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Whither the BDS Movement?

Mitchell Bard
Algemeiner – 26 August ‘2.020

A pro-BDS demonstration. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates may be one of the biggest and final nails in the coffin of the antisemitic BDS movement. The truth is that the movement has been a failure from the outset, and while it continues to attract a lot of attention, it has proven to be far less successful than the Arab League boycott, which crumbled long ago.

Many people do not realize that the Arab League initiated its boycott in 1945 before Israel existed, demonstrating, like the newer boycott, it was fundamentally antisemitic rather than anti-Israel.

The original boycott had a minimal impact despite the blacklisting of hundreds of companies, including major US brands such as Ford, RCA, and Coca-Cola. It began to crumble, however, when the United States passed anti-boycott legislation in 1978, and it became toothless after Egypt signed its peace treaty with Israel.

The BDS movement is an outgrowth of the UN forum held in Durban, South Africa in 2001. The “Durban Strategy” — called for “complete and total isolation of Israel … the imposition of mandatory and comprehensive sanctions and embargoes, [and] the full cessation of all links (diplomatic, economic, social, aid, military cooperation and training) between all states and Israel.”

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