I was sitting in the student union on campus this week, the center place of student life here at San Diego State University, when I overheard a conversation happening 10 feet away from me. Two girls were sitting at a table, minding their own business, when a male student approached them with a piece of paper in his hand. I heard him explain that the piece of paper was a petition in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, also known as the BDS movement. He asked these girls if they knew anything about this movement and they both replied that they didn't.
After a brief explanation from the guy, the two girls looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders and without any real knowledge of what they were supporting, signed the petition. The most dangerous political actions occur when one does not know. So to all the people who are signing this petition without doing any of your own research let me explain to you what you are really signing.
According to its website, BDS is the global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel that is shaped by a rights-based approach and highlights the three broad sections of the Palestinian people: the refugees, those under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and Palestinians in Israel. While the movement uses highly emotional language to gain support, BDS is a bigoted global propaganda campaign against Israel.
The real motives behind this movement are malevolent.
First, BDS focuses only on the alleged war crimes and repression by Israel and ignores the real war crimes and repression that is actually being conducted being done in the Middle East by terrorist organizations such as ISIS, Al Qaeda and Hamas. Why does the movement not condemn any of these acts of terrorism, especially being done by Hamas, its own government? The reason is that BDS does not really care about war crimes and oppression. Its goal is to delegitimize Israel in the public eye and ultimately, destroy Israel.
Second, BDS demonizes and dehumanizes Israel. It delegitimizes the measures it takes to protect its civilians, and seeks to eliminate it as the state of the Jewish people. BDS leaders oppose a two state solution, a solution that is highly supported by the United States, western European powers, U.N. Security Council and Israel.
Instead, the BDS agenda promotes the right of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel. Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS Movement and a graduate of Tel Aviv University, has openly stated that the BDS, "Opposes a Jewish state." When BDS supporters talk about the "occupation of Palestine," they are not just referring to the West Bank, but to all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea--which includes all of Israel. As stated by our President, Barack Obama, "the Palestinians are going to have to recognize that the right of return... would extinguish Israel as a Jewish state, and that's not an option."
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement hides behind the façade of being a movement that seeks peace and freedom for the Palestinian people. Instead, it promotes an anti-Zionist and anti-Semetic platform that is far from progressive.
So the next time you hear about BDS or are asked to sign a petition supporting the movement, be proactive. Instead of blindly making a decision, take the time to research exactly what your signature means. This conflict is excruciatingly complicated with a history behind it that cannot be explained shortly. Remember, just like everything else in life, there is always another side to the story that must be heard.