An Effective Way to Challenge BDS

Stand for Israel  |  August 6, 2019

Jordanian protesters hold banners during a demonstration against the US president's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, on December 29, 2017, in the Jordanian capital Amman. / AFP PHOTO / Khalil MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. government, despite its longtime friendship with Israel, has also long found it difficult to combat the anti-Israel element within that hopes to boycott the Jewish state. Battling the BDS (Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment) movement is best done by the states themselves, Eliana Rudee writes at Israel Hayom, as states can better stand for Israel by defending their own economies:

In the past several years, 27 states have adopted laws designed to discourage boycotts of Israel, known as anti-BDS laws. These efforts gained more momentum when the US House of Representatives passed a bill against the Boycott, divestment and sanctions movement last Thursday in a show of overwhelming support, with 349 co-sponsors and 16 Democrats and one Republican opposing the measure.

The vote occurred amid a debate on the BDS movement in the United States, as earlier in the month, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) introduced a boycott resolution that would affirm the American “right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.”

In response to the anti-BDS bill’s passing, Omar tweeted “Our [First Amendment] right to free speech allows boycott of inhumane policies,” she tweeted. “This bill is unconstitutional.”

According to Joseph Sabag, CEO of the Israeli-American Coalition for Action, Omar’s rhetoric and pro-BDS bill “retort to dishonesty and misrepresentation, trying to deceive the public by misrepresenting the nature of laws and the status of judicial treatment of these laws.”

“In January, a federal judge ruled that anti-BDS laws are entirely constitutional,” he explained.

Pro-BDS bills “stand no chance of success,” Sabag told JNS.

“Israel is a large consumer of US goods, and jobs depending on exports are significant,” he continued. “If states were to pass BDS bills that limited [US -Israel cooperation in the] sciences, pharmaceuticals, water desalinization and avionics, removal of trade would have a devastating impact on the quality of life.”

South Carolina State Rep. Alan Clemmons, whose state was one of the first to pass anti-BDS legislation back in 2015, told JNS that the legislation for his state was “common sense.”

“BDS is fueled by anti-Semitism and seeks to harm South Carolina’s businesses for doing business with Israel,” he said. “It was the common sense thing to do, which is why the law was passed unanimously by the legislature…”

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