By Christine Darg
Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel are moral failures, deeply flawed, based upon racist antisemitism. An alarming growth in BDS is rapidly spreading across Europe.
Recently in the House of Lords former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks described the rise of antisemitism in Europe today as being similar to the period leading up to the Holocaust.
A university study on the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors shows that after more than 70 years, the damage inflicted on Holocaust descendants is still measurable in their brains.
Moreover, BDS actually hurts the economic well-being of Arabs living in Israel as well as Israeli Jews.
These are some of the views expressed this week in London by Israeli Members of Knesset (MK) Orit Farash-HaCohen and Sherren Haskel as well as Israeli diplomats, Jewish and Christian leaders at two events sponsored by the Israeli Allies Caucus and the Jerusalem Channel. KCAC director Josh Reinstein: “We anticipate that this event will invigorate our network of supporters in the UK to strengthen their commitment to stand by the State of Israel and reject all forms of antisemitism, even when they are disguised as anti-Zionism.”
Israel faces challenges not shared by any other democracy. The Islamic Republic of Iran threatens the region through its terrorist satellites Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon.
Explaining that throughout history antisemitism has come in waves, MK Haskel said, “We are amidst another rising wave of antisemitism and religious intolerance in which European antisemitism is masked in the territorial mask of anti-Zionism.”
In his remarks to the Jerualem Channel, Ambassador Regev said that as antisemitism rears its head, “Christians are also enduring untold discrimination and worse,” anding that “these threats require us to stand together and to stand up for the values we share.”
Indeed, as I often observe, the pressures of antisemitism and religious persecution are pushing the People of the Book, Jews and Christians, closer together!
Barbara Dingle, Jerusalem Channel trustee, noted that one-sixth of all medications dispensed in Britain’s National Health Service are of Israeli origin and that some sort of public acknowledgment should be noted, especially amongst patients who are inclined to agree with the BDS false narratives.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Regev noted that the Israel UK partnership is growing stronger: “Our bilateral trade reached a record £8.6 billion in 2018, our security cooperation is saving British and Israel lives and the research partnerships between our universities are solving technological, medical and ecological challenges of our time.”
Earlier this year, Israel made history when it became the first country to finalise a trade deal with Britain, following Brexit, which will create even more jobs and prosperity.
At the Jerusalem Channel dinner, Deputy Ambassador Sharon Bar-Li said that the BDS movement is failing: “How do we know that? We know that by looking at the raw numbers for trade between our two democracies. In 2018, trade between Israel and the UK reached a record £8.6 billion, up from £6.9 billion the year before: that’s a remarkable 25% percent year-on-year increase, making the BDS movement an empirical failure.”
“But far more importantly,” she added, “I think all of us here agree that the BDS movement is a moral failure for three reasons:”
“First of all the BDS movement is a moral failure because it claims to be anti-racist, but is racist itself because it singles out Israel and Israelis for opprobrium and demonization. From university campuses, to town halls, and supermarkets, no other country is targeted by such vile and vitriolic protests in this way.”
Secondly, the BDS movement is a moral failure because it claims to stand up for the Palestinians, but the Palestinians end up as its victims. From staying silent when it comes to the PA and Hamas’ routine human rights violations, to praising terrorists, and undermining Palestinian workers, the boycott movement’s activists are damaging the welfare of those they claim to support.Thirdly, the BDS movement is a moral failure because it “denies my people’s historic connection to our homeland, rejects our right to national self-determination, and undermines peace,” Bar-Li said.
Only last week the Bahraini Foreign Minister publicly acknowledged that Israel is part of the heritage of the Middle East, and that “communication needs to be a prerequisite” to solving the conflict.
Meanwhile, other countries around the world are recognizing that the BDS movement is morally wrong. Barely a month ago, the German Bundestag passed a resolution calling BDS antisemitic, and demanding that public funding be denied to organisations supporting boycotts. To date, 27 states in the USA have passed resolutions against BDS. Separately, in reaction to the BDS movement, the U.S. Congress is considering anti-boycott legislation as well.
We hope and pray that a similar resolution will soon happen in the British Parliament.
As watchmen, we call upon intercessors for the Middle East and those who pray for the peace of Jerusalem to champion shared Judeo-Christian values. In fact, a vicar from the Church of England who attended our two events wrote,
“Many thanks for the most wonderful double event which was a huge honour for me to attend. There was something quite unique about it, perhaps summing up when one of the ladies from the Knesset talked about us being like family. I now feel very commissioned to be an ambassador against antisemitism. God’s Holy Spirit was working mightily.”