The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel often presents itself as a non-violent method to support Palestinian rights. It is critical to understand, however, that to the founders and leaders of the movement, BDS is a tool to bring about the end of the State of Israel.
In the video below, Omar Barghouti — a founding member and leading activist of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) — explains frankly and clearly that, despite what many might think, the end of Israel’s military presence and the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza is not the end game of BDS.
“If the occupation ends, let’s say, would that end your calls for BDS? No, it wouldn’t,” he said.
What, then, does BDS aim for?
The BDS movement has a list of demands: They will maintain a boycott of Israel until it “ends the occupation of all Arab lands,” until it recognizes the “fundamental right of Arab citizens of Israel to full equality,” and until it grants the “right of return” to Palestinian refugees.
In the video below, Mr. Barghouti explains the true implications of BDS’s third demand — the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees.
“If the refugees were to return,” he says, “you would not have a two state solution. Like one Palestinian commentator said, ‘You would have a Palestine next to a Palestine, rather than a Palestine next to Israel.’”
To put it more plainly, if the Palestinians refugees and millions of their descendants were to return to the homes they left in 1948 — a right afforded to no other misplaced population of the 20th century, and certainly not to their descendants — there would be no Israel — no Jewish state or Jewish self-determination.
Mr. Barghouti — and the BDS leadership as a whole — does not believe in the right of the Jewish people to possess a sovereign state in any part of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
“The BDS movement was launched because of the ongoing failure to protect the rights of the Palestinian people,” he says below. “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.”
In the eyes of BDS, the Palestinians not only have a right to the 1967 lands, meaning the lands controlled by Israel as a result of the Six-Day War — Eastern Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip — but they also have a right to the 1948 lands, meaning the land within the internationally recognized boundaries of the State of Israel.
Below, Mr. Barghouti explains it even more plainly.
“Definitely, most definitely, we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine,” he says, referring to the entire stretch of land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea — all of Israel and the Palestinian territories.
We at Creative Community For Peace hope for a peaceful and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We believe dialogue, which can be facilitated through the arts and music, is crucial to helping to achieve this goal. The BDS movement — both through its aims and its tactics — is antithetical to a truly just and peaceful resolution.