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BDS – The Truth Behind Boycott, Divest and Sanction

BDS – The Truth Behind Boycott, Divest and Sanction

BDS, most of us know it by its initials, have little clue what it actually is, but know that it is directed at Israel, so what is the claim that it is set up for, what is the reality?

According to its own website BDS describes itself as a harmless, yet well-meaning movement:

According to its own website BDS describes itself as a harmless, yet well-meaning movement:

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

They go on to claim:

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice, and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.

Israel is occupying and colonizing Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law.

BDS is now a vibrant global movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements across the world. Eleven years since its launch, BDS is having a major impact and is effectively challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism.

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Let’s break down this claim.

  1. Israel is occupying and colonizing Palestinian land

To claim someplace is occupied implies that at one time the land was held sovereign by Palestine, but the fact is there has never been a nation called Palestine in the history of this world. Only a territory called the Mandate of Palestine, and in Roman times after the war with Judea and the Jews, to erase all Jewish claim to the land, the Romans broke up the district of Judea, and combined it with the Syrian providence of Rome, renaming the whole area Syria/Palestinia.

From this time until the present nation of Israel, there has only ever been one sovereign state, that would have been in the crusader time, it was the crusader kingdom of Jerusalem, a kingdom that stood for 90 years, but during that time saw its sovereignty whittled away piece by peace by the Muslim reconquest of land they had lost to the crusaders. There were other attempts to reestablish the kingdom after this, but never again was Jerusalem conquered nor the extent of kingdom ever against known.

So one has to ask if they lost sovereignty when did they have it? In 1517 the Ottoman Empire defeated the Mamluk kingdom, took control of what today is Israel, Judea and Samaria, and Gaza, made it a district, it knew no self-rule from 1517 until 1948, so how exactly is this claim accurate, there was no sovereign state?

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In any court of law, if you are going to claim theft, you first have to establish ownership, in a national sense, you would have to establish sovereignty, yet no one can show this, so one has to ask, if there was sovereignty stolen, why can’t anyone explain when it was lost? I deal with this with the three-part series DID ISRAEL STEAL THE ANCESTRAL HOME OF THE PALESTINIANS?

The land was passed from the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire to the League of Nations in the Treaty of Sevres, in other words, the League of Nations received sovereignty over the land from the Ottoman Empire who held this for the last 400 years, so when was a Palestinian nation? The answer is NEVER.

But let’s continue.

2. Discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel

Here is another false claim, the Arab citizens of Israel, I already dealt with the historical claim of the Palestinians in PALESTINIANS: WHAT IS FACT, WHAT IS FICTION, you can not just make up a history, then claim with this that land you never possessed was stolen from you, that creates a problem, yet that is what is being done with this narrative.

But they go on further to claim that the Arabs, I will no longer dignify the Palestinian lie, that these people, the Israeli Arab citizens are discriminated against, but one has to ask, where is their evidence of this? Israeli Arabs are given the same rights as an Israeli Jew, they vote, the political party Joint List (an Arab unity Party) is the third largest political party in Israel, so they are allowed to vote, they have 20% of the Israeli Knesset made up of Arabs, that is their percentage of the population the Arabs are.

3. Israel is a apartheid state

This claim, along with the declaration of apartheid is nothing but a lie, there is apartheid there, but it surely is not by the Israeli’s, their Arab citizens enjoy the same rights as an Israeli Jew, visit the same courts (many times in front of an Arab Justice), are bound by the same laws. An Arab serves on the Israeli Supreme Court, so this claim that there is apartheid or lack of equal protection is an outright lie, I deal with this more in IS ISRAEL AN APARTHEID STATE, this whole claim is shown as nothing but a fabrication.

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So far we have seen all of this is nothing but a lie, the claim that somehow Israel is not complying with international law is equally of nonsense, ask someone to please show me the law that states this, you get rather complex and differing answers.

Here lies the problem, you have a people who claim the land was stolen from them, but ask them for proof of ownership, you get nothing, they can’t even show the historical evidence of their claim being a unique people, let alone ever holding sovereignty over the land. I deal with this, point out how the whole “Palestinian” claim started, who started it and how it was created in ORIGINS OF THE PALESTINIAN NARRATIVE.

So we come to the final question, if we have a claim that is made on a false premise, made up with claims that are not true, nor can be proven, then what is the real intent of BDS? I think the best way to finish this up is to allow the founders of BDS to tell you themselves:

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“Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish state itself…BDS does mean the end of the Jewish state. But can’t I see the value in reaching across the aisle, so to speak? The movement may be burgeoning but remains too small. Why shouldn’t we indulge in ad hoc partnerships to get things done? Richard Silverstein, Richard Goldstone, and many other self-proclaimed Zionists have done an immeasurably positive amount of work in skinning the Zionist cat (That’s a deliberate analogy. I don’t kid myself about how difficult it must be for a Jewish person to criticize the Zionist state), shouldn’t they be asked to join the BDS movement?

To be sure, I’m not dogmatically against cooperating with people whose views I find objectionable. If it came down to it, I’d be happy to work with the racist up the street to get the city to fix a neighborhood pothole.” -Ahmed Moor, Pro-BDS Author

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“BDS represents three words that will help bring about the defeat of Zionist Israel and victory for Palestine.” –Ronnie Kasrils

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“[Israel] was Palestine, and there is no reason why it should not be renamed Palestine.” –Omar Barghouti, Founder, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.”


“[Palestinians have a right to] resistance by any means, including armed resistance. [Jews] aren’t indigenous just because you say you are….[Jews] are not a people…the UN’s principle of the right to self-determination applies only to colonized people who want to acquire their rights. ” –Omar Bargouti


“Going back to the two-state solution, besides having passed its expiry date, it was never a moral solution to start with. We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it, for Zionism is intent on killing itself.” – Omar Bargouti

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“Good riddance! The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is finally dead. But someone has to issue an official death certificate before the rotting corpse is given a proper burial and we can all move on and explore the more just, moral and therefore enduring alternative for peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Mandate Palestine: the one-state solution.” – Omar Bargouti


“(The one-state solution means) a unitary state, where, by definition, Jews will be a minority.” – Omar Bargouti


“I am completely and categorically against bi-nationalism because it assumes that there are two nations with equal moral claims to the land.” – Omar Bargouti


“If the refugees were to return, you would not have a two-state solution, you’d have a Palestine next to a Palestine.” –Omar Barghouti quoting Sari Nusseibeh, President of Al Quds University. You can also hear him say this around 4:56 of this video.

“The ‘two-state solution,’…as dictated by Israel, omits basic Palestinian rights…[and] would be yet another act of British complicity in bestowing legitimacy on Israel’s unjust order.” –Omar Barghouti


“A Jewish state in Palestine in any shape or form cannot but contravene the basic rights of the indigenous Palestinian population and perpetuate a system of racial discrimination that ought to be opposed categorically….Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.” –Omar Barghouti 


“You cannot reconcile the right of return for refugees with a two-state solution….a return for refugees would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. A two-state solution was never moral and it’s no longer working.” –Omar Barghouti

“You cannot reconcile the right of return for refugees with a two-state solution….a return for refugees would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. A two-state solution was never moral and it’s no longer working.” –Omar Barghouti


“[Jews] did not suffer in Arab countries. There were no pogroms. There was no persecution.” – Omar Barghouti


“The BDS movement was launched because of the ongoing failure to protect the rights of the Palestinian people. Some of these rights were frittered away: The Right of Return is in danger, the right of our people to the 1948 lands is in danger and even the right of our people to the 1967 lands. Some of these rights are ignored. The BDS movement was created in 2005, in order to focus on the elimination of the occupation, on the elimination of the system of racial segregation – the Israeli apartheid – and on the right of the refugees to return to the homes from which they were expelled.” – Omar Barghouthi


“I clearly do not buy into the two-state solution.” –Omar Barghouti

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“The real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel….That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.” –As’ad AbuKhalil

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“Peace-or better yet, justice-cannot be achieved without a total decolonization (one can say de-Zionization) of the Israeli state.” –Michael Warschawski, BDS activist

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“I think the BDS movement will gain strength from forthrightly explaining why Israel has no right to exist.” – John Spritzler, Pro-BDS Author

“BDS’s stated goals (ending the Occupation, equality for non-Jews and Jews, and the right of return of the Palestinian refugees) logically imply the end of Israel as a Jewish state….The “state of the Jews” is actually an instrument by which a Jewish elite ruling class of billionaires and generals and politicians secures its oppressive grip on ordinary Jews in Israel…This is why there should not be a Jewish state.” – John Spritzler

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“Our corporation boycotts all Israeli products and services, and encourages other institutions, companies, and individuals to cease and avoid all economic, academic and cultural activity that supports the racist state of Israel until that state dissolves itself.” –Paul Larudee, Co-founder, Free Palestine Movement

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“Israel is the oppressor, not the settlements.” –Hind Awwad
National Coordinator, BDS Committee

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“The goal of #BDS is the full restoration of Palestinian rights, not an agreement to create an artificial mini-state in order to save Zionism” – Ali Abunimah, BDS activist

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“Zionists complain [BDS] demands spell the end of the “Jewish state.” They are correct. A “Jewish state” is by definition dedicated to the supremacy of Jews over non-Jews in Palestine, and is therefore irreconcilable with the justice advocated by BDS.” – David Litwin, BDS activist

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“Any call for boycott, divestment, or sanctions, for whatever motive (even on behalf of the settlers!) is seen, rightly, as a blow against the legitimacy of Israel… it will be rightly perceived by the pro-Israel crowd as  a threat, even an “existential one,” to use Prime Minister Netanyahu’s characterization of all  BDS.” – Jeremiah Haber, BDS supporter

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“[The two-state solution] was a charade, to begin with, and has played itself out.” – Kumars Salehi, BDS supporter

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“Bringing down Israel will really benefit everyone in the world and everyone in society, particularly workers,” – Lara Kiswani, executive director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, BDS activist

“I think the end-all of BDS is to weaken Israel, to isolate Israel, and give the global community a role in the liberation of Palestine and support the resistance on the ground in Palestine.” – Lara Kiswani

“We’re resisting colonialism in Palestine, and colonialism entails all of occupied Palestine, from Haifa to Jerusalem, to Ramallah…” –Lara Kiswani

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“You can’t have coexistence with Zionists. Their purpose of Zionism is discrimination, elimination and ethnic cleansing of a group of people, so if you want to talk about coexistence, I’m not talking with you because you’re going to try to kill me. I’m Muslim.” – Azka Fayyaz, BDS leader at UC Davis

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“We need to wipe out Israel.” – Anna Baltzer, pro-BDS activist

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“Last week, the Palestinian BDS National Committee called for a wave of actions and protests in solidarity with the Palestinian popular resistance…” – BDS Movement Official Statement

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“Are you angry? Well, we’ve been watching intifada in Palestine, we’ve been watching an uprising in Iraq, and the question is that what are we doing? How come we don’t have an intifada [armed struggle] in this country? …and it’s about time that we have an intifada in this country that change[s] fundamentally the political dynamics in here…They’re going to say [that] some Palestinian are being too radical; well, you haven’t seen radicalism yet!” – Professor Hatem Bazian, founder of Students for Justice in Palestine

“[W]e in this movement [should] support the resistance against American imperialism by any means necessary.” – Professor Hatem Bazian

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“We can build a still-stronger BDS movement beginning in the name of Palestinian freedom and ending in a permanent blow against American empire.” – Bill Mullen

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“Boycotting Israel IS anti-Israel, which is fine, as long as Israel continues to violate and deny Palestinian rights.” – Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director, Campaign for Palestinian Rights

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I am by no means a fan of Norman Finkelstein, disagree with most of what he says, will openly tell you and him to his face I think he is a pompous ass, but in this, I have to 100% agree with what he stated, and could not say it better myself.

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“I mean we have to be honest, and I loathe the disingenuousness. They don’t want Israel. They think they are being very clever; they call it their three tiers. We want the end of the occupation, the right of return, and we want equal rights for Arabs in Israel. And they think they are very clever because they know the result of implementing all three is what, what is the result? You know and I know what the result is. There’s no Israel!

“They say no they’re not really talking about rights. They’re talking about they want to destroy Israel. And in fact, I think they’re right I think that’s true. I’m not going to lie. But this kind of duplicity and disingenuous, “oh we’re agnostic about Israel.” No, you’re not agnostic! You don’t want it! Then just say it!

“The moment you go out there Israel will start to say ‘What about us?’ and ‘They won’t recognize our right’ and in fact that’s correct. You can’t answer the Israelis on that because they’re making a statement that’s factually correct. It’s not an accidental and unwitting omission that BDS does not mention Israel. You know that and I know that. It’s not like they’re ‘oh we forgot to mention it.’ They won’t mention it because they know it will split the movement. Cause there’s a large segment of the movement that wants to eliminate Israel.” –Norman Finkelstein critiquing the BDS movement

I do believe in BDS, but not the one that these people are preaching, the one I believe in is here:

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Did Israel Steal the Ancestral Home of the Palestinians? Part 1

Is Israel An Apartheid State?

Palestinians: What is Fact, What is Fiction

The Palestinian Claim to Jerusalem


About The Author

Timothy Benton

Author has studied Middle East History for the last 35 years, am a lifetime student of history. Has an interest in sports, tech, history and political events. Works as a Republican political commentator who looks at events from a conservative's perspective.

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