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Is BDS anti-semitic?
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BDS is anti-zionist, not anti-semitic

Anti-zionism is not inherently anti-semitic. BDS advocates for the replacement of ethnic nationalism in Israel with civic nationalist. The latter does not give priority to any religious group and instead treats every religion equally under the eyes of the law.
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Context

The BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) is a pro-palestine movement that "works to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law." Anti-semitism is the hostility towards Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group. One who is Pro-Palestine is in support of a Palestinian state that existed prior to the annexation of territory for Israel.

The Argument

At face value, the BDS movement addresses three separate offenses against the Palestinian people by the Israelites. One is ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine. BDS considers the Israeli state a "military occupation" of Palestinian lands. Palestinians have been forced into ghettos, and Gaza is reportedly held in an endless siege where Israel is reportedly known to "[carry] out large-scale assaults" which a condemned by the group as barbaric and in violation of international law. The second offense includes ethnic and racial discrimination against Palestinian people. Israel reportedly holds in their legal code about 50 laws that directly oppress Palestinians, who have been forcibly displaced and oppressed. The third offense is the state sponsored, Israeli led displacement of Palestinian people. About 7.5 million Palestinians have been displaced and exiled from their homes into surrounding countries, and these refugees have not been granted the right to return to their ancestral and cultural homeland. Nowhere in their arguments do they state or visibly loathe the Jewish people themselves or the Israelites. They present a clearly visible disdain for the actions the Israelites have taken against the Palestinians. They ask for accountability, but they don't ask for an eye for an eye; they don't call for the oppression of Israelites and the Jewish people, only the ceasing of Palestinian oppression. Anti-zionism s a fair argument against ethic-nationalism. Zionism is defined as a movement in favor of establishing and developing a Jewish state, meaning Israel. But denying Jewish people the right to self-determination isn’t a bigoted act. The Kurds, Catalans, and Uhygers don’t have their own states either, “yet barely anyone suggests that opposing a Kurdish or Catalan state makes you an anti-Kurdish or anti-Catalan bigot. It is widely recognized that states based on ethnic nationalism – states created to represent and protect one particular ethnic group – are not the only legitimate way to ensure public order and individual freedom.” [1] It is argued that ethnic nationalism is more bigoted than civic nationalism, because it prioritizes the needs and desires of one portion of the population over the other, with no method in which one can join that privileged group and relish in the same privileges. Civic nationalism is built “around borders rather than heritage,” and examples include making “Spanish identity more inclusive of Catalans or Iraqi identity more inclusive of Kurds, rather than carving those multiethnic states up.” Civic nationalism is more inclusive and promotes peace and cooperation between ethnic groups, rather than giving one ethic group priority over others. There are five million Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank under Israeli control who are not given the right to vote because Israel was designed to protect and represent Jewish people; not Palestinian Arabs. So long as Israel remains a Jewish state, “no Palestinian citizen can credibly tell her son or daughter that they can become prime minister of the country in which they live. In these ways, Israel’s form of ethnic nationalism – Zionism – denies equality to the non-Jews who live under Israeli control.” [1] Replacing the ethnic nationalism of Israel with civic nationalism is not inherently anti-semitic, and the supporters and leaders of BDS don't intend for it be- “Three Palestinian members of the Knesset introduced a bill to turn Israel from a Jewish state into a “state for all its citizens”. As one of those Knesset members, Jamal Zahalka, explained, “We do not deny Israel or its right to exist as a home for Jews. We are simply saying that we want to base the existence of the state not on the preference of Jews, but on the basics of equality … The state should exist in the framework of equality, and not in the framework of preference and superiority.” [1]

Counter arguments

Premises

[P1]Anti-Semitism is the hostility towards the Jewish people as an ethnic, racial, or religious group. [P2]The BDS movement is fiercely opposed to Israeli actions against the Palestinian people [P3]The BDS movement is opposed to Israeli actions, not the Jewish people as an ethnic, racial, or religious group. [P4]The BDS movement, therefore, cannot be anti-semitic.

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/mar/07/debunking-myth-that-anti-zionism-is-antisemitic
This page was last edited on Tuesday, 18 Aug 2020 at 07:03 UTC

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