“A Divisive Path: Why the BDS Movement Won’t End Violence in Israel”

May 1st, 2009

In response to "Israel Apartheid Week," a global student campaign that swept across university campuses last month, there has been a great deal of discussion among students and academics concerning Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. As stated in its call to action, the BDS movement seeks to "end the occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantle the Wall, recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality, and respect, protect, and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194." What remains unclear, however, is the mechanism through which the movement plans to translate its numerous declared successes into actual policy change within Israel. Although the BDS movement points to apartheid South Africa as an example of a country that was profoundly influenced by cultural and academic boycott, it is important to realize that a very different reality exists in Israel.

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