Originally published in Christian Today
The boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS) is ‘dangerously wrong’, according to the former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, now Lord Sacks.
In a video posted on his website, he says: ‘Because beneath the surface, it is an attempt to delegitimise Israel as a prelude to its elimination. No Jew, and no humanitarian, can stand by and see that happen.’
Will lead to wrong in the name of rights
He said the BDS campaign will harm the very people it seeks to protect and prolong the situation it seeks to end and ‘lead to wrongs in the name of rights’.
He said he supports the right of Palestinians to a state of their own, and of Palestinian children to a future of ‘dignity and hope’.
But the BDS campaign will achieve neither of these things. He said that to focus on one nation, and the only one with an effective democracy in the Middle East, looks ‘less like a campaign for human rights than a campaign against Israel’s very right to be’.
Israel’s enemies have tried to destroy it by war, by economic sanctions, politically and then by a campaign of suicide bombings. ‘Now through the BDS campaign, they are trying to delegitimise it morally.’ He said the campaign will fail, but it was still serious.
Mutation of antisemitism
He said the campaign against Israel is the latest ‘mutation’ of the world’s oldest hatred, antisemitism. He accused its proponents of seeking to silence and intimidate supporters of Israel.
He was speaking days after an unprecedented decision by one university to cancel ‘Israel Apartheid Week’. The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, an international human rights organisation which counters antisemitism, hate crime and terrorism, welcomed the decision by the University of Central Lancashire to cancel the week and called on other universities to follow suit.
Israel Apartheid Week is part of the growing BDS movement targeting Israel.