The BDS is an assemblage of groups and individuals that aim to place economic and cultural pressure on Israel and is in solidarity with Palestinian activists. There are various political and economic goals within the movement, depending on the supporting groups.
Various BDS objectives include (but are not limited to):
- To voice opposition to Israel—a cultural goal
- To end Israeli occupation in the West Bank and achieve a two-state solution—a political goal
- To completely dissolve Israel and replace it with a different state that includes the West Bank and Gaza Strip—a political and cultural goal
Essentially, the boycotters attempt to put economic pressure on Israel to achieve their political and cultural goals.
Why is the BDS against Israel?
You will likely get a different answer as to why the BDS is against Israel depending on whom you ask. Much has been reported on and written about regarding the issue. As previously mentioned, the goals surrounding the boycott are primarily to make a statement and put Israel between a rock and a hard place, forcing its citizens to compromise their rights and values.
How did the BDS start?
Most BDS supporters claim the movement started in the summer of 2005 with a “call… by Palestinian civil society organizations for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and for academic and cultural boycott of Israel.”
This is not entirely accurate. The boycott efforts were put in place before Israel’s statehood by the Arab League Council on December 2, 1945. If you recall, Israel was officially established on May 14, 1949.
The boycott was on Jewish products and manufactured goods exported to Arab countries. Arab institutions, merchants, and organizations were to have no exchanges or dealings with “Zionist products or manufactured goods.” The goal was to make Israel an economic island, denying its ability to trade with its neighbors or to increase its military or economic strength.
The nation was starting to grow in success and strength, and its neighbors were beginning to notice. This perked up ears and put up a wall of trepidation around the surrounding nations.
Read more about the BDS history and beginnings HERE.
How does the BDS impact the U.S. (and other countries)?
To get a clear picture as to how the BDS has impacted the United States and other countries, you have to first look at Israel’s ability to advance when faced with opposition.
It is well known that Israel leads the world in research and development. Much of the world cannot easily replace Israeli exports or the quality of their goods. Therefore, it doesn’t bode well for nations to completely boycott Israel’s high-tech materials, advanced machinery, and medical and pharmaceutical goods and innovations.
Because of Israel’s computer tech advancements and contributions, boycotters likely use Israeli-made products such as DiskOnKey almost daily—as one is sold every 10 seconds worldwide.
In only a few decades, Israel’s exports have become increasingly higher quality, making them harder to replace, according to the UN Comtrade Database. Some of the most successful corporations are located within Israeli borders, making a complete boycott costly for a number of countries.
More direct impact on the U.S.
The United States has seen an impact made on university campuses. Groups against the BDS have begun to push back, pointing out its efforts are actually counterproductive to peace and are anti-Semitic. In 2016, President Obama signed a law that prohibited cooperation with entities involved in BDS, and several states within the U.S. also adopted their own anti-BDS laws.
What areas does the BDS impact the most?
Where the BDS movement can be the most detrimental are areas outside of these technological, military, and research and development advancements. Sectors such as tourism and agriculture are among the hardest hit. It can come down to the impact the BDS has on individual families.
While the overall economy is still thriving, families that have lived in Israel and have farmed for decades are receiving the brunt of the boycotts. It has almost become a cultural and psychological battle more than an economic one.
How does the BDS impact Israel?
While a thorn in Israel’s side, the BDS efforts do not fully negate its success and thriving economy as it was intended to by its supporters.
Larger Israeli firms have become highly skilled and proactive in using third-party subsidiaries to avoid boycotts. Though it still exists, Israel has naturally grown to learn from and take advantage of opportunities that continue to prosper the nation.
While most of this is done on a large scale and has greatly benefited numerous industries, we all know what it feels like to be the one left behind or forgotten at some point in our lives. When others are thriving, we are struggling.
The reality for some in Israel is that the BDS has put them in an economic pinch. Yet they still love their nation and desire to see it thrive. If the BDS’ goal is to put pressure on Israeli citizens enough that they cease resistance, the group will continue to be disappointed.
The love that the people of Israel have for their land and what they have worked so hard to achieve makes it unlikely for them to oblige. The people of Israel miraculously seem to be strengthened when faced with opposition. Even when the circumstances that surround them seem hopeless, they don’t give up.
What can I do?
There are those families that need support. They hold on to what they know to be true—that they rightfully own the land and have the liberty to pursue their dream. It is for this reason that My Olive Tree has recently partnered with a family that has been affected by the BDS. The Bitan family lives only 3 miles from the Gaza Strip and has farmed the land since the 1940s.
Their once beautiful flower farm is now desolate after the boycott seemingly clenched their fate. But there is hope! Together, we can partner with them to replant their fields and fill the ground with olive groves!
Their story is not over. This is just the beginning. And what a statement it is making! Imagine, the symbolic olive tree flourishing right in the middle of one of the most controversial areas of the world. An olive tree sponsored by you. A statement made by you.
Yes, there are those who stand in opposition to a thriving Israel, but together our voice can be even louder. We aren’t meant to stand alone but in unity, so that peace and prosperity are planted and the harvest to come is abundant.
Do you want to know more about the Bitan family? Go HERE to read about their story and their dream.