One-third of likely U.S. voters with an opinion favor the "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction" (BDS) campaign against Israel while 39 percent have no opinion, according to a recent Rasmussen survey. Would so many Americans support BDS if they knew that the movement has longstanding direct links to terrorism?
A new report by Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry, "Terrorists in Suits," provides damning evidence of more than 100 links between the BDS movement and Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), both designated by the U.S. as terrorist groups.
More than 30 Hamas and PFLP operatives, 20 of whom served prison time for terrorism or murder, hold senior positions within BDS advocacy organizations.
Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, which advocates the boycott of Israel. Sourani is a PFLP terrorist and legal counsel to Hamas.
Palestinian Leila Khaled, a BDS fundraiser in Europe and South Africa, is a PFLP member involved in airplane hijackings and Jerusalem terrorist attacks as recently as 2011. In 2016, she declared, "Negotiations (with Israel) will be held only with knives and weapons."
Muhammad Sawalha, deeply engaged in the U.K. BDS campaign, is a former Hamas military operative and political bureau member.
Mustafa Awad, working with Samidoun, a BDS-promoting nongovernmental organization based in the U.S., is a Hezbollah-trained PFLP member arrested for facilitating terror funding.
These links make sense because BDS and terrorism share a common goal. One uses words to delegitimize and demonize Israel; the other uses kidnappings and knifings, rockets, and suicide bombers to terrorize and murder the maximum number of Jewish civilians. In both cases, the objective is the same: Elimination of the Jewish state of Israel.
BDS operatives have duped the West into thinking that their campaign is merely to force Israel to end its so-called "occupation" of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and in Gaza. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Americans favoring BDS need to believe the candid statements of its leaders. BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti has declared, "Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish state itself." Senior Hamas official Izzat al-Risheq concurs, openly admitting that the ultimate goal of BDS is to "end the existence of (the) usurper entity," Israel. There is no daylight between the ultimate objective of Hamas and that of BDS. Why aren’t they taken at their word?
The "Terrorists in Suits" report provides evidence that the board of the Ramallah-based BDS National Committee includes terror-designated organizations like Hamas, PFLP, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. These groups have a long and bloody history of lethal attacks against Jews, Israelis, and Americans. The American fundraising platform Donorbox suspended the BDS National Committee’s account when it learned of these terror ties.
According to an exposé in Tablet, the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, the coordinator for 329 different pro-BDS organizations in this country, funnels money to the BDS National Committee. It uses its own nonprofit status to enable tax-exempt fundraising for a foreign political entity.
Remember Cervantes’ observation — "Tell me thy company, and I’ll tell thee who thou art."
One hand washes the other in this mutually beneficial relationship Terrorist operatives share human resources with BDS-supporting groups, jointly promoting public campaigns, conferences, events, and fundraising. In return, BDS groups provide funding and cover to those terror organizations, masterfully disguising their desire to destroy the Jewish nation-state behind the façade of human rights for Palestinians.
Not only is BDS a front for terror, it’s also anti-Semitic as defined by the U.S. State Department. Clearly, anti-Semitism does not reflect American values, as demonstrated by the overwhelmingly negative public reaction to the recent tweets of Democratic congresswoman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
The Rasmussen poll translates into more than 27 million Americans who favor BDS. If they knew the truth about the alliance between BDS and terrorism to destroy the Jewish nation-state, a democratic ally, many would probably change their minds. And the more than 50 million likely voters who have no opinion would perhaps then develop one.
As Americans, it’s time to reject BDS and take a stand for American values.
Ziva Dahl is a senior fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center.