Until now, the boycott movement has taken advantage of the protests and riots over the killing of Black people by white police officers in the United States in that they have added momentum to the movement. But the time has come for the Black civil rights movement to renounce the boycott activists.
The peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates has produced many diplomatic, economic and technological benefits and has also dealt a harsh blow to BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which, until now, has taken advantage of the protests and riots over the killing of Black people by white police officers in the United States in that they have provided extra momentum.
The boycott movement and its supporters among the radical left in the United States have been trying for a long time to enlist the Black Lives Matter movement in their cause. They have equated Black people in the United States to the Palestinians, and white people to the Israelis, and claimed that white racism shown to Black people in the United States is equal to Israeli racism shown to the Palestinians. They also add an analogy to South Africa and describe Israel as an apartheid state which treats its Arab and Palestinian citizens like the oppressive apartheid regime treats Black people in South Africa. The Black Lives Matter movement has adopted the web of lies of the boycott movement. The platform that they put out before the 2016 presidential election contained a section that described Israel as an apartheid regime that has committed “genocide” against the Palestinian people, and demanded that the United States stop giving military aid to Israel. Jewish groups that sympathize with the Black Lives Matter movement claimed that this was anti-Semitic and criticized it harshly. It was considered anti-Semitic because the Black Lives Matter movement did not raise concerns about racism in any other area of the world, but only singled out Israel.
The Black Lives Matter movement and BDS have worked cooperatively against Jews and Israel, especially on college campuses.
With the outbreak of demonstrations after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the boycott movement and its supporters exploited the tragedy in order to slander Israel. They claimed that Israel trains the white police who kill black people, leading to this result, and that the relationship of the police to Black people in the United States is identical to the relationship of Israeli police and soldiers to the Palestinians.
They even compared Floyd’s death to the accidental killing of Ayad al-Khalak, the young Palestinian boy who suffered from autism.
Recently, a full-page announcement appeared in The New York Times in which 600 Jewish organizations in the United States supported the Black Lives Matter movement. The signatories explained that racism against Black people is also racism against Jews, and the time has come for it to be uprooted. Next to that, there was a draft of the Black Lives Matter platform which was posted in advance of the coming presidential election, without any mention of Israel. The boycott movement and its radical supporters are applying pressure on the movement to add an anti-Israel statement.
The ad by the Jewish organizations tells the Black Lives Matter movement that Jews want to return to the active cooperation that they enjoyed in the 1960s when they helped to achieve civil rights for Black people. The ad hints that if the Black Lives Matter movement retains an anti-Semitic statement in its platform, it will lose Jewish support. Black Lives Matter is planning to solidify its platform and we will see which side wins out.
As has been stated, the peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates is an additional blow to the boycott movement. It contradicts the movement’s arguments and its methods. The condemnation which the boycotters have leveled at the United Arab Emirates has proven that they are enemies of peace in the Middle East who ally themselves with autocratic regimes like Iraq and Turkey. By distancing itself from those regimes, the Black Lives Matter movement will be pulled backward and their objectives thwarted.
BDS says that it opposes Israel in the spirit of nonviolent protest that Martin Luther King Jr. employed to fight against racism, and it is only anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic. It is worth recalling that King himself said that anti-Zionism was anti-Semitism in disguise.
The author is a lecturer and expert on the United States, and a senior researcher at the Begin-Sadat Institute for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University.