The BDS Movement Promotes Delegitimization of the State of Israel

ReViews | 16th Issue

This issue of 'Reviews' exposes the underlying agenda of the catalysts of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel. In theory, the BDS Movement promotes human rights, international justice, and peace. In practice, it advances the delegitimization of the State of Israel by undermining – whether explicitly or implicitly – its right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state.


Since Operation Cast Lead in early 2009, there have been increasing efforts within global civil society to isolate Israel. The BDS Movement – an umbrella organization composed of loosely coordinated non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individuals – stands behind these attempts to isolate Israel. These efforts – which consist of pressure on individuals and organizations to economically or culturally boycott Israel, institutions and organizations to divest from Israel, and governments to sanction Israel – peaked in the aftermath of the flotilla affair on May 31, 2010.


It is very probable that many, and maybe even most, BDS supporters do not consider themselves to be delegitimizers, and genuinely aim to criticize Israeli policies. Their association with the Movement results from a purposeful effort advanced by the BDS Movement catalysts to depict it as apolitical and akin to progressive human rights movements, in order to harness the liberal European and North American elite and enlist wide public support.

However, in this document we seek to demonstrate how the BDS Movement Catalysts are clear delegitimizers, in many cases stated outright, and in others demonstrated by their: consistent singling out of Israel, efforts to undermine Israeli-Palestinian cooperation, promotion of the right of return, and comparison between Israel and apartheid. In addition, as far as BDS Movement catalysts are concerned, even selective or partial boycotts serve the overall goal of delegitimization.


Two State Solution, Diaspora Relations, Delegitimization, Partner for Peace, Zionism



National Security

Delegitimization of Israel

Many of the Movement's catalysts seek to undermine the legitimacy of the State of Israel and Zionism, and view BDS as a tool to undercut the political model of the State of Israel.

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