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BDS movement growing in US universities: Israel Campus Coalition Open in fullscreen

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BDS movement growing in US universities: Israel Campus Coalition

Israel claims BDS is a strategic threat and accuses it of anti-Semitism. [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 November, 2019

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A new report says that Israel boycott movements are growing on US campuses, posing a strategic threat to the key US ally.

Boycott,divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns have increased by almost a third in the last three years on college campuses in the US, according to reports from the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC).

The report also highlights ‘interruptions’ of pro-Israel events, citing an increase from 13 to 23 disruptions per year since 2013, which are recorded by the ICC as being the highest figures since the 2011-2012 academic year. 

“As the BDS movement has become more established over time, anti-Israel tactics have become increasingly hostile as Israel’s detractors double down on efforts to make campuses inhospitable to Jews and Zionists,” the report states, condemning the graffiti of a swastika defacing the walls of San Francisco State University. 

The non-violent BDS movement says it is inspired by the campaign that targeted South Africa's apartheid regime and is seeking to put an end to Israel's brutal occupation of the West Bank.

Israel claims the movement is a strategic threat and accuses it of anti-Semitism – a claim activists firmly deny, calling it an attempt to discredit them.

But BDS, which advocates peaceful resistance, aims to pressure Israel to adhere to international law and human rights by lobbying various states, institutions and personas to understand its oppression of Palestinians and take action as a result.


The peaceful movement operates by pressuring corporations, artists and academic institutions to sever ties with Israel with supporters saying activities are aimed at promoting a Palestinian statehood.

But Pro-Palestine student groups were criticised by the ICC for their behaviour on campus, arguing that they boycotted all Jewish and pro-Israel student groups at New York University and tried to recall the election of a Jewish student as president of UC Davis.

“Protracted anti-Israel initiatives created new obstacles for the pro-Israel campus movement. In the months ahead, pro-Israel students and campus professionals face a complex reality on U.S. campuses.”

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions committee, comprised of over 170 Palestinian civil society organisations, unions, and cultural and rights groups - including all major political parties, trade and academic unions -  issued its official call for boycott in 2005.

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