It often has been said that “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” And so it is with the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement that targets and demonizes Israel, and only Israel, among all the nations of the world, for harsh criticism and censure.
Many erroneously believe that the BDS movement and those who created and obsessively promote it press for an equitable peace and a “two states for two peoples” solution, as President Obama and much of the international community support. Rather, the goal of this campaign is to replace the world’s only Jewish state with a Palestinian state, thereby eliminating the State of Israel entirely — a goal that an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose.
Leaders of the BDS movement would be unlikely to give up their quest for Israel’s dissolution even if Israel were to agree to a two-state solution tomorrow. Proponents of BDS have declared unequivocally that their goal is the end of the State of Israel. Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the movement, has often stated his rejection of the “two-state solution” and his aims at eliminating Israel.
In 2009, Barghouti said categorically, “I do not buy into the two-state solution.” He states that if the goals of his movement were achieved, “you will have a Palestinian state next to a Palestinian state,” rather than a Palestinian state next to the State of Israel.
In other words, Israel will cease to exist.
A boycott against Israel would cause an endemic economic crisis for the Palestinian Authority and hemorrhaging of jobs for the 69,000 Palestinians employed by Israeli firms. A recent RAND Corp. study found that an independent Palestinian state stands to gain $50 billion over the next 10 years under a two-state solution. Consequently, there are enormous potential economic and resulting social benefits of treating Israel as a partner for peace.
This logic — the desire to build economic cooperation rather than economic annihilation that BDS engenders — has led to legislation in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly from both sides of the aisle: Democrat state Rep. Steve Santarsiero has introduced House Bill 1018 to bar state funding to universities that boycott or divest from Israel and Republican state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf has introduced a resolution that condemns boycotts of Israel and incidents of anti-Semitism — as they are increasingly connected.
For these reasons, Americans of all backgrounds have come together to reject the BDS movement and its despicable true aims. President Obama, our elected leadership on both sides of the aisle, leading academic and cultural figures, as well as student governments, leaders of industry and religious communities recognize that peace in the Middle East requires cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians.
If Americans wish to play a role in bringing the parties toward true peace, we need to work toward economic cooperation, mutual understanding and collaborative programming to create an atmosphere of reconciliation. The BDS movement, unfortunately, directly opposes this cooperation.
Originally published on Trib Live: https://archive.triblive.com/opinion/featured-commentary/palestinian-economic-annihilation/