BDS Movement against Israel Taking the Stage in US Politics

This past month the US Green Party presidential candidate, Jill Stein, a Jewish physician from Chicago, released a statement supporting the BDS movement against Israel.

The Green Party, which describes itself as a devoted to “peace, ecology, social justice and democracy”, said in the statement released by Stein:

The Jill Stein campaign… supports the BDS movement as a peaceful, nonviolent set of actions organized by civil society across the world aimed to end Israeli apartheid, occupation, war crimes, and systematic human rights abuses…

The United States has encouraged the worst tendencies of the Israeli government as it pursues policies of occupation, apartheid, assassination, illegal settlements, demolitions, blockades, building of nuclear bombs, indefinite detention, collective punishment, and defiance of international law. Therefore, the Stein campaign calls for ending military and economic support for the Israeli government while it is committing war crimes and defying international law.

 

Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, also a vocal critic of Israel, has been making overtures to the BDS camp: in May he appointed Dr. Cornel West, a prominent BDS supporter, to the Democratic Party’s important Platform Drafting Committee to push for changes in the Democratic Party’s policy on Israel. West, quoted by some as one of America’s leading intellectuals, calls Israel’s occupation of the West Bank “vicious” and “evil”. In a recent interview with MSNBC, Sanders admitted that “it would be a mistake” not to acknowledge that there is a level of anti-Semitism in the BDS movement around the world.

In contrast to the two Jewish prominent presidential candidates, Sanders and Stein, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, has taken a strong stand against the BDS movement numerous times during her campaign.

Last year Clinton sent a letter to Democratic donor, Haim Saban, in which she expressed her “alarm” over the BDS’s efforts to punish Israel and dictate how the Israelis and the Palestinians should resolve the core issues of their conflict. According to Jewish Insider, Clinton recently reaffirmed her commitment to fight BDS in a letter to prominent Jewish leaders, saying:

Please know…that I stand ready to be your partner as we engage all people of good faith—regardless of their political persuasion or their views on policy specifics—in explaining why the BDS campaign is counterproductive to the pursuit of peace and harmful to Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Following New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order this June to halt New York state business with groups that back BDS, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer announced that he will soon be introducing federal legislation against the BDS movement as well.