Say NO to BDS at Columbia!
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We, the undersigned faculty, alumni, parents, and students, unequivocally oppose overt or oblique calls for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. We must educate our communities about the real nature and purpose of BDS and the dangers it poses.
BDS uses false premises that mischaracterize Israel in order to justify calling for sanctions against it. However, Israel is the Middle East's only democracy and it enforces fully equal rights for its 1.6 million Arab citizens who form 20 percent of the population. Israel has sought peace with all its neighbors, particularly with the Palestinians. In 2000 and 2008, Israel made concrete proposals for a Palestinian state that would exist alongside it in security and mutual recognition, and the Palestinians rejected those offers. BDS subverts all hopes for peace. It does nothing to encourage reconciliation, or Palestinians' return to direct negotiations, by advocating for no discourse with Israel until all their demands are met. Moreover, BDS gives support to Palestinian extremists and their allies abroad who oppose peaceful coexistence and the right of both Palestinians and Jews to self-determination, and who malign and try to silence Israel's supporters.
BDS deceptively claims that its purpose is to champion Palestinian rights, but its real purpose is to eliminate the Jewish state. Omar Barghouti, BDS founder and leader, was invited by CUAD to speak at Columbia on Holocaust Remembrance Day, and openly admitted that BDS would continue until Israelis and Palestinians form one Palestinian Arab state. BDS is thus a deplorable attempt to delegitimize an ancient people's ethnic identity and to deny the Jewish people the right to self-determination. Furthermore, by denying the right of self-determination only to the Jewish people and by obsessively focusing on fabricated Israeli misdeeds, BDS claims are “anti-Semitic in their effect if not in their intent," according to former Harvard University president Lawrence H. Summers.
Finally, by adopting BDS, this council will marginalize Jewish and pro-Israel students on this campus, who even now feel uncomfortable and threatened to voice their support for Jewish self-determination, regardless of political opinion and of their view of the right of Palestinians to self-determination.
Therefore, we call upon students, faculty and all concerned citizens to join us in condemning efforts to use academia to promote BDS.
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