wanted, the conflict could end tomorrow.
Fact: This theory is entirely backward. In truth, it is terrorism that has shaped Israeli policy, not the other way around. Israel has repeatedly offered compromises in an effort to achieve peace with its neighbors. Today, it remains committed to reaching a peace agreement that would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state beside Israel.
Myth: “Israel is an apartheid state.”
Fact: The term “apartheid” refers to the official government policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in South Africa. Under apartheid black South Africans could not vote and were not citizens of the country in which they are the overwhelming majority of the population. Arab citizens of the State of Israel, just like their Jewish counterparts, enjoy full and complete citizenship rights, including the right to vote and be represented in the government. Palestinians from the territories are allowed to work in Israel and receive similar pay and benefits to their Jewish counterparts. They are allowed to attend schools and universities. Currently, twelve non-Jews (ten Arabs, two Druze) are members of the Seventeenth Knesset and an Arab currently serves on the Supreme Court. No such opportunities were possible for South African blacks.
Myth: “Israel ‘occupies’ the West Bank and Gaza and the violence can only end when the occupation ends.”
Fact: After the Oslo accords, Israel transferred virtually all civilian authority over Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinian Authority. Israel retained the power to control its own external security and that of its citizens, but 98% of the Palestinian population in these territories came under the PA’s authority. Israel has withdrawn from every inch of Gaza in 2005; not a single Israeli soldier or civilian remain. As recently as 2008, Israel offered to withdraw from 96.5 percent of the territory it now controls. The Palestinians rejected the offer.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Stay informed - Read your local newspaper. Pay attention to news coverage about the Middle East, and Israel in particular. Get the facts. Respond to inaccurate or unfair information and criticism of Israel.
Give - Support organizations, like your Jewish Federation, that provide direct support to Israel and advocate on its behalf.