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Indiana BDS Groups Oppose all Racism--Including Anti-Semitism

Today, the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel counts mounting victories in its struggle for a free Palestine. As it succeeds, its pro-Israel critics ceaselessly recycle a single claim against it: it is anti-Semitic.

This baseless attack has been widely refuted by organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace and Palestine Legal, but in recent weeks the campaign against BDS has taken an alarming turn. Anti-BDS forces have begun to use the swastika as a “brand” to attack boycott, divestment and resolutions work. It appeared in mid-February when it was directed against the University of Minnesota chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. Then in early March, two appeared over the course of a single weekend 70 miles apart in central Indiana.

In October 2012, more than 100 Palestinians living in Palestine and the Palestinian diaspora published the statement “The Struggle for Palestinian Rights is Incompatible with Any Form of Racism or Bigotry.” Among the signatories was Omar Barghouti, co-founder with Lisa Taraki of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel.

Barghouti and others wrote:

"The struggle for our inalienable rights is one opposed to all forms of racism and bigotry, including, but not limited to, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Zionism, and other forms of bigotry directed at anyone, and in particular people of color and indigenous peoples everywhere.

"We oppose the cynical and baseless use of the term anti-Semitism as a tool for stifling criticism of Israel or opposition to Zionism, as this assumes simply because someone is Jewish, they support Zionism or the colonial and apartheid policies of the state of Israel--a false generalization.

"Our struggle is anchored in universal human rights and international law in opposition to military occupation, settler-colonialism, and apartheid, something people of conscience of all ethnicities, races, and religions can support.

"Finally, we call on people around the world to join us in a morally consistent stance that opposes racism and bigotry in all forms. An ethical struggle for justice and equal rights in any context entails zero tolerance for racial discrimination and racism anywhere."

We, the undersigned, proclaim again, in solidarity with our forerunners: our support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel is incompatible with racism and bigotry, including but not limited to anti-Arab racism and anti-Semitism.

Indeed, since 2012, we have seen supporters of the BDS movement lead the fight against racism and bigotry: in Ferguson, Missouri, against police brutality against African Americans; in France, against Islamophobia; in Indiana, where Students for Justice in Palestine chapters and other BDS activists have been among the first to condemn expressions of anti-Semitism.

It is for this reason that major Jewish civil rights organizations, like Jewish Voice for Peace, now count thousands of subscribers who put the fight against anti-Palestinian discrimination and violence next to their commitment to fighting anti-Semitism and other forms of racism.

An end to racism in all its forms depends on an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Thus, we call again today for an end to baseless smears of individuals and organizations true to BDS;

We call for BDS advocates to retain their principled, unflagging opposition to anti-Semitism as a true BDS principle;

We call on anti-BDS activists to cease their false accusations of anti-Semitism against BDS advocates. We ask them, instead, to debate BDS without attempting to intimidate or defame us.

And we call on people of diverse faiths, races, and ethnicities to join in solidarity with the Palestinian freedom struggle by endorsing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.


American Friends Service Committee-Indiana

Christians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East-Indianapolis

Indiana Center for Middle East Peace

Interfaith Coalition for Palestine IUPUI

IUPUI Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine

Jewish Voice for Peace-Indiana

National Lawyers Guild-Indiana

Students for Justice in Palestine IUPUI

Students for Justice in Palestine Purdue

University of Indianapolis Students for Justice in Palestine

Veterans for Peace-Chapter 49


Individual Signatories:

Asma Bahrami, Students for Justice in Palestine Purdue

Ken Barger, Veterans for Peace-Chapter 49

Edward Curtis, Christians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East

Ahmed Mitiche, University of Indianapolis Students for Justice in Palestine

Bill V. Mullen, Professor of American Studies, Purdue University, and Organizing Collective, U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

Haneen Nedal, Students for Justice in Palestine IUPUI

Erin Polley, American Friends Service Committee-Indiana

Shaker Rashid, Imam, Alhuda Foundation

L. Michael Spath, Indiana Center for Middle East Peace

Mark Sniderman, Jewish Voice for Peace-Indiana

Sarah Zayed, Interfaith Coalition for Palestine IUPUI

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