A recent article in The Bottom Line (May 2, 2017) titled “Why UCSB Should Support Divestment” began by falsely stating: “Recently universities across the nation have begun to divest from Israel.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. No university in America has divested from Israel. In reality, academic and economic cooperation between U.S. universities and Israel is closer than ever.
For this reason and many more, UCSB’s student government should not support divestment. We must first reject the false assertion that other universities have divested. They haven’t. The vast majority of divestment resolutions brought up at universities have failed. Even those resolutions that have passed, usually after wearing the Jewish community down after repeated assaults, last for only that senate’s year.
The sentiment in a senate changes from year to year and does not bind future student governments. For example, had BDS been brought up at UCLA again this year or next, it would have likely been defeated. Just because it passed once years ago doesn’t mean that UCLA supports BDS. The UC Regents have already stated that boycotting Israel is discriminatory and they will not divest — period.
Next, the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement is anti-Semitic. The Anti-Defamation League — the authoritative voice on anti-Semitic activity and one that the article cited — stated that BDS is designed to undermine Israel’s existence. Saying that the Jewish state does not have a right to exist is anti-Semitic, and the Jewish community, both here at UCSB and worldwide, has overwhelmingly agreed with that assertion. It should be up to the Jewish community, and the Jewish community only, to define what anti-Semitism is on the UCSB campus.
We can judge the BDS movement’s intentions through quotes by the founder of the movement, Omar Barghouti. He believes that Israel “will be renamed Palestine,” ending the existence of the nation-state of the Jewish people. Advocating for the eradication of the Jewish state is anti-Semitic, against the two-state solution and supported by the BDS movement.
On the more nuanced scale of criticizing the isolation of Israel, which the article dismisses as “shifting focus,” this is an old anti-Semitic trope. BDS isolates the Jewish state, a unitary emblem of the Jewish people, and uses that isolation to economically strangle it. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious anti-Semitic conspiracy document, did the same thing. It isolated the Jews and made them the face of global corruption.
The BDS movement does the same, pretending Israel is the global face of oppression, co-opting causes and arguing that taking down the Israeli regime is tantamount to fighting for global justice. It grants no other country such vitriolic treatment.
Just this week, Senator Bernie Sanders, who had incredibly harsh words for Israel in an interview with AJ+, signed a letter along with all 100 U.S. Senators, to the United Nations, demanding a cessation of isolating and condemning only Israel. He also went on to declare that he does not support the BDS movement.
You’ll often hear pro-BDS activists say that it is OK to criticize Israel without being anti-Semitic. This is absolutely true. Israelis are incredibly critical of Israel, and recent polls show that a stark majority are in favor of a two-state solution. However, the BDS movement goes far beyond that.
It is a campaign of de-legitimization, demonization and an abhorrent double standard employed against the only Jewish state. This makes it anti-Semitic. If I, as a Jewish student, have to stand at a wall and defend not just the country that my grandparents sought refuge in when they were exiled from Morocco for being Jewish but also my core identity as a Jew, then this movement is anti-Semitic.
If I have to look at the words “anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism” and feel attacked, silenced and marginalized, then this movement is anti-Semitic. Zionism is the right to self-determination for the Jewish people. That is all it is. If this movement is against the right to self-determination for only the Jewish people, then it is the opposite of progressive.
I can speak for a large majority of the Jewish community on campus and say that we stand for a two-state solution. We stand for fair and equitable treatment for the Palestinians. We stand for peace. BDS does not stand for peace. We do not stand for BDS.
Thank you for sharing it.
A honest and good article – thank you
equal rights for the Palestinian citizens of Israel
My 22 year old pregnant cousin was killed in a bombing in Haifa, years ago, because Palestinians teach there children to kill all Jews.
Palestinians aren’t citizens of Israel. Citizens of Israel are called Israelis. Some of them are Arab..many Israelis of many faiths were born during the british mandate of Palestine. If they are not a citizen of israel, then their nationality remains palestinian. Although it’s still more complicated than that. Many palestinians were Jordanians and Egyptians for about twenty years.
Anti-Semitism: “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group” Criticizing Israel is not Anti-Semitism. Get it straight.
You anti-Semites use that claim alot. But, everyone sees through you.
oh please any small critique towards Israel is always quick to be labeled as antisemitic
Do you say that to black people too?
The treatment of Palestinians by Israel is apartheid.
Do you know what apartheid means or are you a parrot that repeats things you don’t undertsand?
Explain Arab supreme Court Justices in Israel, then. I’ll wait
But Palestinians teaching their young children to kill all Jews is OK with you, I guess.
This is typical hasbara.
Why is Israel treated different than any other country? When we don’t see articles about Germany, France, Australia, China etc on daily Nexus? Why UCSB –an educational institution– should care about Israel or any other country for that matter? Why Israel students feel the need to do “art” writing Israel on a board at UCSB campus? Who funds that projects?
In what way?
If from the above you cannot understand the ways it is treated differently then I’m sorry…Have you seen an article in a SB or UCSB website supporting the side of any other country? There are controversies all over the world but I haven’t seen the students f any other country trying so hard to explain influence popular opinion with organized propaganda. Have you seen “artists of Germany’ or “artists of Japan” or you name it making huuuuge boards writing down their country name and calling this art? Why should we care about Israel more than any other country? And how… Read more »
wonder if the author has ever been to Gaza or the West Bank. Or cares! As a UCSB Alum I have been there over a dozen times and have worked Doctors Without Borders and even with members of the IDF who have subsequently joined Breaking The Silence to speak out against the Occupation and inhuman treatment of Palestinians. As a member of Jewish Voice for Peace I fully support the non-violent BDS movement just like I did against South African Apartheid. It is not anti-Semitic to fight against Apartheid no matter who’s doing it. When I first went to Israel… Read more »
I am a Jordanian Christian. Everyone I knew, family, friends were murdered by Muslims. The Muslims in Gaza teach their children to kill all Jews. How can you defend that?
Simply not true.
It is completely true, David. Stop lying!
Perhaps a more thoughtful response. First, an apology. Clearly the heinous “murder” of anyone is a serious and devastating crime. But it goes both ways. Jews killing Muslims or Arabs (Christians too) is just as evil. This can’t be resolved by “your murders are worse than my murders so therefore I’m better.” But having been in Gaza so many times I know that Palestinian mothers and fathers do not teach their children to hate Jews or to kill them. It may be true in some cases but there are just as many Jews who teach their kids to hate Muslims… Read more »
I wonder if the author has ever been to Gaza or the West Bank. Or cares! As a UCSB Alum I have been there over a dozen times and have worked Doctors Without Borders and even with members of the IDF who have subsequently joined Breaking The Silence to speak out against the Occupation and inhuman treatment of Palestinians. As a member of Jewish Voice for Peace I fully support the non-violent BDS movement just like I did against South African Apartheid. It is not anti-Semitic to fight against Apartheid no matter who’s doing it. When I first went to… Read more »
Just returned from a trip to Israel and personally witnessed Palestinians attempting to murder people on the street. As a Christian, I try to love others, but Palestinians are animals.
Anonymous, you are a liar. I lived there for four years and the only guns I ever saw were in the hands of Israeli soldiers. State terrorism is never mentioned in this argument. Those with power (Israel) commit the worse violence.
I am sorry that you cannot accept the truth. I was there, I saw it.