Why the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement is anti-Semitic

Samara Karow argues why the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement (BDS) is anti-Semitic. BDS was founded by Omar Barghouti, the leader of a Palestinian terrorist group named Hamas. Photo by Taylor Brandon on Unsplash.

Omar Barghouti, the founder of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement, otherwise known as BDS, is the leader of Palestinian terrorist group, Hamas. He is invited to speak at American college campuses. This insidious ideology does not deserve a place within Western democracy; in fact, The United States has deemed BDS anti-Semitic. However, the law is often not a barometer for people’s personal ethics, so in this article, I will illustrate exactly why BDS is anti-Semitic. 

Public figures who hold the belief that we should strip Israel of its financial support often hold other anti-Semitic views. For instance, Senator Ron Paul, in a similar vein to BDS, believes the United States should end aid to Israel. In a causal relationship to his political opinions about Israel, Paul also posted a cartoon depicting an anti-Semitic caricature of a Jewish person

Hateful beliefs about Israel do not only extend to non-Jews, but to Jewish public figures as well. Two prime examples are professors Judith Butler and Noam Chomsky. They suffer from internalized anti-Semitism in the same way LGBTQ+ people suffer from internalized homophobia and transphobia. In addition to advocating for BDS, “Chomsky also publicly attacked a French university for firing a professor who wrote the Holocaust was a Jewish hoax, and he has, on at least one occasion, refused to answer whether or not he believes the Holocaust occurred,” Rabbi Telushkin writes in his book, “Jewish Literacy.” Like with Senator Paul, Chomsky’s beliefs about BDS and Holocaust revisionism are interrelated. 

As for Butler, she said, “understanding Hamas, Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left, is extremely important,” even though both terrorist groups have fired rockets at Israeli civilians. BDS is not social justice advocacy — it is hate, plain and simple, made palatable to our democratic audiences through twisted rhetoric. Both Chomsky and Butler hold views — whether about terrorism or the Holocaust — which discriminate against themselves as Jews, something deeply concerning. 

These professors are not in the majority. The Ruderman Family Foundation reports that, “80% of American Jews consider themselves pro-Israel and 67% feel an emotional attachment to Israel.” If most people within an oppressed minority group, Jews included, hold the opinion that something is prejudiced against them — it most likely is. 

Ijeoma Oluo, in her book “So You Want to Talk About Race,” writes, “It is about race if it disproportionately or differently affects people of color,”” In an analogous fashion, it is about anti-Semitism if it disproportionately or differently affects Jews. Israel is the only Jewish state, a place where refugees facing religious persecution from all over the world immigrate to seek a safe haven. There are 57 Muslim states and 24 Christian states. I have yet to hear a call for the discorporation of them through a protest movement. Why is Israel treated with a double standard? 

Put more succinctly, Rabbi Wolpe says, “After World War II convulsed the globe, no one said Germany was illegitimate. After genocide in Rwanda, Cambodia, Sudan, Congo, no one called for an end to those nations. But Israel, repeatedly attacked, is a tiny nation which has returned Territory – rich valuable land – to its enemies in exchange for peace and is a vanguard in a region surrounded by those who would destroy it.”

The BDS movement seeks one mission and one mission alone: to end the state of Israel, not for political prowess, but because its supporters want to target the Jewish population that lives there, as well as the majority of Jews living outside the land who support the country. This is bigotry and it must be stopped. That is why it is anti-Semitic. 

This article was edited at 4:21 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 to fix two factual inaccuracies.


  1. Omar Barghouti never killed anyone. Google is free.

    I guess that’s why there’s no source link.
    I’m curious, was the mistake because all Palestinians are vile terrorists in the author’s eyes? Or is it because facts simply do not matter?

  2. I already agreed with the point you’re trying to make but this article is so poorly written that it made me want to change my mind just to disagree with you. Frankly, it’s embarrassing.

  3. In her opening sentence, the author confuses the founder of the nonviolent BDS movement with the (since deceased) Hamas member with the same name.

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