Why Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is hatred masquerading as policy

Even a cursory review of Donald Trump’s economic proposals for the United States reveals what business associates have known for years: Mr. Trump’s comprehensive grasp of economic issues, domestic and global, is exceptional. He has built his fortune thanks in no small part to his understanding of the way the economy really works, both at home and around the world. But his goals extend well beyond returning our country to prosperity. They also include fighting terrorism so that America and our allies may live in peace.

Terrorism and the hatred that fuels it come in many forms. In the 68 years since Israel achieved independence, its enemies have sown terror and sought to undermine the Jewish state by invading Israel’s borders, firing rockets over them, and digging terror tunnels underneath them.

Just recently, another tragic act of terrorism aimed at Israel occurred as terrorists took the lives of four innocent Israelis at a crowded market in Tel Aviv.

After the attack, displays of fireworks in Hebron and Gaza were organized to entice Palestinian children and give Israel’s enemies an opportunity to spread anti-Semitic teachings and poison young minds with hate.  But these physical manifestations of terrorism, which Israel will continue to fight, are not the only tactics that Israel’s enemies have employed.

In the 21st century, they have sought to cripple Israel’s economy with three additional ones: boycott, divestment and sanctions—or BDS, for short. BDS is a modern manifestation of anti-Semitism, plain and simple.

BDS hurts Israelis, Palestinians and the hope for peace. The BDS movement is not interested in promoting peace and coexistence. It is not interested in forging a better future for Israelis and Palestinians.

In a recent example of these tactics, a BDS campaign succeeded in forcing the beverage firm SodaStream to relocate out of the West Bank. As a result, 500 Palestinians, who had received identical pay and benefits to their Israeli colleagues, lost their jobs. So not only is BDS anti-Semitic in its objective of harming Israeli-owned businesses, but it even runs counter to the interests of the very Palestinians it claims to champion, by increasing their incidence of poverty.

Besides endangering Palestinian livelihoods by seeking to harm the economy, BDS tactics threaten peace in other ways. When seeking to foster negotiations between parties to a conflict, progress requires establishing trust and common purpose.

The peacemaker’s objective is to narrow the differences between opposing sides, rather than to exacerbate them. But economic warfare, which is coercive by nature, tends to fuel intransigence, sharpen differences and deepen distrust. Whether in interpersonal relationships or international ones, coercion almost never brings about enduring, peaceful solutions. It intensifies divisions between people, when the goal should be to bridge them.

In spite of the propaganda spread by BDS leaders as to their movement’s true purpose, there are many examples of individuals, organizations and legislatures who have seen through the BDS movement’s lies and shown the strength to reject the hatred at the core of BDS. For example, just today, the American Anthropological Association voted to reject a BDS resolution calling for the academic boycott of Israel. Had it passed, this resolution would have had a significant, adverse impact on the ability of Israeli universities to spread valuable Israeli research throughout the world, research which, by its very nature, is meant to better the lives of individuals around the world. There are other bright spots in the academic world as far as rejection of BDS is concerned.

This past March, more than 230 members of the Columbia University faculty responded to a letter in which 70 members of Columbia’s faculty demanded that Columbia boycott, divest and sanction Israel. The response rightfully and courageously defended Israel’s “thriving democracy” and noted that Israel protects “the individual rights of all citizens, including Arabs as well as Jews.”

This response also noted the important point that “Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza,” which now is “a base for attack on Israeli civilians.” Outside of academia, individuals have expressed their strong opposition to BDS and their state legislatures have responded and dealt the BDS movement powerful setbacks. Legislatures have introduced anti- BDS bills in twenty states, and in seven of the states, the bills have been signed into law: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, South Carolina, and recently, Iowa. Certain countries, such as France and Canada, have also taken official positions opposing the boycotts.

Regrettably, the BDS movement seeks to weaken America’s strongest ally in the Middle East, isolate a bulwark against the radical Islamic terrorism that threatens us all, and demonize a democracy that stands for human rights and confers full citizenship on Israeli Jews and Arabs alike.

Arabs living in Israel are the freest in the world! Inexplicably, the BDS movement singles out Israel for criticism rather than any of the regimes that actually oppress people.

This double standard exposes the BDS movement’s hypocrisy and true motivations. By attacking only Israel, BDS’ leaders turn attention away from the genuine sources of Arab suffering in the world and unmask themselves for the centuries-old anti-Semitism they embody.

We have a responsibility to call out the BDS movement and its fellow travelers who inflame the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Bringing people together across a negotiating table is a skill for which Donald Trump is well known, and few can rival his track record of resolving complex problems by arriving at mutually agreeable solutions.

No leader, nation or international body should coerce Israelis and Palestinians into an agreement and expect peace to follow. Instead, Mr. Trump understands that a president who values listening, empathy and persuasion can go a long way to bring the two sides closer.

We need a president who can lead both sides toward peace while renewing America’s commitment to Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East.

The time has come for a businessman who understands the economy and will fight terrorism in all its forms to be president.

We need Donald J. Trump.

Jason Greenblatt is an Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of The Trump Organization and a Co-Founder of www.inspireconversation.com. Follow Jason on Twitter @JasonDovEsq

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