One of the biggest misconceptions about the BDS, especially among people only casually exposed to the movement’s rhetoric, is that the BDS is designed to put economic and political pressure on Israel.
The truth, as numerous reports have made clear, is that Israel’s economy has remained robust throughout the years of BDS pressure, even while much of the world experienced major economic downturns. And the reality of political pressure on Israel was made clear during the recent visit by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who announced:
To those who do not share my ambition, who want to boycott Israel, I have a clear message. Britain opposes boycotts, whether it’s trade unions campaigning for the exclusion of Israelis or universities trying to stifle academic exchange.
But it would be a mistake to say that BDS is having a negligible effect on Israel. It is, in fact, having a significant effect on Israel’s image internationally. Every time a boycott is even discussed or a divestment measure voted on by a student group, even symbolically, a message is delivered. The message is that Israel doesn’t deserve its place among the nations, and it must be shunned as a pariah state.
While some supporters of BDS wrongly believe the movement is about forcing Israel to withdraw from the West Bank, the real intentions of the movement are to force Israel to withdraw its Jewish character. That means the pressure continues as long as Israel exists.
It is, in the end, the latest manifestation of the media war against Israel. The message is repeated over and over in the media until, as Larry Derfner wrote recently, it starts to have an effect.
All the boycott has to do is keep growing, drop by drop – yes, like Chinese water torture – for it to succeed. Because finally, the boycott is not an economic war against Israel, it’s a psychological war, and even the skeptics would agree that it’s already had a deep, damaging effect on this country’s will to continue fighting for the West Bank and Gaza.