Chomsky: BDS Tactics Likely to Fail

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is “virtually guaranteed to fail” because of unreasonable demands and misleading claims, according to noted anti-Israel activist Noam Chomsky.

“Those who are sincerely dedicated to the Palestinian cause should avoid illusion and myth, and think carefully about the tactics they choose and the course they follow,” Chomsky wrote this week in the Nation, referring to the BDS movement.

Chomsky noted that the BDS demand to flood Israel proper with millions of Palestinian refugees is a non-starter. “There is virtually no meaningful support for [the demand] beyond the BDS movement itself,” he wrote.

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He also shattered one of the BDS movement’s core arguments – the analogy between Israel and apartheid South Africa, which he labels “dubious.”

While there is, finally, a growing domestic opposition in the United States to Israeli crimes, it does not remotely compare with the South African case. The necessary educational work has not been done. Spokespeople for the BDS movement may believe they have attained their “South African moment,” but that is far from accurate. And if tactics are to be effective, they must be based on a realistic assessment of actual circumstances.

Chomsky also invoked an argument against BDS that has been used by anti-BDS activists for years – why focus on Israel alone? But while anti-BDS activists are usually referring to Iran or Syria, Chomsky cites the U.S. as his example.

“If we boycott Tel Aviv University because Israel violates human rights at home, then why not boycott Harvard because of far greater violations by the United States?” he wrote.

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