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Jul 14, 2014
Presented by
Alan Dershowitz

The latest strategy employed by those who wish to strangle Israel is called BDS. It may sound harmless, but do not be fooled. It stands for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and not only is it poisonous for Israel, but for the world as well. Israel is one of the freest countries on earth, where everyone -- including Arabs -- benefit from that freedom. If Israel continues to be singled out by BDS and suffocated economically, the damage would ripple throughout the globe. In five minutes, learn about BDS and why it must be stopped.

Prager U gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, who sponsored this video.

The BDS movement lies about the history of the West Bank, ignoring that Israel only gained control of it after Jordan attacked Israel. 

  • Jordan attacked Israel in 1967 during the Six Day War, despite Israel’s pleas to Jordan to not invade. Israel defended itself, defeating Jordan and occupying the West Bank, including its Arab residents, known as Palestinian. In other words, if Jordan had not invaded, Israel would never have controlled the West Bank.View Source
  • The BDS movement’s stated goal is to direct economic and political pressure against Israel to force it to give up territory to the Palestinians and give them the “right of return” and full citizenship. The BDS movement fools the public by claiming it supports a peaceful solution. What they don’t say is that they want that solution to eliminate Israel.View Source
  • Related reading: The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can be Resolved – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Case for Israel – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Case Against Israel's Enemies – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict – Walter Laqueur & Dan SchueftanView Source

The BDS movement ignores Israel’s repeated peace offers to the Palestinians—and the Palestinians’ repeated rejections of those offers. 

  • In the peace talks of 2001 and 2007, Israel offered to give back to the Palestinians almost all of the territory Israel currently occupies in the West Bank. Both times, the Palestinians rejected their offers.View Source
  • Palestinian leaders have rejected offers of statehood contingent upon promises of peace numerous times, including in 1938, 1948, 1993, 2001, and 2007. Instead of embracing peace, they have repeatedly sanctioned and participated in terrorism and violence.View Source
  • The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s stated goal is to direct economic and political pressure against Israel to force it to give up territory to the Palestinians and give them the “right of return” and full citizenship. The BDS movement fools the public by claiming it supports a peaceful solution. What they don’t say is that they want that solution to eliminate Israel.View Source
  • Related reading: The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can be Resolved – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Case for Israel – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Case Against Israel's Enemies – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict – Walter Laqueur & Dan SchueftanView Source

The BDS movement ignores the fact that Arabs in Israel have more freedoms than the Arabs in any Arab-majority country.

  • Israel has an independent judiciary, a free press, and an excellent record of human rights and compliance with the rule of law.View Source
  • In a world full of human rights violators, why would the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement single out the most pro-human rights country in the Middle East that has “a boisterous free press, is the model of women’s and gay rights, and whose Arab citizens (1/5 of the country) are the freest in the Arab world”? The reason is that the movement is not about human rights, but about crushing Israel.View Source
  • The BDS movement’s stated goal is to direct economic and political pressure against Israel to force it to give up territory to the Palestinians and give them the “right of return” and full citizenship. The BDS movement fools the public by claiming it supports a peaceful solution. What they don’t say is that they want that solution to eliminate Israel.View Source
  • Related reading: The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can be Resolved – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Case for Israel – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict – Walter Laqueur & Dan SchueftanView Source

The BDS movement cares more about destroying Israel than about improving the lives of Arabs.

  • Israel has an independent judiciary, a free press, and an excellent record of human rights and compliance with the rule of law.View Source
  • In a world full of human rights violators, why would the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement single out the most pro-human rights country in the Middle East that has “a boisterous free press, is the model of women’s and gay rights, and whose Arab citizens (1/5 of the country) are the freest in the Arab world”? The reason is that the movement is not about human rights, but about crushing Israel.View Source
  • The BDS movement’s stated goal is to direct economic and political pressure against Israel to force it to give up territory to the Palestinians and give them the “right of return” and full citizenship. The BDS movement fools the public by claiming it supports a peaceful solution. What they don’t say is that they want that solution to eliminate Israel.View Source
  • Related reading: The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can be Resolved – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Case for Israel – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict – Walter Laqueur & Dan SchueftanView Source

Israel has an obligation to build walls and security checkpoints that will keep terrorists away from Israeli civilians.

  • Israel’s defensive walls and security checkpoints are responses to repeated terrorist attacks—not an attempt to “encircle the Palestinian population and to seize more land for Israeli control,” as anti-Israel activists claim.View Source
  • Israel built the defensive walls after years of suicide bombings following the 2000 peace talks, in which they offered to give back much of the territory they occupied in the West Bank—an offer the Palestinians rejected.View Source
  • After Israel constructed the West Bank security fence in 2003, terror attacks against Israelis dropped 90 percent.View Source
  • Related reading: Terror Tunnels: The Case for Israel's Just War Against Hamas – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Case for Israel – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Case Against Israel's Enemies – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict – Walter Laqueur & Dan SchueftanView Source

After Israel built the West Bank security fence, terror attacks against Israelis dropped by 90 percent.

  • After Israel constructed the West Bank security fence in 2003, terror attacks against Israelis dropped 90 percent.View Source
  • Israel built the defensive walls after years of suicide bombings following the 2000 peace talks, in which they offered to give back much of the territory they occupied in the West Bank—an offer the Palestinians rejected.View Source
  • Related reading: The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can be Resolved – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Case for Israel – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Case Against Israel's Enemies – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict – Walter Laqueur & Dan SchueftanView Source

The BDS movement does not want peace in the Middle East—unless that peace comes after Israel’s destruction.

  • The Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement incentivizes Palestinian leaders to reject peace. How? By convincing them that Israel can be destroyed if it becomes an international pariah and is economically and diplomatically isolated.View Source
  • The movement also takes the focus away from other human rights situations that are far more deserving of attention, such as Turkey and Syria.View Source
  • The BDS movement’s stated goal is to direct economic and political pressure against Israel to force it to give up territory to the Palestinians and give them the “right of return” and full citizenship. The BDS movement fools the public by claiming it supports a peaceful solution. What they don’t say is that they want that solution to eliminate Israel.View Source
  • Related reading: The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can be Resolved – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Case for Israel – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Case Against Israel's Enemies – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict – Walter Laqueur & Dan SchueftanView Source

The leaders of the BDS movement have no interest in a two-state solution. They want Israel gone.

  • The Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement’s stated goal is to direct economic and political pressure against Israel to force it to give up territory to the Palestinians and give them the “right of return” and full citizenship. The BDS movement fools the public by claiming it supports a peaceful solution. What they don’t say is that they want that solution to eliminate Israel.View Source
  • The BDS movement incentivizes Palestinian leaders to reject peace. How? By convincing them that Israel can be destroyed if it becomes an international pariah and is economically and diplomatically isolated.View Source
  • Related reading: The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can be Resolved – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Case for Israel – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Case Against Israel's Enemies – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict – Walter Laqueur & Dan SchueftanView Source

If you align yourself with the BDS movement, you’re aligning yourself with people who want to destroy Israel.

  • The Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement’s stated goal is to direct economic and political pressure against Israel to force it to give up territory to the Palestinians and give them the “right of return” and full citizenship. The BDS movement fools the public by claiming it supports a peaceful solution. What they don’t say is that they want that solution to eliminate Israel.View Source
  • The BDS movement incentivizes Palestinian leaders to reject peace. How? By convincing them that Israel can be destroyed if it becomes an international pariah and is economically and diplomatically isolated.View Source
  • Related reading: The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can be Resolved – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Case for Israel – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Case Against Israel's Enemies – Alan DershowitzView Source
  • Related reading: The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict – Walter Laqueur & Dan SchueftanView Source

Those who hate the free and democratic state of Israel have dreamed up yet another way to destroy it. It has an innocuous name, but not an innocuous purpose. It's called the BDS Movement. The initials stand for Boycott, Divest, and Sanction. 

Created by Palestinian academics, it calls on individuals, on companies, on colleges, churches, cities, and even countries to starve Israel economically and isolate it socially. The ostensible reason for this is Israel's alleged mistreatment of Palestinians living in the areas of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. 

Now, I support the idea of the creation of a Palestinian State. Actually, so do most Israelis.  And I am not a particularly supportive of the West Bank settlement policy of the Israeli government. But I condemn the BDS Movement in the strongest possible terms. Anyone who as any interest in creating a climate for peace in the Middle East should also condemn the BDS Movement as should anyone who simply understands the immorality of singling out Israel, of all the world's countries, for economic strangulation.

Here's why.

First, the BDS Movement ignores historical reality. You don't have to delve too deeply into late twentieth century history to learn that Israel gained control over the West Bank only after it had been attacked by Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War. 

No attack by Jordan -- no Israel in the West Bank.  It's as simple as that. Furthermore, Israel, on at least two separate occasions, mostly recently in both 2000 and 2008, has tried to give almost all of the land it acquired in 1967 in the West Bank back to the Palestinians. It is the Palestinians who have rejected each of these offers. In other words, there is no need for the BDS Movement, since Israel wants to give the Palestinians their own country. Israel only asks that it be able to live in peace in return. 

Second, the BDS Movement ignores current reality. Israel is one of the freest countries in the world and by far the freest in the Middle East, an area where there is precious little freedom. In a world full of human rights violators of the most blatant kind why would you want to boycott a country that has a boisterous free press, is a model of women's and gay rights, and whose Arab citizens, one fifth of the country, are the freest in the Arab World? Let me repeat: the Arab citizens of Israel, who make up one fifth of Israel's population, are freer than all Arabs living in Arab countries around the world.

Now, the common sense principle of human rights is deal with "the worst first." By this principle there should be a BDS Movement against North Korea, against Syria, against Sudan or a dozen other countries. Israel wouldn't even make the list. Of course Israel has flaws. But, like all vibrant democracies with regular elections and functioning courts of law, it makes a constant effort to correct them. Let's not forget that Israel did not build a security fence on the border of the West Bank or establish check points because it wanted to keep hard working Palestinians out of Israel. It did these things because it wanted to keep terrorists out of Israel after enduring years of horrific suicide bombings following the peace talks that the Palestinians rejected in 2000. 

Third, the BDS Movement makes peace much less likely.  Why? Because the Palestinians, if they believe that the BDS Movement can strangle Israel economically and make it an international pariah, why should they ever negotiate? Why not just wait until Israel has no choice but to capitulate. 

But the BDS Movement doesn't just hurt Israel. It hurts everyone. Israeli scientists and engineers are leading innovators in the fields of medical technology, in the fields of renewable energy, water conservation. The BDS Movement wants to keep these scientists as well as Israeli historians, and other academics from sharing their innovations and their knowledge and their insights with the world.  With you.  But the BDS activists don't care about helping the world. They care about hurting Israel.

This leads to one final issue that has to be confronted: the motives of the people behind the BDS Movement.  Here those tempted to support this movement must be very careful.  The leaders of the BDS Movement have no interest in a two-state solution. They reject the concept of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. The BDS Movement deliberately fools people. It claims to be opposed only to Israel's settlement policy when, in fact, it's opposed to Israel's very existence.

You may have sympathy for the Palestinians and wish to help them. I share that sympathy. But by aligning yourself with the BDS Movement, you are aligning yourself with people who don't want to see both sides thrive. They want to want to see one side, Israel, destroyed. They don't merely want to see a change in policy, they want to see an end to the nation state of the Jewish people. 

Do you want to spend your time and moral energy supporting such a cause? For decent people, the answer is no. 

I'm Alan Dershowitz, Professor of Law at Harvard University for Prager University.

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