‘Successes and Failures of the BDS Campaign’

Adam Shay of the American Center for Democracy:

A concerted and well-organized campaign calling for “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” (BDS) against the State of Israel has been in effect for several years now. The aim of this boycott is to inflict tactical damage to a wide variety of academic, commercial, and cultural interests, as well as strategic damage to Israel by way of constant erosion of its national and international legitimacy.

While the movement’s self-defined operations include boycott, divestment, and sanctions, this definition is not an accurate one, since divestment is itself a form of economic boycott and sanctions are an action reserved solely for countries. The title BDS should therefore be regarded as a brand-name rather than a description of the movement’s activity.

In spite of its constant use of belligerent, violent, and deceitful tactics, the BDS movement has very little to show in the way of success regarding sanctions or divestment.

The cultural boycott, however, has proven the most efficient and effective channel for this campaign, due to several unique characteristics discussed below.

There has been very little success in the way of divestment, although the movement claims to have brought about several such acts. There is no shortage of examples of the movement claiming responsibility for such acts despite the fact that they never actually took place, as well as several so-called acts of divestment that had nothing much to do with pressure exerted by the movement or with political considerations, but were rather the result of simple financial considerations.