BDS in a Nutshell: What the Global “Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel” Movement is Really About


Israeli news is currently abuzz with disturbing reports of the escalating international BDS movement. The campaign was launched officially in 2001 at the strongly anti-Israel, UN Durban I Conference. BDS advocates the boycott of Israeli goods, products and many times, people. Israeli professionals, from academics to athletes and artists have found themselves targets of the boycott, excluded from professional organizations, competitions and more. At the urging of some Christian Palestinianist groups, several large Christian denominations are among the most vocal advocates of BDS.

The stated goal of BDS is to economically isolate and strangle the Jewish state. Sometimes this goal is obscured as the dismantling of all Israeli settlements and her retreat to pre-1967 borders, meaning indefensible 1949 Armistice lines. Ostensibly, the campaign aims only to achieve justice for the purported state of Palestine. In reality, however, Palestinian Arabs under Israeli jurisdiction now find themselves singularly protected from horrific injustices sustained by many other Arab groups in the Middle East. Moreover, evidence strongly points to the Palestinians’ own elected leadership as a (or possibly even the) prime reason for their suffering.

Over a decade ago, BDS proponents were sufficiently savvy to target future Western leaders on university campuses and other liberal institutions, such as mainstream media outlets. In 2015, many Israelis believe the propaganda campaign is beginning to prove effective. Meanwhile, those who follow the money readily trace BDS funding sources to Islamist regimes and political lobbies. These groups demonstrate little interest in human freedoms or biblical justice. They do, however, express endless hatred for Jews.

The BDS movement pressures both public and private institutions to divest not only from Israeli companies, but from any company that does business—to any degree—with any Israeli enterprise. This explains why some prominent retail chains now find themselves the target of whole-scale boycotts. If one of thousands of products they sell happens to be Israeli, the entire retail chain, together with any parent company, may be boycotted.

BDS pundits rarely mention that Israeli inventions include a burgeoning array of lifesaving pharmaceutical and medical interventions, computer chips used in nearly every electronic device, cell phones, instant messaging, drip irrigation, water desalination technologies for drought stricken regions, cutting edge solar energy utilizations, and many other environmental and counter-terror solutions beneficial to the world. To boycott these tangible blessings would seem to amount to the proverbial cutting off of one’s nose to spite one’s face. Does this really achieve justice for Palestinians, Israelis or other nations? When urged to jump aboard BDS, let’s think “buy, discern and support” Israel—and God’s ways for biblical peace and justice for Israelis and Palestinians. Let’s think about ways to express His Kingdom salvation to both peoples.