The Official Goal Of BDS Is Ending Israel, Not Just The '67 Occupation


Early Wednesday morning the University of Michigan’s student government voted down a resolution that would have begun the process of divesting from companies doing business with Israel. It was the latest defeat for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which is dedicated to fighting Israel by isolating it, particularly in the cultural and economic sectors.
Other than Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to devote a full 25% of his recent speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to condemning the BDS movement, it hasn’t got very much to show for its efforts. And I don’t expect it ever will.
The reason why BDS keeps failing despite the almost universal recognition that the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the blockade of Gaza, are illegal and immoral is that the BDS movement is not targeting the occupation per se. Its goal is the end of the State of Israel itself.
In its view, all of historic Palestine is occupied territory; that means Tel Aviv and Haifa as much as Hebron and Nablus. Obviously, a movement dedicated to eradication of Israel as a country is never going to achieve support other than from a radical fringe.
The BDS movement tries to obfuscate its support for Israel’s destruction (not its physical destruction, the end of its statehood). Whenever anyone asks about it, they are referred to its founding principles: the Palestinian Civil Society Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights of 2005.

And it’s true: that document is the place to go for the answer to the question. Is the goal of BDS ending the post-1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the blockade of Gaza, or about replacing Israel itself with a state that although, in theory, hospitable to Jews would no longer be Israel?
The document begins by explaining the rationale for BDS.
It is that “57 [now 67] years after the state of Israel was built mainly on land ethnically cleansed of its Palestinian owners, a majority of Palestinians are refugees, most of whom are stateless.” Additionally, Israel has “since 1948″ ignored “hundreds of UN resolutions [which] have condemned Israel’s colonial and discriminatory policies as illegal and called for immediate, adequate and effective remedies.”
Accordingly, the only recourse is the imposition of “embargoes and sanctions against Israel” until Israel complies with the movement’s three demands.

They are : “1.Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall. 2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and 3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

The demands make clear that the movement’s goal is ending Israeli statehood, not just the post-1967 occupation. There is no reference to 1967 nor any invocation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions (242 and 338) which require the end of the 1967 occupation while preserving Israel’s right to security and self-determination.
No, there is only the demand for compliance with United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 which was passed in 1948 and which requires the return of all the Palestinian refugees to Israel, along with the return to them of the property left behind. In other words, millions of the descendants of the original Palestinian refugees could return not just to the West Bank or Gaza but to Israel itself, essentially reversing the independence Israel achieved in 1948. As far as Israeli towns and villages, they would be “property” returned to the Palestinians. Hence, no more Israel.
Of course, this will not happen in the real world, even if there is some justice in the demands. If refugees retain their rights permanently, my wife’s family (and my kids and grand-kids) could claim the property left behind in Poland when they were forced out by the Germans in 1939. In fact, tens of millions of refugees from places as disparate as India, Pakistan, Chechnya, Cyprus, and Rwanda would be lining up to claim their old homes. But that is not how history works. Israel is not going to dismantle itself and Jews will not be the first people in the world to relinquish the right to self-determination.
The South African apartheid analogy, repeatedly cited in the BDS document, does not apply. It was the South African apartheid regime that was abolished, not the country known as the Republic of South Africa. If the BDS goals were achieved, there would be no State of Israel at all. That is why so many proponents of BDS have such a hard time even referring to Israel as a country. It’s often the “Zionist entity” or the “occupying regime.”
But, in fact, it’s Israel, an actual country, connected by history to the place where it was established, speaking the ancient language but having created a new culture that is as legitimate as that of the Palestinians or any other people.
The BDS movement is designed to turn the clock back to the time before Israel was created. That will not happen. The solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is two states for two peoples. If that works out, they can confederate or merge later, whatever the two peoples decide. Or not. The BDS movement is irrelevant. It doesn’t do much harm. But it doesn’t do any good either.

0 thoughts on “The Official Goal Of BDS Is Ending Israel, Not Just The '67 Occupation

  1. It is Israel that has made a two-state solution impossible, so complaining about it does not help. If we are interested in a state for ALL its people instead of a state for Jews-only as the superior race, MJ gets all bent out of shape. No one is suggesting that Jews leave the new one-state that will, ultimately, come into fruition. It just won’t have laws that favor Jews, laws that separate Palestinian families, laws that are clearly Apartheid laws, laws that favor one religion over every other religion. It makes no difference what it is called. Call is Canaan, but it WILL be shared

  2. I don’t agree.How else do you suggest we protest against the relentless annexation of Palestinian land with settlements ?
    Palestinians cannot win militarily.Only by the international community isolating Israel can a resolution to Palestinian misery have any chance of ending.

  3. John, protesting the settlements with a campaign to abolish Israel is silly beyond words. All that does is feed into the right-wing narrative about critics of Israel’s policies. And the incredible dishonesty by BDS supporters only ensures that that their message will never gain traction with anyone beyond those on the fringe.

  4. Targeted boycott at the Settlements and only those. Push for negotiations based on 1967 with equal land swaps, renunciation of Palestinian Right of Return to Pre-1967 Israel.

  5. Palestinians could win militarily – if they stopped behaving like hoodlums, controlled the violence, got educated, and made money! Then they would be able to break out of the Middle Ages mentality and compete economically, which is today’s battlefield. Too bad the Palestinians don’t see how they are being controlled by the dark forces of medieval thinking in Saudi Arabia etc Palestinians used to be more enlightened, and Israel should be their natural ally in the region. Not their enemy.

      • I recommend lowering your expectations.
        Jews are no better than others and can do the most incompetent, stupid things — all humans nations do,

  6. Mr. Rosenberg ,
    I am at least a little surprised and a lot amazed , at your rational/ logic,in protecting Israel( even from a non- violent form of protest, as a boycott) while ignoring the way Israel was formed, and the methods that were used to established such a rogue country, including all the campaigns to demonize and strip the Palestinians from their humanity, and rights to live on the land with freedom that is given to most others, including Jews, who never stepped a foot in this land for many generations past ,as they were born and raised on different lands! Lets first burst the bubble of those attackers whom are always waiting in the isles to attack any one who dares to speak out, and say, I am not for the abolition or destruction of Israel or killing of any people. Yet, it amazes me how you are criticizing the BDS/ Palestinians, for trying to campaign in a non violent way- even with the imperfections in the wording that they might have-,to restore some of their rights, and wake up the world about the criminal acts that Israel/ Zionists, with the help of many Jews in the world to displace them, steal the majority of their homes and land,expel them, jail them, occupy them ,dominate them and Massacre so many of them, in the hundreds, and some cases in the thousands. That is in addition to 7 years siege,from land, air and sea,to 1.6 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip with inhuman conditions. How come the BDS is more threatening to you and to Israel than what Israelis with the aid of most Diaspora Jews have done to the Palestinians for the last 65 years, and still continue to do, even as of recent action that the kenesset took in allocating 25 Millions to PR( negative Hasbarah) against the Palestinian none violent actions. Did you and others who claim being on the side of humanity and justice set back and see, that no matter what the Palestinians have tried to do, in armed resistance to non violence ways,to peaceful demonstration , it never was accepted by Israel and its supporters, and the only apparent way to satisfy Israel,would be for the Palestinians to disappear from the face of the earth, and for Israel to grow. Does that remind you of any notion that the Jews felt about them selves? Yet, its ok to do it to the Palestinians? What logic is this but a very pathetic and deranged one! I think if one want to be humane and just, he or she should be balanced and rational, and not biased to the brain washed system that most Jews fell under its spell to protect and support Israel under all conditions which is discrediting not just Israel , but its supporters, in the international arena!

  7. I must be blind. (I can see the author and the responders all nodding.) But I don’t see the quoted excerpts as stating or implying that Israeli statehood be abolished, though this is asserted several times in the piece itself.
    The first demand does say “all Arab lands,” so I guess it could be read that way. But it doesn’t have to be, especially since this expression is linked to manifestations of the Israeli occupation. If these manifestations are done away with, that would satisfy the BDS movement, it seems to say.
    The second is even less plausibly interpreted as anti-Israeli statehood; in fact, its essence is to call for equality of treatment of Palestinian citizens of Israel. That, to my mind, is an affirmation of Israeli statehood, not a denial of it.
    I see the most substantive objection really to the third part of the statement, the one referring to the Palestinian “right of return.” This is the one most fully fleshed out by Mr. Rosenberg. Here he doesn’t dispute its legal correctness; instead, he labels it impractical by implication, comparing it to the case of his wife’s Polish descendants trying to reclaim their Polish properties.
    I see some merit in the impracticality aspect, but to my mind a closer analogy is to the Israeli assertion of Jews’ “right of return” to Israel. The same argument of impracticality could be raised against this: Imagine all the world’s Jews suddenly deciding to pick up and move to Israel. It would be catastrophic for the Israelis! Fortunately, they can assert this knowing it won’t come to pass. But what percentage of descendants of Arabs want to “return”? I doubt that it is known. So how realistic is this concern?
    I can see that it would stick in a Palestinian’s craw that Jews, simply by virtue of their Jewishness, can freely come to and live in Israel, though neither they nor their descendants lived there before, while Palestinians have no such right, though they and their descendants lived in Palestine for centuries prior to 1948.
    In any case, from the article itself and from the responses to it, I believe that the real thrust of the piece, despite its title, is the assertion that the BDS movement is failing and is doomed to failure. To me this seems like “whistling in the dark.” Why, if it is failing and foredoomed, is Netanyahu (and M.J.Rosenberg) paying so much attention to it?

    • Gene, the right of return envisioned by BDS clearly envisions an end to Israel. There is no mention of a two-state solution by BDSers, and that is no accident. They oppose Israel’s existence. People should stop playing games and pretending this isn’t the case.

  8. Friends,
    I respect M.J. highly. As an ex-AIPAC functionary, his criticism of Israeli policies is frequent, targeted and trenchant.
    There is doubt the BDS movement can do no other than raise consciousness about injustices to Palestinians. My understanding of the BDS movement is that is desires the end of Zionism as practiced from the beginning, creating a “Jewish” ethno-centric entity that has sought to marginalize and swallow the local Arab people (or expel them through harsh methods), into eretz Israel.
    Ending THAT expression of statehood seems to be the goal. There was no intention of toppling the Republic of South Africa with the BDS movement; only ending its system of apartheid. BDS contributed to that.
    Israel fears the demographic bomb of course, insisting on a JEWISH majority for it state. I wish it were more sincere in seeking a “Two State” solution. The refugee issue could be worked out.
    The “ONE State” they have now (with strong congressional and White House support) is the much preferred one. There is NO TRUST in giving any autonomy to a Palestinian state, for fear of backlash against all the discriminatory practices (to say nothing of the fear of Islamic fundamentalism!).
    Nice try though MJ. Changing the way Zionism has played out especially since 1948 won’t be easy.

  9. I think the goal of BDS is not yet finalized. There are solutions better than the Two-State one now being considered, or Israel’s elimination. My “A Political Framework for a New Approach to Israeli-Palestinian Coexistence”, for example, provides for both an Israeli and a Palestinian sub-state right from the start; that guarantees Israeli and Palestinian majorities, respectively; as well as allowing for the possibility of all Jews and Palestinians (including refugees) being able to live anywhere within the Holy Land, and for the continued existence of the IDF (tho without cross-border rights), and an International Defence Force, equipped to stifle any cross-border military initiatives. , This proposal need further work, but–
    Let’s get on with debating and perfecting a comprehensive solution, while simultaneously doing all we can to End the Occupation.,

    • Hi, Howard. Your notes on a one-state solution are intriguing. Do you have a website where you elucidate? Or can you say more here?

  10. Thanks for the link to the BDS website and statement if purpose: Palestinian Civil Society Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights of 2005.
    However, it does not at all support Rosenberg’s thesis that BDS seeks the end of Israel. The BDS initiative against South Africa did not aim at “ending” South Africa; it aimed at ending the then-government’s policy of Apartheid. The current BDS initiative against Israel aims at ending the current government’s policy of occupation.
    Rosenberg’s thesis that all of Israel can be viewed as “occupied” is intriguing and the case can certainly be made, but does Rosenberg really want to open up this can of worms?

    • Lawrence, BDS demands an unlimited right of return for millions of Palestinians to Israel, and it does not call for a two-state solution based on the ’67 borders. What part of “we don’t want Israel” do you not understand?

      • The two-state solution probably died several years ago, and it seems generally that only those who want to avoid the difficult issues still assert its plausibility.
        We should be now examining unitary state solutions, and how Jewish cultural and legal autonomy might be safeguarded.
        Occupation is not only flatly illegal under international law, but post-colonial history throughout contemporary human history also suggests that it is impossible to maintain.
        The utopian Zionist dream was a great one, until it ran up against and disregarded the reality of the Palestinian population of Palestine.
        We Jews, I believe, now have the very difficult but morally inescapable obligation to rectify the ills that ensued.

        • Lawrence, the claim about the death of the 2SS has for years been the mantra of those who have always opposed it. Problem is, they never come up with a realistic alternative and a realistic plan to get there. Until you all come forward with a realistic idea and plan, we can only assume that your reference to a unitary state is nothing more than a new way to call for the abolishment of Israel. And that will never happen.

      • Lauren, Israel controls all the land. Of course the Palestinians want their home back. The burden, no matter how difficult is on our shoulders to convince the Palestinians that they should accept a division of the land into two-states, and to move toward this solution convincingly. Military and oppression oppression of the Palestinians isn’t going to do it–quite the opposite.

  11. Mr. Rosenberg,
    I don’t know what set of morales, and ethical values one uses in giving himself or herself the liberty to criticize the Palestinians in choosing the BDS ( with its imperfect wording )as a form of nonviolent resistance and struggle to combat what the Israelis, Zionists, and with the full aid of most Diaspora Jews in dispossessing , expelling, killing, demolition of homes and properties , uprooting trees and crops, stealing of land and water, jailing, besieging ,by land air and sea and almost completely annihilating the Palestinians existence to replace it with a Majority of Jews immigrant foreigners from far away lands for the last 66 years and more, yet have such a huge objection to the way the BDS charter has been written as not Kosher enough for those who want to support Israel no matter what? Or ,we stand for humanity and justice for all, or we have double standards, and we wish to hide behind some false impressions only, and the truth and justice will be always lost for ever because we can’t be truthful with ourselves and face what we really stand for!

  12. I have posted a two very respectable none offensive comments on this article, and I don’t see neither one of them. Is there something the matter that I am missing?

  13. Hog Wash!!! The goal is not to destroy Israel, but to civilize it. Chastise, correct, guide, challenge it to deal from the best of its avowed principles, so that justice can be done to all sides and then its messages can be shown by its actions. That is true leadership.

  14. Thanks Lawrence, I did it twice,with two different comments ,using respectful language ,as usual. I am very surprised, whats happening in Tekkun ? But here is another one ;
    I was asking what values or ethics are being used to scrutinize and question the Palestinians, and their non violent BDS movement ,based on the wording of their goals, as not being Kosher enough for some people, yet Israel/ the Zionists, and most Diaspora Jews, have been a major part of dispossessing , expelling, jailing, killing, uprooting ,demolishing homes of the Palestinians population for the last hundred years, to the point of ethnic cleansing and demonizing all Palestinians. That is without much concerns or questioning! Can we all use the same set on morals and values if we want to question and judge others, based on humanitarian values and a sense of justice for all, and not a selective biased judgement when it comes to Israel and its actions?

    • By all means, Monir, you should should freely question and judge. But if you support eliminating Israel, like those in the BDS movement, at least be honest about that in your discourse.

      • Where did you, Woza1, get the eliminating Israel from? I have not said, nor intended to say such a thing. If Israel is going to be eliminated, its going to be,by its own doing, not by not what I am not saying! So please, read my first comment on top, as there is a sentence written particularly for people who wish to play with words, and accuse others, just like yourself. Beside, who says, that we all should be in love and support Israel in all its doing? Jews or not Jews? The BDS, does not indicate the termination, nor elimination of the Jewish people, its implying the termination of the State in its illegal, illogical form on the bases of international, and United Nations laws, and resolution 181, as a natural result if it wants to become internationally recognized and accepted country for its people, not based on ethnic and religious bases. So, please stop putting words in other people mouths, as if you are such mind readers!

        • Stop being dishonest. Nobody is fooled.The BDS campaign does not seek a two-state solution. It seeks an unlimited right of return that would abolish Israel. If you want to be taken seriously you need to stop being dishonest.

  15. I think Monir has hit the nail on the head, and that is reflected in some of name calling and racist arguments made in this interchange about “hoodlums”. Would we used the same condescending taunting for the French under the German occupation, or the Chinese under the Japanese or the indigenous peoples of Africa under colonialism? Beyond that what the Israelis have been doing for over 40 years in the occupied territories is state terrorism; deliberate collective punishment and other violence toward the Palestinian people run by a de jure racist system of oppression. There is no excuse for it and it is simply unacceptable- more so to being using our tax dollars to do it. Those of us in the Jewish community that speak out about it are ostracized and insulted. The Zionist establishment refuse to have a civil debate without name calling because their arguments fall apart when confronted. “The arc of history is long but it bends toward justice.” BDS freaks them out because it calls them out on their outrageous behavior.

  16. Monir.
    My comments on Tikkun Daily — usually adverse to Tikkun outlook btw– go right through and online.
    The magazine seems to be a different story — mine get lost– so I assume it must be technical and I don’t think it is deliberate.

  17. 1. President Abbas stated that the Arab world along with the Palestinians erred in rejecting partition in 1947..They also erred in rejecting a final status agreement at Camp David. 2. There will be no right of return. No sovereign state should accept those demands. Jews were forced to flee neighboring Arab countries. 3. The BDS movement is all about the elimation of Israel as a Jewish homeland and replacing it with a Palestinian homeland. On American college campuses the prefer threats and intimidation against Jewish groups vs. honest debate. 5. This is for Minor. You have posted on this website typical old school anti Semitic remarks including Holocaust denial. You remsrkdvwrte even too vile for Tikkun.

    • Rich,
      Try to write my name correctly first, then please focus on the positive side of issues of how to save ourselves from the bigotry , discrimination and dwelling on the labeling people and trying to intimidate them with your labels and made up slogans ,when they try to question different narratives of history. You ,nor any one else have the exclusive rights to any stories being told and us being silenced about them, because they are forced upon us. We all have the right to question, and maybe the truth is the only one that should be prevailing without guards, threats, and persecution . Your way of dwelling on creating more and more name calling only will widen the gap between the Jews who believe in the same things you believe in and the rest of the world and humanity. This form and issue has persisted through the ages, and its a self defeating method, if one is trying to eliminate bigotry and Anti Semitism in this world and become part of it on equal bases upon the merits and facts of what they are and what they have done! Controlling others is never healthy long term policy, because almost always, it will back fire.

    • Rich, do you have a citation for your remarkable assertion, “President Abbas stated that the Arab world along with the Palestinians erred in rejecting partition in 1947..They also erred in rejecting a final status agreement at Camp David.”?
      I don’t think Monir’s comments were anti-Semitic: he is criticizing Israel and the exceptionalism that some of we Jews consciously and unconsciously assert.

    • Rich, what is your citation for, “President Abbas stated that the Arab world along with the Palestinians erred in rejecting partition in 1947..They also erred in rejecting a final status agreement at Camp David”?

  18. Rich, what citation do you have for your remarkable assertion, ” President Abbas stated that the Arab world along with the Palestinians erred in rejecting partition in 1947..They also erred in rejecting a final status agreement at Camp David.”?

  19. Lawrance. I cannot post s link from s smart phone but Abbas said it on Oct.9. 2011. Look under Reuter. ” Abba faults Arab refusal of 1947 Palestine plan”. I trust you will find it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *