The Long History of the Boycott-Israel Movement and Its Terrorist Roots

January 29, 2020 | David May
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In a detailed study of the origins, activities, successes, and failures of the movement to boycott, sanction, and divest from the Jewish state (BDS), David May shows that economic warfare against Zionism dates back nearly 100 years:

During the Fifth Palestine Arab Congress in 1922, Arab leaders encouraged an official boycott of Jewish businesses, as they would at subsequent conferences. . . . On December 2, 1945, three years before Israel’s founding, the newly formed League of Arab States sought to address “the Zionist danger” by enacting a general boycott of the Jewish presence in Palestine.

After the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, the Arab League intensified its efforts, launching a . . . boycott [that] forbade Arab states, including their businesses and citizens, from trading with Israel. This campaign expanded in 1950, adding a secondary boycott that banned Arab countries from engaging with companies that did business with Israel.

But BDS in its modern iteration took shape at the beginning of the current century, culminating in the official “BDS call” issued in 2005 which, contrary to the claims of its propagandists, did not emerge out of “Palestinian civil society”:

The first organization listed as signatory of the BDS call was the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, [which] includes several U.S.-designated terrorist groups, including Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The BDS National Committee established in 2007 to help steer and promote the campaign names the Council first in its list of member organizations.

May concludes by urging Washington to take several steps to curtail BDS, among them:

The United States should shield U.S. entities from requirements to report to international organizations on their business activities with Israel or Israeli entities. The BDS campaign seeks to use spurious reporting requirements to deter legitimate trade and commercial activity with the state of Israel.

All executive-branch agencies, [moreover], especially the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Departments of Defense, State, and Education, should determine whether nonprofit organizations that receive U.S. government grants are engaging in politically motivated boycotts of Israel or Israeli companies.

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