At Hope for Israel one of our main goals as a ministry is to provide a rightful understanding of Israel through a sound biblical view of God’s Word and its application in our lives. We have invested a great deal of time and research to provide our readers with comprehensive materials explaining the history of the Jewish people while considering the full context of the Scriptures in order to help others discern properly the current events taking place in Israel. Ever since its rebirth, Israel has become the center of world attention –both for adoration and criticism. It is no secret that much of the world today is currently in dispute about the legitimacy of the State of Israel as a Jewish nation. This, in large part, is due to the rejection by the Palestinians and neighboring Arab states over the Jewish people’s right to live in the land.
Unfortunately, out of this decades-long conflict has arisen in recent years a growing trend to boycott Israel. This concerted campaign is backed by the Arab League, the Palestinian Authority and pro-Palestinian activist groups from around the world, and even finding its way into the halls and pews of Western churches. We believe it is a critical time to begin to speak about this growing force that is sowing confusion and hatred about the Jewish state into the hearts of well-meaning believers. Scripture instructs us to “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance” (Proverbs 1:5).
What is BDS?
The international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a global initiative aimed at using economic, political, and academic leverage to place pressure on Israel as a way of supporting the Palestinian agenda. Governments, companies, organizations and individuals are boycotting the buying and selling of goods, products and services from Israel. In addition, there are a growing number of universities boycotting Israeli universities and professors, forbidding any form of collaboration. Unfortunately, much of their effort has warped into anti-Semitic propaganda inciting hatred and at times violence towards Jews and calling for the eradication of the State of Israel. The fruit from this BDS campaign has proved itself to be futile for the Palestinians and contradictory to the intended purpose.
Since the early 2000’s the BDS campaign has grown in size and power. It has led a multi-fold offensive focusing on five main platforms:
- Academic Boycott aims to “refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions; advocate a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions at the national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions; promote divestment and disinvestment from Israel by international academic institutions” (BDS Movement website).
- Consumer Boycott encourages individual consumers to show their opposition to Israeli policies by refusing to purchase goods and services produced by Israeli companies and international corporations dealing with Israel.
- Cultural Boycott targets all institutions, projects and events that support or are held in Israel. It reaches out to cultural figures, such as artists, authors, musicians, well-known activists, etc., to openly refuse to participate in Israel’s celebrations, speaking events, or performances of all kinds.
- Divestment/Sanctions call for the withdrawal of stocks and funds from corporations in Israel or who have investment portfolios and public funds used to finance or purchase products and services from Israeli companies. Sanctions are to be applied at a military, economic, and diplomatic level on state and global institutions.
It is important that we address each one of these platforms in order to become informed and to test the fruit of this campaign. It is our aim not only to expose the hostility and contradictory nature of the BDS movement, but also to encourage our readers to become equipped and informed with a proper understanding of why boycotting Israel is not the answer and simply not biblical. We must always seek to understand Israel and the world around us from a biblical perspective and not be swayed by the world’s way of thinking.
We also want to encourage you to be proactive in your knowledge of the BDS movement by finding ways in your communities and circles of influence to engage this issue. Read here to see a number of ideas on how best as believers we can respond.
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