The BDS Movement ("Boycott, Divest from, and Sanction Israel") is Wrong

Dr. Phillip M. Feldman


I like Denis MacEoin's recent editorial for the Gatestone Institute, in which he comments on a letter published in The Guardian [a stridently anti-Israel British newspaper] calling for a boycott of an Israeli film festival. The following is quoted MacEoin's piece.

The Guardian has published ... praise for several North Korean films, including A Flower Girl. But North Korea is one of the world's most repressive and dangerous states, governed by a regime that might even make the Ayatollahs of Iran hesitate. So why no letters in The Guardian boycotting their films? Oh, I forgot, nobody ever calls for a boycott of North Korea or any really repressive state.

The activists never march against Saudi Arabia, which has just confirmed the sentence of a blogger, Raif Badawi, to a flogging of 1000 lashes, "very harshly" as the flogging order read, as a punishment for writing thoughts such as, "My commitment is... to reject any oppression in the name of religion... a goal we will reach in a peaceful and law-abiding way." They never march against Qatar, Iran, North Korea, China, Russia or Sudan.

To uphold human rights by supporting a murderous terrorist state, while condemning a democracy [Israel] forced to defend itself against outside forces bent on its destruction -- do any of these writers know what free speech or human rights are about, what democracy means or what international law consists of? One suspects not.

I disagree with MacEoin on one point. I am convinced that most western-educated followers of the BDS movement understand the basic concepts of free speech, human rights, and democracy, and perhaps even place some value on these things. But, their hatred of Israel is so powerful that the desire for the elimination of the Jewish state submerges and overrides other values.

I want to close by departing from the immediate subject of the above quotation to consider a hypothetical question: What would ensue if the enemies of the Jewish state were somehow successful in eliminating Israel? I believe that the best likely outcome would be yet another corrupt, authoritarian, Arab dictatorship. At worst, we would get an extension of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Would any part of Israel's present population benefit from these outcomes? I leave the reader to ponder these questions.

Last update: 30 Aug., 2015