“A Front for Terrorist Groups”: the “murky” story behind the anti-Semitic BDS movement

JERUSALEM, Israel – Ben & Jerry’s recently made a decision that put the BDS movement back in the headlines. Glaciers have stopped doing business in what they called the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” otherwise known as the West Bank.

The decision gave a boost to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and raised questions about where it gets its funding.

Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, told CBN News that the source of the BDS movement’s money is “very murky.”

“You have a lot of groups that operate on what appear to be tight budgets and yet we see the BDS movement thriving and thriving on college campuses. I think that means it’s a very decentralized funding network, ”he said.

In 2016, Jonathan Schanzer testified before Congress and shared his research on funding the BDS movement.

“We eventually came across a group called American Muslims for Palestine and many of them turned out to be working for charities that had previously been shut down by the US government for supporting Hamas,” Schanzer said. “Of course, that surprised us. The more we dug, the more we realized that there was a network, relatively small but apparently influential that was active on campus … I think ultimately that, even though this group does not engage in anything illegal, and I think it is important to Emphasize that their background is important. It is not just a movement for social justice motivated by very ideological reasons.

Schanzer told CBN News that the network is now doing what it did in 2016. In a related development, Israel recently targeted six NGOs for allegedly aiding the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States. .

“The PFLP has a number of charities that have been active here, NGOs rather, that have been active here in the United States and in Israel and in the Palestinian territories that have pushed a very negative narrative towards it. ‘Israel and have advocated for BDS,’ says Schanzer.

Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO of the International Legal Forum, said that “a number of these so-called charities and NGOs are really a front for terrorist groups like the PFLP to funnel money that ultimately goes into action. terrorists and to promote boycott activities ”.

Ostrovsky says boycott activities go back 20 years to the movement’s start at a United Nations conference in South Africa designed to fight racism.

“Instead of the international community coming together to fight racism, it ended up promoting racism and against one state and one state, the Jewish state of Israel,” Ostrovsky said.

Einat Wilf, co-author of Return war, says it helped propel BDS to become a key weapon against the Jewish state.

“By repeated wars, invasions, terrorism, economic boycotts; they failed. None of these violent efforts to defeat the sovereign state of the Jewish people has succeeded. Thus, BDS, the right of return, the request to settle in Israel, have become the only tools by which the Palestinians still hope to achieve their goals, ”Wilf said.

Wilf emphasizes that the main tactic is to demonize and delegitimize Israel.

“The placard strategy is the equations that anyone who goes to an anti-Israel protest sees it on their placards. They are structured that way. He says, “Zionism is equal” or “Israel is equal” or sometimes he just says “The Star of David is equal”… These words are all chosen because in our collective consciousness they denote evil. So what’s going on through the placard strategy is that people are exposed to an ongoing chorus that says, “Zionism, Israel, Star of David equals evil,” Wilf says.

This, according to Wilf, promotes the idea of ​​Israel as a global villain.

“Now there is no greater good in this world than the eradication of evil. So if you create that mental state of mind, you create a world state of mind that there is an evil there, and the evil is Israel and Zionism. And through the placard strategy, people have this refrain in mind: “Israel, Zionism, the Star of David is evil. Then you create an invitation to violence. You say basically because Israel, Zionism and the Star of David are bad, anything you do to rid the world of this evil will be justified, ”she said.

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Ostrovsky says it helps explain the growth in global violence against Jews earlier this year during Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza.

“Now that doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It is the direct result of this ubiquitous discourse that singles out and defames the Jewish state… and it goes to the very heart, the very center of what the BDS movement does, ”Ostrovsky explains.

Since much of this talk takes place in colleges and universities, Wilf says BDS creates a dangerous place for young Jewish students.

“What we are clearly seeing is in the places where the BDS movement is rising, particularly on American campuses, you see greater violence of all kinds towards Jewish students and especially students who identify as Zionists. or pro-Israel, to the point that today, more and more Jewish students are inquiring about whether their campus has a substantial BDS presence before choosing a college. “

The economic impact of BDS on Israel seems minimal, especially as the “Start-Up Nation” is strengthening itself financially thanks to its links with its Arab neighbors and the Abrahamic accords. Schanzer warns, however, that the battleground is not so much the economy, but the hearts and minds of future generations.

“Especially on the college campuses that teach them, I think of a lot of lies about Israel, about its history, about its politics, and that will certainly make it harder for Israel in the future as it fights future generations. of what we would call “the BDSers,” “he says.

Schanzer adds, “I think this represents the big challenge, not a well-funded movement as some suggest… And we also see it intersect with business trends such as social and governance. These are the kind of traps we see around the BDS movement, but the ideology is the same. It is dedication to the destruction of the Jewish state and, sadly, it has been around for over seven decades and continues. “

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