Israel wheels out the big guns against BDS movement

Israel wheels out the big guns against BDS movement
The BDS movement is gaining momentum and support, serving Israel a painful blow and forcing it to call on its traditional supporters for help.
3 min read
22 Jul, 2015
The BDS movement is 10 years old [Getty Images]
Israel is in such trouble it has been forced to rely on others to defend it against the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Ten years ago when the BDS movement was launched, no one would have thought that it could be so effective in organising a boycott of Israel, gaining respect around the world and serving Israel a painful blow.

No one would have thought that the movement could force Israel to recruit former prime ministers, foreign ministers and current presidential candidates among others to attack it in the hope of weakening and stopping it.

To dispel the doubts of some Arabs and Muslims about the benefit of the movement and to understand how it is hurting Israel, one simply needs to refer to a July report by the Israeli finance ministry, which stated that a sustained international boycott of Israel would cost it $10.5bn annually and put thousands of Israelis out of work.

The movement has forced Israel to call upon its traditional supporters for help.

For example, the former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, known for his support of Israel, has come out of his burrow once again to feign tears about the possible consequences of the boycott movement.

In June, the Jerusalem Post quoted Aznar as saying: "I think BDS is an unfair, discriminatory movement based on a moral double standard that is, in the final analysis, anti-Semitic."

"Declaring its aim to put pressure on the Israeli government, BDS is in fact trying to harm every Israeli citizen and not only the government. In reality what BDS wants is to make life in Israel intolerable so the Jewish nation will not be able to have a normal existence in its state. BDS does not only want to change the government's policy, it wants to empty the country of Jews," Aznar said.

Another recruit in the campaign against the BDS movement is former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who is running to be the Democratic Party's presidential candidate. Clinton wrote a letter about the movement to Haim Saban, a Jewish billionaire who is one of the most important donors to her presidential campaign.

In the 2 July correspondence, Clinton wrote: "I know you agree that we need to make countering BDS a priority," and asked for Saban's assistance in the "fight back against further attempts to isolate and delegitimise Israel".

However, combating the movement will be an uphill battle as it is an unseen entity that only exists within the people, households, companies and universities that have adopted BDS as their form of resistance.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.