BDS promotes anti-Semitism, and is harmful to Jewish students

Thursday night at an Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA) Student Council meeting a motion was passed with 249 votes for, 153 against, to support BDS. Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions, is a controversial movement to boycott products, companies and institutions that “profit from or are implicated in the violation of Palestinian rights.”

The attendance of over 400 students at a student council meeting is a big win for campus democracy, but the imminent implementation of BDS is a great loss for the student body at large. I was lucky enough to take one of the speeches against the motion, speaking alongside Brianna Sommer, President of the Jewish Society. There are thousands of arguments for and against BDS, but I’d like to explain why it’s specifically harmful and divisive on campus.

In my year as a sabbatical officer I’ve witnessed a horrific rise in anti-Semitism on university campuses all over the UK. Unsurprisingly, the speeches in favour of BDS were quick to silence cries of anti-Semitism, claiming that BDS isn’t meant to harm Jewish students, and is about the liberation of Palestinians.

The main speeches naturally focused on injustices faced by Palestinian people, but did this by attacking Israel’s economy and society, and by extension, the people of Israel, rather than the government. The motion also delegitimises Israel’s fundamental right to exist by calling it the “declared State of Israel,” an anti-Semitic statement by nature. Whatever people believe the aims of BDS to be, that doesn’t change the evidence of it having a negative effect on campus, and the fact that the concerns of many Jewish and Israeli students are being continually ignored.

I’m proud of the work that student unions do for women, BME, LGBT+ and disabled groups of students. However, the ignorance of the struggles that Jewish students face on campus is astounding from people who fight so hard for the liberation of other oppressed groups. Lecturing Jewish students on what is or is not anti-Semitic undermines their lived experiences, and goes against the basic liberation principles. I wouldn’t let a man tell me what is and isn’t sexist, for example.

Last year after a BDS vote at the University of California, swastikas were painted on a Jewish fraternity. In October 2015, at the University of Birmingham, there were posters pinned up all over campus that said “Hitler was right.” Most recently, the vice-chair of Oxford Labour Students resigned from his post with allegations that some members “had a problem with Jews.”  Anti-Semitism has often been present in radical left-wing politics, and now in the Momentum faction of the Labour Party as well.

I am deeply concerned about the marginalisation of Jewish and Israeli students on campus, and will continue to do everything I can to fight this. We cannot let our students take the brunt of people’s anger towards the Israeli government.

Wilson is current Vice President Academic Affairs for Edinburgh University Students Association.

Image: Creative Commons: Takver

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178 Responses

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  1. ReadMoreLessBull
    Apr 03, 2016 - 07:54 PM

    What a racist article…Maybe you should read more before you perpetuate fascism!

    • robablob
      Apr 04, 2016 - 09:50 PM

      Typical mindless tosh – using the words “racist” and “fascism” to shut down any discussion, when you basically don’t have the ability to build a reasoned argument against the author’s opinions. Sorry, it doesn’t work in the real world once you leave uni

      • EllyS
        Apr 05, 2016 - 08:29 AM

        Yes, isn’t it appalling to sling around the word ‘racist’ to shut down discussion. Oh wait, that’s what Imogen has done: she has claimed that those of us who promote BDS are complicit in anti-Semitic attacks.

        • robablob
          Apr 05, 2016 - 12:43 PM

          Hmm. I could say the same about your constant accusations of Israel being a racist, apartheid state. For a long time now anti-Israel movements have been looking for ways to up the ante on the human rights buzzwords to the extent they have to make things up about Israel to use them – “apartheid”, “genocide” – both factually untrue
          But my point was clearly about Readmorelessbull’s total inability to make an argument. At least Imogen makes an argument for her case.

          • Brian P
            Apr 05, 2016 - 07:06 PM

            Agreed Rob, the hypocrisy of the hard left is astounding, but no longer surprising. Thank God for the alt-right, about time they got a taste of their own medicine.

          • David
            Apr 05, 2016 - 07:56 PM

            er except Robablob the entire international community doesn’t agree with you and considers the state of Israel’s actions to be illegal

            how can a people who were treated so badly justify treating others just as bad?

            • Les Brown
              Apr 06, 2016 - 07:01 AM

              Except Israel’s actions are not illegal when you look at other countries doing the same thing, and worse, yet are never accused. Unless something illegal is a new term for something someone dislikes.
              BDS is not about helping Palestinian Arabs, it is about delegitimising Israel.

              • David
                Apr 06, 2016 - 11:27 AM

                The only totalitarian system that is obviously in existence is in the Occupied Lands where homes are stolen, people oppressed and then labelled terrorists for resisting!

                Were Jews in wartime France terrorists or freedom fighters?

              Apr 06, 2016 - 04:20 PM

              Which court deemed Israel’s actions illegal? The Arab side of the Arab-Israeli war hasn’t managed to get a single court decision yet in more than 70 years. The occupation is certainly legal. Every country is allowed to hold land until the resolution of the conflict. Just because Al-Jazeera calls it illegal it doesn’t make it illegal. BDS didn’t have to turn into an anti-Semitic racist movement. It was entirely its choice.

              • Not a Cuck
                Apr 07, 2016 - 07:03 PM

                “Every country is allowed to hold land until the resolution of the conflict. ”

                So Israel is going to conveniently be in a state of conflict until its grabbed all the land it wants. Sounds similar to the US always being in a state of war (on terror) so it can preemptively strike whoever it damn well pleases.

              Apr 06, 2016 - 04:33 PM

              As long as both Palestinian factions are committed in writing to annihilation of Israel, BDS will go in history as the forefront of the most virulent anti-Semitic and racist movement. As every mature political movement BDS had a choice. They have made a wrong one and now double down on its own anti-Semitism by blaming Jews for it.

              • David
                Apr 06, 2016 - 04:39 PM

                ?!-those are your unfounded assumptions/dot-joinings

                BDS is anti-Zionist, targeting Occupied Territories, that is peaceful and just, it does not target anyone else

                will the Israeli government acknowledge the right of Palestinians to live in the Occupied Territories?

              • Charles Joseph
                May 05, 2016 - 08:44 PM


              Apr 06, 2016 - 04:41 PM

              The BDS supporters push forward the logic according to which while the BDS leaders are racists, anti-Semites and dedicated to destruction of Israel, the movement itself is not. They, however, failed to provide a single evidence in support of this logic. The members of the movement are not far behind of their leaders, as evident from the recent events.

              • David
                Apr 06, 2016 - 04:44 PM

                mate that’s a logical fallacy, what a joke

                you say
                ‘the movement isn’t racist but it’s leaders are’
                ‘the supporters push the non-racist peaceful aspect of BDS’

                so really what you’re admitting is that BDS has indeed chosen a peaceful and just path of protest

              • EllyS
                Apr 06, 2016 - 05:02 PM

                I think you’ll find, Greg, that the onus is on YOU to provide evidence supporting your accusation that BDS is anti-Semitic.

                Look long and hard, and when you have found any statement from the Boycott National Committee that is racist, let us all know.

            • Greg
              Apr 06, 2016 - 04:50 PM

              Will any Arab government acknowledge the Palestinian right to live on their land? Decades of Arab occupation of the land the Palestinians want for their country didn’t produce a Palestinian state. Where was the BDS movement at that time?

              • David
                Apr 06, 2016 - 05:01 PM

                trying to change the subject again?

                you’ve already tried to lie about the peaceful scope and motivations of BDS -you should offer up evidence else retract your statement

                then we can talk about other things

              • EllyS
                Apr 06, 2016 - 05:04 PM

                You are starting to sound unhinged, so muddled is your rhetoric.

          • Monty Pogoda
            Apr 06, 2016 - 12:37 AM

            There is no racism here in Israel. However , There is fear and to an extent – hatred. When people are being stabbed practically everyday, I would say that hatred is a direct result. Arabs living here with us are treated as equals in every field. There are Arab parliamentarians, doctors, nurses,government workers etc., and these people prefer Israeli living over living with Hamas, or the Palestinian Authority. Were we to be left alone, I think Israel would be able to make it possible for peaceful coexistance with the West bank Arabs. We certainly don’t need BDS for this.
            Just an added thought. If BDS is true to its colors then every member should throw away his or her cell-phone.Most of the guts of all cell-phones were developed by Israelis.

            • David
              Apr 06, 2016 - 11:33 AM

              @monty why are you trying to promote the lie that BDS is anything other than a boycott of the Occupied Territories

              It’s not anti-Israel, never mind anti-Jewish

              you only discredit yourself through this

              if you believe a boycott of these stolen lands isn’t justified, make your case, else i think you need to retract your mistake

              • robablob
                Apr 06, 2016 - 12:23 PM

                David, if you really think BDS is just about boycotting products made by Israeli’s in the West Bank, then you have no clue about the movement you support. You only need to look at what is promoted at BDS events and what its ringleaders say openly in public about their desire for the Jewish state to cease to exist. Do some googling

              • David
                Apr 06, 2016 - 01:33 PM

                dear blob, you need to move towards quoting/providing evidence when make assertions

                otherwise they are empty

                and don’t expect me to do your work for you

                also, perhaps you could explain what Palestinians and civilised peoples should do in the face of such oppression?

              • Monty Pogoda
                Apr 06, 2016 - 01:51 PM

                Your so called “boycotting” has, so far, done damage to 600 Arab workers, working for a company called Soda Stream. The company closed its doors and 400 families were affected. It is sad when Arabs, treated totally equally by Soda Stream, were told they were being laid off because of a boycott. Tell the world that BDS is good and I will tell you that it is BAD. Especially if the above is one of its “wonderful”l achievements.

              • Monty Pogoda
                Apr 06, 2016 - 01:59 PM

                No mistake. BDS is doing far more damage to the Arabs than it does to Israel. Believe me – You’ve got the wrong end of the stick.The Arabs want what everybody wants – Financial security, food on the table, education for their kids etc. BDS is cutting them down financially before they can get started.

              • David
                Apr 06, 2016 - 02:04 PM

                @monty you’ve avoided my point -i’ve called you out for lying and now you’re trying to change the subject

                you claimed that BDS is aimed at all Israel/Jews, do you still stand by this?

              • ERIC MCNIEALL
                Apr 06, 2016 - 02:26 PM

                David, the examples of this are endless. BDS “face” roger waters calls for preventing artists from performing within Israel. Israeli Theater, Ballet groups, and actors are protested against by BDS followers world wide. Israeli-Palestinian LGBT groups are opposed as well. Orange Telecommunication Company had been called to leave Israel by BDS supporters, Israeli artists and singers are boycotted from international events, films (even privately sponsored ones, even critical of Israel) are boycotted from attending international film festival as part of BDS activity. And there are many other examples.

                These are all aspects of boycott that has nothing to do with the settlers, its just collective punishment against Israelis. “Divesting from Israel” is such a popular claim that it has long became a bashing mechanism “aimed at all Israel” (as you put it)

              • Monty Pogoda
                Apr 07, 2016 - 12:26 PM

                David, tell me why BDS does not interfere in , China for occupation, Russia for occupation, and Iran for occupation to name but a few? Only little little Israel which won a war forced upon it in 1967. You need your head read by a good psychiatrist.

              • David
                Apr 07, 2016 - 12:51 PM

                101 insults about psychiatrists etc only insults yourself -and as an actual doc i find it funny

                to address your points:
                why does the WWF look after animal not people? why does Barnardo’s look after kids not adult?

                BDS was formed to specifically and peacefully resist the illegal and immoral occupation by the Israeli government

                it cannot address all other forms of injustice

                if you, monty, want to make a peaceful protest organisation against Chinese human rights i’m happy to sign up and support it

              • Monty Pogoda
                Apr 07, 2016 - 03:54 PM

                I think you should examine your facts. No occupied land was taken from the Arabs and as regards morality, no nation has been fairer than Israel to a defeated entity. Before you blow your top check the facts very carefully. Don’t believe everything you hear.

              • David
                Apr 07, 2016 - 08:24 PM

                that comment is apartheid racist supremacist, pure and simple

                that land is illegally occupied, just because you say it isn’t, doesn’t make that so

                it just reflects your racist beliefs

              • Monty Pogoda
                Apr 08, 2016 - 02:00 PM

                Not worth debating you. Your brain has solidified. Look after yourself- you really need it. And I am truly sympathetic.

              • David
                Apr 08, 2016 - 02:15 PM

                oh dear -you don’t like people pointing out simple facts to you so out come the insults as you run with tail between legs

                your views do not and will not constitute international law

              • EllyS
                Apr 08, 2016 - 02:24 PM

                Monty, don’t EVER insinuate maliciously that someone has a mental health issue, offering sneering insincere sympathy. You continue to lower the standard of the discussion here. This is not a joke or about point-scoring. This is about a EUSA VPAA abusing her position to smear a courageous anti-racist campaign to end a state’s impunity. Imogen Wilson has shown herself to have no moral compass, to be self-serving and hell-bent on undermining the efforts of human rights defenders.

                Go away and take some time to reflect on who are the real victims here: Palestinians whose every attempt to end their oppression is met with the cry of ‘terrorism!’, ‘anti-Semitism!’, so that cowardly liberals wring their hands and decide it’s best not to get involved.

              • Ariel
                Apr 08, 2016 - 03:45 PM

                Ellys, I don’t really follow you. How would you interpret Palestinian armed struggle against Israel PRIOR to when the occupation of West bank and Gaza started? (before 1967). Surely there’s more to this conflict than merely the Israeli occupation

              • EllyS
                Apr 08, 2016 - 03:51 PM

                Ariel, your ignorance beggars belief. Every heard of the ‘Nakba’? 1947/’48, Zionist militia expelled 750,000 Palestinians from their homes creating the world’s longest enduring refugee problem.

              • Ariel
                Apr 08, 2016 - 04:17 PM

                I see things differently, but lets say as you suggest, that The Nakba is the cause for violence from Jordanian-control west bank and Egyptian-controlled Gaza before 1967. If that is so, why would you think a Palestinian state on all of West-Bank and Gaza will stop the violence?

              • David
                Apr 08, 2016 - 04:34 PM

                the way to peace is a two-state solution on 1967 borders with Jerusalem as a shared capital -since it is important to both peoples

                it’s not good to overthink things

              • Monty Pogoda
                Apr 09, 2016 - 07:19 PM

                Did you know that 800,000 Morrocan, Iraqui,Yemenite, Libyan Egyptian, and Algerian Jews were kicked out of these countries in 1948. Israel absorbed them. The Arabs weren’t forced out. They were told by their own leaders to leave as ” Israel was in the near future going to be destroyed and then they could return”.

              • David
                Apr 08, 2016 - 04:09 PM

                yes -do you mean like the bit where Israelis blew up the King David Hotel?

                including one of their future prime ministers

                both sides are at fault here but a true 1967-two state solution is required

              • Monty Pogoda
                Apr 09, 2016 - 07:09 PM

                None of you have ever been here to see and hear the other side of the story so too, with you, will I not bother as “I think thou dost protest too much”

              • Monty Pogoda
                May 06, 2016 - 09:11 AM

                We won a war that we did not want. We ended up getting back part of the “promised land” as described in the Bible. We have not taken any land or homes legally owned by Arabs and if you and others had the time to come and spend time here, you would find that BDS is fighting an unfounded battle, organized by both anti-Semites [Arabs and others] and by anti Zionists [a term I deem, peculiar].

              • David
                May 06, 2016 - 09:39 AM

                ‘promised in the Bible'(!) wake up Monty, this is 2016, not the stone ages

                what next? will you ‘smite’ me with nuclear weapons?

                as to anti-Zionist ‘peculiar’? no way, but you’d love to ‘cheap shot’ tarnish folk with a racist brush as anti-Semites when in fact they’re just anti-Israeli apartheid

              • Monty Pogoda
                May 06, 2016 - 09:47 AM

                I see no point in discussing with you .I believe in the bible and G-Ds promise to Israel. You believe otherwise. Good luck to you.

              • David
                May 06, 2016 - 11:22 AM

                well then let’s leave it to God to decide

                meantime, remember you live in a liberal social secular democracy

              • Ariel
                May 07, 2016 - 07:20 AM

                God has nothing to do with it. Zionism is a secular idea based on undisputed historic origin of Jews to that land. The bible is not the Jewish people “proof” for connection to the land, but recored history IS (from Roman times, to the middle ages and later). For 2000 years Jews throughout the world – in Yemen, Morocco, Spain or Germany – all wished in written evidence and prayers to “return to Jerusalem”. No serious historic scholar doubts that connection.
                However, it seems only when it comes to Jews, aboriginal aspirations are treated differently. This smells like antisematism

            • EllyS
              Apr 06, 2016 - 02:00 PM

              Monty, it really is touching your concern for the Palestinians living under military rule in the West Bank who often have no other choice than to work in illegal Israeli settlements, which are war crimes under international humanitarian law.

              In fact your sentiments called to mind the tears Boris Johnson shed over the potential loss of steelworkers jobs: I am sure that he was in no way exploiting their misfortune to promote his anti-EU propaganda campaign.

              Thanks again for sharing your concerns for the oppressed.

              • Greg
                Apr 06, 2016 - 05:53 PM

                The objectives of BDS are racist. The UN resolution of 194 didn’t call for return of the Palestinian refugees only. It didn’t use words “Palestinian refugees”. It used a word “refugee”, clearly applying it to both Jewish and Arab refugees. This is why every Arab country in the UN voted against the 194. BDS has picked and chosen which group of refugees to support for the expense of the others. This is racism.

  2. Alex
    Apr 03, 2016 - 09:36 PM

    BDS is intrinsically opposed to the Israeli government – not the average Israeli person. To take the boycott personally as an Israeli illustrates a misunderstanding of the purpose of the boycott. BDS is not anti-semitic. Naomi Klein (a Jewish author and social-activist) for example, supports BDS as do plenty of other Jewish people. Is she anti-semitic? Obviously not. Are the vast majority of people who support BDS anti-semitic? No – they are just aware, and horrified that Israel is not behaving as a normal state should be behaving under International Law.
    Campaigning against only the Israeli government clearly does not work. Israel have breached International Law countless times and fail to adhere to sanctions and fail to stop. This is why the ‘radical’ step of boycotting everything to do with Israeli is now crucial if we want to see change. The government will not take note otherwise. The more Israelis who agree, the better and the faster their government can be held to account for its monstrosities against the Palestinian people.
    The anti-semitism mentioned in the article above is deplorable and disgusting. To claim that ‘Hitler was right’ (amongst other things) is terrible and the people responsible should be punished. But to align this anti-semitism with BDS is almost as deplorable. Anti-semitism has existed for thousands of years and those who subscribe to it are in all likelihood uneducated about the happenings in the Middle East today, and not even affiliated with BDS.
    As the article so rightly says;
    ‘Unsurprisingly, the speeches in favour of BDS were quick to silence cries of anti-Semitism, claiming that BDS isn’t meant to harm Jewish students, and is about the liberation of Palestinians.’
    Unsurprisingly indeed.

    • Khaled Najjar
      Apr 04, 2016 - 02:44 PM

      Alex, My name is Khaled Najjar, I’m a Palestinian living in Luxembourg. My entire family lives in Palestine (in the west bank). Since 3 of my brothers and my cousin all work in Israeli companies, I can tell you the BDS movement is by no means a movement supported by most Palestinians. while it is popular by many in Europe, it is economically lethal for the majority of households in Palestine. you might think you are supporting Palestinians when in fact, they are the very first to be hurt from boycotting Israeli firms (aka – their own work places, which put bread on their table and pay their pension).
      As I hear a lot of this BDS talk where I live, I clearly see it is done in good heart and good intentions (mostly by good people). It is just not promoting in any way a Palestinian state, and it also prevents establishing economic joint-ventures between Palestinian and Israeli companies, and by doing so, preventing the Palestinian economy from standing of its feet.

        Apr 04, 2016 - 02:56 PM

        Khalid, If you are a real person and I doubt you are (I think you are a Zionist bullshiter). But if you are a real person, your brother and cousins are enslaved, you either break their chains, or shut up and live your life in Europe as Europeans steal your water and land.

        • EllyS
          Apr 04, 2016 - 07:16 PM

          I am beginning to suspect you’re right, but will give him the benefit of doubt…

        • Khaled Najjar
          Apr 05, 2016 - 12:26 PM

          About a week ago, you might have heard, France’s women’s rights minister claimed that Muslim women wearing Hijabs are like “negroes who accepted slavery” (look it up). Clearly you see how this twisted way of thinking caused much anger by European human rights activists and Muslim citizens. Claiming free-thinking people are actually “consenting slaves” is not only immoral but also very condescending. It might come as a shock to you, but some Palestinians actually oppose BDS (while promoting many other anti-Occupation and pro-Palestinian actions). They are no more “consenting slaves” than Hijab wearing Muslims.

          • EllyS
            Apr 05, 2016 - 12:55 PM

            Your analogy is totally bogus.

            So, you hate Israeli occupation and apartheid, but you reject the only effective tool left to Palestinians and the international community to hold Israel to account? Yes, that means isolating Israel economically and culturally. Brave Palestinians in their hundreds of thousands have endorsed it, but you are happy to join in the Zionist-led & discredited Palestinian Authority campaign to defeat it. Why else would you be on this thread?

            Once again I have to ask you: why are you on a thread that is smearing BDS as anti-Semitism without having an opinion on the subject? Don’t claim you have no idea. Is it, or isn’t it?

            • Khaled Najjar
              Apr 05, 2016 - 01:05 PM

              Why is my analogy bogus?

              I am here because I curiously followed a seemingly April Fools’ headline “Student accused of violating university ‘safe space’ by raising her hand” by The Telegraph. Then I saw it regards an issue I find morally wrong and harmful to my people (BDS activity) and so I sounded my thoughts on the matter. Isn’t allowed to oppose BDS?
              I wonder, what is your guess as to why BDS is not popular by most 1948 Palestinians? (Palestinians of Israeli citizenship)

            • Khaled Najjar
              Apr 05, 2016 - 01:30 PM

              oh, forgot to answer your last question, my apology –

              As I said, I am no expert in the issue of antisemitism. It depends on the definition of the term. If “antisemitism” stands for acts and behavior dedicated to racially attack individual Jews, than no – BDS is clearly not Antisemitic. It gets trickier, though, if Antisematism would be defined also by denying any collective Jewish right (self determination and such). But as I said before, this is hardly the reason for my strong opposition to the BDS.
              Because, unlike many Zionists critics of BDS, I don’t think your desired end-state is to harm Israel but to help Palestinians, and if indeed your true goal is to aid Palestinian people I feel a strong urge to explain why BDS actions are counterproductive and harmful mainly to Palestinians, and by no means help stop the occupation.

              • EllyS
                Apr 05, 2016 - 01:57 PM

                Khaled regarding your analogy: the French minister’s analogy is clearly racist and ignorant on so many levels. However, the Abbas Palestinian Authority is collaborationist – all the evidence points to that fact. Why? Greed, political ambition, corruption, laziness… Yet you support them – there is no accounting for taste.

                I have repeated why I support BDS and will not keep doing so.

                So you agree that BDS targeting Israeli institutions is not inherently racist? Good.

              • Khaled Najjar
                Apr 05, 2016 - 02:08 PM

                BDS targeting Israeli institutions is not inherently racist. I Agree. Not racist but also not wise.

                “Palestine will be free from the river to sea”, however, is much more problematic from a racial perspective (in fact, it is exactly what the most militant racist right wingers from the Zionist side chant as they claim the entire land to be their own).

              • EllyS
                Apr 05, 2016 - 02:26 PM

                Khaled you risk adding to the malicious misrepresention of the boycott’s objectives. They are:

                1. The end of Israel’s occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall
                2. The recognition of the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
                3. Respect for, the protection and promotion of the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

              • Khaled Najjar
                Apr 05, 2016 - 02:36 PM

                Question, then –
                Lets say we are all successful in our struggle for Palestinian national sovereignty. and lets imagine that a free Palestinian state is finally created on all of the west bank and Gaza, including east Jerusalem (AKA – Israel completely ends its illegal occupation). Now, in that future scenario, Free Palestine shares a border with Israel. why is it important if the border-wall between Israel and Palestine is 10 inch high or 50 meters high? why is it matter how two sovereign states build the border between them? The Wall as it is currently located is a crime, as it is not situated exactly on the 1967 borders (especially around Jerusalem), and cuts through Palestinian citizens. But if it had been situated on the international recognized borders, why should we oppose it? on the contrary – an actual border on the 1967 line would ensure the borders of our future Palestinian state and prevent colonization\ settlers.

            • Monty Pogoda
              Apr 05, 2016 - 05:29 PM

              BDeSh is BALDERDASH and should be thrown into the trash.
              It’s Bull Dog Sh-t and what is more, it stinks of hatred, very sore.

        • Monty Pogoda
          Apr 05, 2016 - 05:21 PM

          The Israeli company “Soda stream” closed its doors because of BDS. Six hundred Arab workers lost their jobs feeding + – four hundred families. Tell this to the world as I do.

        • Les Brown
          Apr 06, 2016 - 07:06 AM

          He must be wrong because he disagrees with you? I see that you are opposed to all Democratic principles and believe in a totalitarian system where all opposing opinions are shut down. Well done. You obviously have nothing to contribute to a liberal society.

          • David
            Apr 06, 2016 - 11:24 AM

            The IDF are well known for their propaganda tactics -where is any evidence of a Palestinian campaign to revoke the BDS (which has widespread support).

            More importantly, how on Earth did a Palestinian from Luxembourg end up commenting here?!?!

            • Khaled Najjar
              Apr 06, 2016 - 11:50 AM

              It’s called the “World Wide Web”. Have you heard of it?
              As to how I found myself here, you may read above (following an unbelievable article in The Guardian, describing what happened in EUSA)

              • David
                Apr 06, 2016 - 11:54 AM

                I provided a link (whilst accepting that Jewish support for BDS is understandably a minor view).

                Sarcasm doesn’t become you -where’s your evidence?

              • Khaled Najjar
                Apr 06, 2016 - 12:09 PM

                David, Just google Bassem Eid, who is leading the Palestinian human rights efforts against the BDS.

                There are many more Palestinians who consider BDS a stupid and counterproductive agenda than you might think (or accept).

              • David
                Apr 06, 2016 - 01:31 PM

                dear Khaled -thanks for proving my point for me, as you have shown, Palestinian anti-BDS support is essentially non-existent

                versus countless organisations and nations around the world who recognise the need for peaceful measures to send a clear message to Israel

                indeed he is the Errol Tobias of the Middle East, a token representative to create a facade of inclusiveness in an apartheid state

              • EllyS
                Apr 06, 2016 - 12:28 PM

                Khaled that was very unwise – you have shown your hand and lost all credibility. If you aren’t a Zionist hasbara plant, you are a fool.

                Bassem Eid is founder of the now DEBUNKED Palestine Human Rights Monitoring Group: Zionist lobbying groups have assigned him the task of undermining pro-Palestine solidarity activism with a special focus on Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns.

                Bassem Eid teamed with anti-Palestinian former Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz as the main speakers at a Stand With Us Anti-BDS Conference in Los Angeles to combat the boycott movement against Israel.

                Eid has regularly engaged in outlandish attacks on the growing BDS movement, but finding a Palestinian willing to adopt and parrot the same hysterical, anti-Palestinian ranting makes Eid a particularly valuable asset for racist, Zionist organizations dedicated to undermining Palestinian rights.

                Eid has willingly and wholeheartedly embraced his very LUCRATIVE ROLE as a token Palestinian working not only to undermine Palestinian solidarity in support of the inalienable Palestinian human rights, but also to blame the Palestinians themselves for their own massacres at the hands of the Israeli military. Why? Because Eid claims that they fail to rebel against both Hamas in Gaza and Fatah and the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank. He does not criticize Israel for the mass punishment and its war crimes against Palestinians as indicted by the UN Human Rights Council, Amnesty International and leading Israel human rights organisations such as B’Tselem and the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions.

                Bassem Eid has been calling upon the Palestinians to adopt non-violent means to attain their rights, yet he denounces the BDS campaign which is in essence a non-violent strategy adopted by the full spectrum of Palestinian civil society and supported by a growing global human rights movement.

                Eid is a lone voice and DOES NOT speak for the oppressed Palestinians, although he shamelessly claims to speak for the “reasonable, peace-loving” element among the Palestinian people. Meanwhile he adopts the most extreme, right-wing Zionist positions and tours the world on behalf of the usurping apartheid Israel.

              • Khaled Najjar
                Apr 06, 2016 - 12:56 PM

                Ellys, this is not a Poker game and I have no hand to hide. You have described Eid’s actions against the BDS, and it is clear you find such behavior unthinkable. Yet you don’t question the fact that he is, like myself, a Palestinian. Eid, no matter what derogatory names you use to describe him, is in fact A PALESTINIAN WHO OPPOSES BDS. Now, you tell me that he is a “lone voice” and basically this is where we disagree.

                I know how my family sees the BDS, I know how it is being used to harm specific economic \ academic aspirations of by brothers and sister. While BDS gains much support by Palestinians outside Israel, and by Orientalist-Europeans with little understanding of the Occupation, it is still being highly UNPOPULAR by Palestinian citizens of Israel. Why? Because when you boycott Israel and not the Occupation\Settlers – you boycott THEM! It’s really not that hard to understand.

                Indeed, Bassam Eid by claiming BDS is an anti-Palestinians tactic is being used by Israeli and Zionist organizations, who sees him as a legitimate actor in THEIR efforts against BDS. But the case is not Eid (which I brought up as an example to Davd’s request). The fact is that Eid is not speaking in a vacuum! and claiming he is, is just ignoring what many REAL, outside-the-classroom Palestinians, think.
                Boycotting all that is Israeli would not move us one step closer towards the end of the illegal Occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian sovereign state. But it will ruin the lives of those Palestinians who actually try to get their heads above the water.


              • EllyS
                Apr 06, 2016 - 01:16 PM

                Keep trying to claw back your credibility, Khaled, but I think it might now be out of reach. Good luck in the future.

              • Khaled Najjar
                Apr 06, 2016 - 01:50 PM

                Your ability to refrain from addressing my questions while choosing to attack me ‘Ad hominem’ is astounding (and disappointing).

      • EllyS
        Apr 04, 2016 - 02:57 PM

        Khaled, you are entitled to your view, and you have my sympathy for the economic straits you are living in. Human rights groups have rightly responded to the call from a broad section of Palestinian civil society groups calling for a boycott of Israel until it abides by international law, etc. We do so because Israel is a serial violator of international laws, and no other legitimate means of resistance has worked.

        However, Imogen Wilson is not making the argument that the boycott hurts Palestinians; she has not spared a thought for their plight; she is claiming BDS is anti-Semitic, that the real victims are Jews in British universities. It is an unconscionable claim, and potentially very damaging to students’ efforts to hold Israel to account, in the face of powerful pro-Israel lobby groups.

          Apr 04, 2016 - 06:14 PM

          I have no idea if BDS is Anti-Semitic. I hope it isn’t.
          But what I do know, as a Palestinian patriot, is that it has very little to do with Palestinian human-rights, economic welfare or the Palestinian national aspirations.

          • EllyS
            Apr 04, 2016 - 06:27 PM

            Khaled, what alternative means would you propose to hold Israel to account for its decades-long violations of international law, for which is has enjoyed complete immunity? If you don’t want to fight, then sit tight and let others do the hard work, but don’t join in the smear campaign against a principled struggle waged by your brothers and sisters.

            Frankly, your political complacency and defeatism is a very unedifying spectacle.

            • robert
              Apr 04, 2016 - 06:52 PM

              That’s right Khaled, just never mind how you really feel and just listed to how the white man tells you how to feel about your life and family

              • EllyS
                Apr 04, 2016 - 07:09 PM

                It looks very much like the ‘white man (woman)’ is telling supporters of the boycott – including most Arabs – that they are anti-Semites, which is an outrageous and baseless accusation. I have already told Khaled that he is of course entitled to his opinion, but it is defeatist in my view.

                This is how much support BDS has from Palestinian civil society:

                Endorsed by:

                The Palestinian political parties, unions, associations, coalitions and organizations below represent the three integral parts of the people of Palestine: Palestinian refugees, Palestinians under occupation and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

                Unions, Associations, Campaigns

                1. Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine (coordinating body for the major political parties in the Occupied Palestinian Territory)
                2. Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizen‘s Rights (PICCR)
                3. Union of Arab Community Based Associations (ITTIJAH), Haifa
                4. Forum of Palestinian NGOs in Lebanon
                5. Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU)
                6. General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW)
                7. General Union of Palestinian Teachers (GUPT)
                8. Federation of Unions of Palestinian Universities‘ Professors and Employees
                9. Consortium of Professional Associations
                10. Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC)
                11. Health Work Committees – West Bank
                12. Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)
                13. Union of Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC)
                14. Union of Health Work Committees – Gaza (UHWC)
                15. Union of Palestinian Farmers
                16. Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI)
                17. General Union of Disabled Palestinians
                18. Palestinian Federation of Women‘s Action Committees (PFWAC)
                19. Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
                20. Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
                21. Union of Teachers of Private Schools
                22. Union of Women‘s Work Committees, Tulkarem (UWWC)
                23. Dentists‘ Association – Jerusalem Center
                24. Palestinian Engineers Association
                25. Lawyers‘ Association
                26. Network for the Eradication of Illiteracy and Adult Education, Ramallah
                27. Coordinating Committee of Rehabilitation Centers – West Bank
                28. Coalition of Lebanese Civil Society Organizations (150 organizations)
                29. Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), Network of Student-based Canadian University

                Refugee Rights Associations/Organizations

                1. Al-Ard Committees for the Defense of the Right of Return, Syria
                2. Al-Awda Charitable Society, Beit Jala
                3. Al Awda – Palestine Right-to-Return Coalition, U.S.A
                4. Al-Awda Toronto
                5. Aidun Group – Lebanon
                6. Aidun Group – Syria
                7. Alrowwad Cultural and Theatre Training Center, Aida refugee camp
                8. Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced (ADRID), Nazareth
                9. BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Bethlehem
                10. Committee for Definite Return, Syria
                11. Committee for the Defense of Palestinian Refugee Rights, Nablus
                12. Consortium of the Displaced Inhabitants of Destroyed Palestinian Villages and Towns
                13. Filastinuna – Commission for the Defense of the Right of Return, Syria
                14. Handala Center, ‘Azza (Beit Jibreen) refugee camp, Bethlehem
                15. High Committee for the Defense of the Right of Return, Jordan
                (including personal endorsement of 71 members of parliament, political parties and unions in Jordan)
                16. High National Committee for the Defense of the Right of Return , Ramallah
                17. International Right of Return Congress (RORC)
                18. Jermana Youth Forum for the Defense of the Right of Return, Syria
                19. Laji Center, Aida camp, Bethlehem
                20. Local Committee for Rehabilitation, Qalandia refugee camp, Jerusalem
                21. Local Committee for Rehabilitation of the Disabled, Deheishe refugee camp, Bethlehem
                22. Palestinian National Committee for the Defense of the Right of Return, Syria
                23. Palestinian Return Association, Syria
                24. Palestinian Return Forum, Syria
                25. Palestine Right-of-Return Coalition (Palestine, Arab host countries, Europe, North America)
                26. Palestine Right-of-Return Confederation-Europe (Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden)
                27. Palestinian Youth Forum for the Right of Return, Syria
                28. PLO Popular Committees – West Bank refugee camps
                29. PLO Popular Committees – Gaza Strip refugee camps
                30. Popular Committee – al-‘Azza (Beit Jibreen) refugee camp, Bethlehem

                31. Popular Committee – Deheishe refugee camp, Bethlehem
                32. Shaml – Palestinian Diaspora and Refugee Center, Ramallah
                33. Union of Women‘s Activity Centers – West Bank Refugee Camps
                34. Union of Youth Activity Centers – Palestine Refugee Camps, West Bank and Gaza
                35. Women‘s Activity Center – Deheishe refugee camp, Bethlehem
                36. Yafa Cultural Center, Balata refugee camp, Nablus


                1. Abna‘ al-Balad Society, Nablus
                2. Addameer Center for Human Rights, Gaza
                3. Addameer Prisoners‘ Support and Human Rights Association, Ramallah
                4. Alanqa‘ Cultural Association, Hebron
                5. Al-Awda Palestinian Folklore Society, Hebron
                6. Al-Doha Children‘s Cultural Center, Bethlehem
                7. Al-Huda Islamic Center, Bethlehem
                8. Al-Jeel al-Jadid Society, Haifa
                9. Al-Karameh Cultural Society, Um al-Fahm
                10. Al-Maghazi Cultural Center, Gaza
                11. Al-Marsad Al-Arabi, occupied Syrian Golan Heights
                12. Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Gaza
                13. Al-Nahda Cultural Forum, Hebron
                14. Al-Taghrid Society for Culture and Arts, Gaza
                15. Alternative Tourism Group, Beit Sahour (ATG)
                16. Al-Wafa‘ Charitable Society, Gaza
                17. Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ)
                18. Arab Association for Human Rights, Nazareth (HRA)
                19. Arab Center for Agricultural Development (ACAD)
                20. Arab Center for Agricultural Development-Gaza
                21. Arab Education Institute (AEI) – Pax Christie Bethlehem
                22. Arab Orthodox Charitable Society – Beit Sahour
                23. Arab Orthodox Charity – Beit Jala
                24. Arab Orthodox Club – Beit Jala
                25. Arab Orthodox Club – Beit Sahour
                26. Arab Students‘ Collective, University of Toronto
                27. Arab Thought Forum, Jerusalem (AFT)
                28. Association for Cultural Exchange Hebron – France
                29. Association Najdeh, Lebanon
                30. Authority for Environmental Quality, Jenin
                31. Bader Society for Development and Reconstruction, Gaza
                32. Canadian Palestine Foundation of Quebec, Montreal
                33. Center for the Defense of Freedoms, Ramallah
                34. Center for Science and Culture, Gaza
                35. Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ramallah- Al-Bireh District
                36. Child Development and Entertainment Center, Tulkarem
                37. Committee for Popular Participation, Tulkarem
                38. Defense for Children International-Palestine Section, Ramallah (DCI/PS)
                39. El-Funoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe
                40. Ensan Center for Democracy and Human Rights, Bethlehem
                41. Environmental Education Center, Bethlehem
                42. FARAH – Palestinian Center for Children, Syria
                43. Ghassan Kanafani Society for Development, Gaza
                44. Ghassan Kanafani Forum, Syria
                45. Gaza Community Mental Health Program, Gaza (GCMHP)
                46. Golan for Development, occupied Syrian Golan Heights
                47. Halhoul Cultural Forum, Hebron
                48. Himayeh Society for Human Rights, Um al-Fahm
                49. Holy Land Trust – Bethlehem
                50. Home of Saint Nicholas for Old Ages – Beit Jala
                51. Human Rights Protection Center, Lebanon
                52. In‘ash al-Usrah Society, Ramallah
                53. International Center of Bethlehem (Dar An-Nadweh)
                54. Islah Charitable Society-Bethlehem
                55. Jafra Youth Center, Syria
                56. Jander Center, al-Azza (Beit Jibreen) refugee camp, Bethlehem
                57. Jerusalem Center for Women, Jerusalem (JCW)
                58. Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC )
                59. Khalil Al Sakakini Cultural Center, Ramallah
                60. Land Research Center, Jerusalem (LRC)
                61. Liberated Prisoners‘ Society, Palestine
                62. Local Committee for Social Development, Nablus
                63. Local Committee for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled, Nablus
                64. MA‘AN TV Network, Bethlehem
                65. Medical Aid for Palestine, Canada
                66. MIFTAH-Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, Ramallah
                67. Muwatin-The Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy
                68. National Forum of Martyr‘s Families, Palestine
                69. Near East Council of Churches Committee for Refugee Work – Gaza Area
                70. Network of Christian Organizations – Bethlehem (NCOB)
                71. Palestinian Council for Justice and Peace, Jerusalem
                72. Palestinian Counseling Center, Jerusalem (PCC)
                73. Palestinian Democratic Youth Union, Lebanon
                74. Palestinian Farmers‘ Society, Gaza
                75. Palestinian Hydrology Group for Water and Environment Resources Development-Gaza
                76. Palestinian Prisoners‘ Society-West Bank
                77. Palestinian Society for Consumer Protection, Gaza
                78. Palestinian University Students‘ Forum for Peace and Democracy, Hebron
                79. Palestinian Women‘s Struggle Committees
                80. Palestinian Working Women Society for Development (PWWSD)
                81. Popular Art Centre, Al-Bireh
                82. Prisoner‘s Friends Association – Ansar Al-Sajeen, Majd al-Krum
                83. Public Aid Association, Gaza
                84. Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies
                85. Saint Afram Association – Bethlehem
                86. Saint Vincent De Paule – Beit Jala
                87. Senior Citizen Society – Beit Jala
                88. Social Development Center, Nablus
                89. Society for Self-Development, Hebron
                90. Society for Social Work, Tulkarem
                91. Society for Voluntary Work and Culture, Um al-Fahm
                92. Society of Friends of Prisoners and Detainees, Um al-Fahm
                93. Sumoud-Political Prisoners Solidarity Group, Toronto
                94. Tamer Institute for Community Education, Ramallah
                95. TCC – Teacher‘s Creativity Center, Ramallah
                96. Wi‘am Center, Bethlehem
                97. Women‘s Affairs Technical Committee, Ramallah and Gaza (WATC)
                98. Women‘s Studies Center, Jerusalem (WSC)
                99. Women‘s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling, Jerusalem (WCLAC)
                100.Yafa for Education and Culture, Nablus
                101.Yazour Charitable Society, Nablus
                102.YMCA-East Jerusalem
                103.Youth Cooperation Forum, Hebron
                105.Zakat Committee-al-Khader, Bethlehen
                106.Zakat Committee-Deheishe camp, Bethlehem

            • KHALED NAJJAR
              Apr 04, 2016 - 09:46 PM

              ELLYS, You asked, in what seems to be a genuinely good intention, so I will try to answer as it is an issue very personal for me.
              Frankly Ellys, holding Israel accountable for its government crimes is not my first priority. What I do care about most is achieving a sovereign Palestinian state, which sustains itself financially and providing a bright future for the (rightfully frustrated kids). Now, I can see how political activism in the academia fuels young people with a demand for “Justice”. But in order for a Palestinian state to emerge – THE OCCUPATION MUST END, not the state of Israel. Settlers in the west bank should be boycotted and the very existence of the Israeli occupation in the west bank should be deemed by all as unacceptable: From the so-called University in the settlement of Ariel to settlers wineries.
              However, this is not what the BDS is doing. While BDS calls for the boycott of anything Israeli, just for being Israeli, it undermines the efforts to achieve a State while hurting Palestinians much more than it tickles the Israeli economy. BDS calls for eliminating financial ties to Israeli firms, and by doing so actually damages the ability for Palestinians who are Israeli citizens from creating effective joint ventures with west bank Palestinian companies. Yes, a low-tech factory for construction hardware in Nazareth perhaps can work with Palestinian companies, but once you go a little bit up scale (let say, a Palestinian high-tech company), you see how BDS shoots us in the leg. An Israeli Bank or an investment fund wants to invest in such a company, and all of a sudden, the so-called human rights activists are the ones preventing such investment from taking place, describing it as “necessary boycott of Israel”. It is a feel-good call to action promoted by students and many Arabs around the world and in the refugee camps, but it is a day-by-day crippling machine for Palestinian self dependency.
              The occupation should end, but it will never happen when the entire state of Israel is the target of the BDS. Anyone living here who is decent would tell you Israel is part of the solution and it is not going to disappear. In the meanwhile, my sister who lives in East Jerusalem (Isawiya) studies in the Hebrew university, telling me on the phone how absurd it is that her scientific research grant is being delayed because the European school her lab works with, considers boycotting Israeli Universities, and thus eliminating her funding. Every time a motion of BDS passes, it is a Palestinian in the end of the line paying the price. All might seem black and white in the corridors of the academia, but as someone who grew up in Palestine I can tell you it is much more complex and you must question any dichotomous view. The Israelis are ***holes, but so are the Palestinian officials. Trying “to hold them accountable for their violations” is not the goal, its just means to an end. And that end, of a viable, beautiful state of Palestine, my homeland, needs an economy linked with Israel’s strong economy. BOYCOTT Israeli activity within the west bank, INVEST in Israeli companies only if they are not working in west-bank settlements, SUPPORT Palestinian economic ties with Israeli leading companies, ENCOURAGE Palestinian students and programs in research universities in Israel, ASSIST Palestinian young entrepreneurs gain advantage in the financial market they live and work in.
              BDS is blind to all of that, and that is also why it is so loud in Europe and Arab countries, while much less visible in the West bank and hardly not-existent in the Palestinian Israeli-citizens community. It is a campaign which hardly affects Israel (its economy or settlement policy), strongly hurts Palestinians and actually fuels radicals to oppose any political \ economic agreement what so ever. Although it comes as a shock to some “good souls” in this forum, this point of view is held by many Palestinians (both in the west bank and clearly within Israel), and you should pay attention to it as well.
              So, as opposed to what you commented, I DO want to fight. I want to fight for Palestinian self determination, national sovereignty as well financial stability and security. Boycotting everything Israeli is not helpful – it is harshly counterproductive. Personally, I am sick of hearing how BDS initiatives are constantly hurting my family and my people, “in my name”, while not moving the Israeli motivation for occupation by one inch!
              I wish and pray you would have the decency to actually listen.

              • robablob
                Apr 04, 2016 - 10:04 PM

                Khaled, you are making points that most supporters of BDS cannot understand: the idea that helping Palestinians build a thriving society in the West Bank and Gaza and helping people to end their dependency on UN aid is more important than hating and attacking Israel. Sadly many people who care about Palestinians are misled by organisations such as BDS into believing the best way to show they care is by politically fighting Israel rather than investing in developing Palestinian society, e.g. helping start-up businesses, helping to promote human rights and to bring and an end to political corruption under the Palestinian Authority and particularly Hamas’s rule. I am sure you know more about these problems and difficulties than me. I do hope that at some point BDS supporters understand this and direct their energies into making a positive difference.

              • EllyS
                Apr 05, 2016 - 08:13 AM

                So, Khaled you support a partial boycott of Israel – in the occupied West Bank, and its illegal settlements.

                And you don’t see how Israeli institutions inside Israel/’48, even its universities, are complicit in the military ‘security’ industry that perpetuates the occupation and land grab.

                You would ask us in the UK to trust the labellers of goods from Israel that are routinely mislabelled as ‘made in Israel’, when in fact they are from illegal settlements.

                And Gaza, and the refugees? Where does that fit into your Palestinian state on an ever-shrinking stretch of land? What pressure do you think we should apply to Israel to force it to end its siege of Gaza, and respect the UN-protected right of return of the refugees?

                Your presence on this thread is peculiar because the article is entitled ‘BDS promotes anti-Semitism’. Well, do you agree or not with that claim?

              • Khaled Najjar
                Apr 05, 2016 - 08:57 AM

                ELLYS, An Israeli steal manufacturer company, which is actually a Palestinian-citizen-of-Israel’s company in Nazareth, would be boycotted by BDS for being Israeli, and thus “complicit in the military ‘security’ industry”. This only makes sense to people who sees the conflict in a dichotomous (or even childish) fashion. My sister’s medical lab in the Hebrew University is no more “complicit in the military occupation” than your next-door grocery store, yet you seem to be convinced you are actually helping my sister’s “true Palestinian goal” by boycotting her lab.
                A new European resolution demands separate labeling of goods. And in any case, this can not be an excuse to harm more than a million Palestinians within Israel that are the target of your boycott. You see, when you boycott illegal settlements, you boycott the Jewish settlers and support Palestinian goods in that area. But when you boycott all of Israeli good, you boycott many many (many!) Palestinian-israeli workers, goods, and companies. If you fail to see that, it is a serious moral problem in the BDS agenda.
                The people in Gaza, dear Ellys, are my brothers and sisters, but what’s going on in Gaza (as you will hear from anyone in the west bank) has a lot to do with Hammas refusing the Palestinian internal unity agreement. Lack of Palestinian unity troubles the average Palestinian very much, as the ability to conduct normal financial and social ties with Gaza has practically stopped in 2008. Instead of crying out about the illegal siege of Gaza, try calling for the return of Palestinian Government control over the area Hammas violently took over, and then, it would be much much easier to lift the siege. Hammas is considered by many west bank educated and working-class people to be an enemy and a threat no less than Israel is.
                As regard to your last question, I admit I really don’t know enough about Antisemitism as to claim BDS is clearly anti-Semitic. Clearly there are also Jews who support it. It does not change the fact that supporters of BDS, Jews and non-Jews alike, are worsening the current state of Palestinians, instead of promoting them and advancing them into a viable state. And if that is the case, then perhaps BDS is the wrong path to march in.

              • EllyS
                Apr 05, 2016 - 09:54 AM

                You are starting to show your true political colours, Khaled: you would sooner blame Hamas than Israel for the inhumane blockade of Gaza.

                You also don’t seem to understand the history of boycott: it is a act of last resort, when all other means of ending apartheid and violations of international law have been exhausted, and have failed. I don’t doubt that some South Africans resented the potential and short-term economic sacrifices they had to make in order to end apartheid.

              • Khaled Najjar
                Apr 05, 2016 - 12:24 PM

                ELLYS, My political point of view identical to the one of the Palestinian Government, and I’m not hiding it in any way. Palestine president Abbas himself clearly explained (to South-Africans, imagine that) that a Boycott should be addressed ONLY to the area of the occupation (where a future Palestinian state will, InshAlla, be created. AKA – the west bank and Gaza) – and should not be addressed towards whole of Israel. (He said flat out in Mandela’s funeral that he doesn’t support the boycott of Israel, but that he calls for people around the world not to deal with Israeli settlers and their products: “No, we do not support the boycott of Israel, But we ask everyone to boycott the products of the settlements. Because the settlements are in our territories. It is illegal.”) WHY is it you insist on ignoring this very common Palestinian view? I truly don’t understand.

                Regarding Hammas, you clearly don’t understand the real attitude towards Hammas by the majority of west bank Palestinians. Come for a visit and read a little. This is my own life I’m talking about here. It is completely possible to consider both Hammas and Israel as obstacles for a Palestinian state.

                It’s quite remarkable to see how you describe the economic destruction of actual Palestinians living thousands of miles away from you as “short-term economic sacrifice”. Besides, your South-Africa analogy is flawed as the Apartheid regime back then existed in the ENTIRE country, thus demanding the elimination of the existing country and replacing it with another. In Palestine, the violations of international law exists in the occupied west bank and Gaza (while a very different situation exists within Israel itself, towards the 1948 Palestinians). The national Palestinian council demands the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, and thus these areas should be boycotted (and not all Palestinians in Israel, which will eventually exist alongside the free and sovereign country of Palestine).

              • Steve
                Apr 05, 2016 - 11:20 AM

                Ellys screeches about ‘illegal settlements’. They aren’t. Ellys cannot name a single actual LAW that makes Jewish presence in J&S ‘illegal’. Ellys simply regurgitates without thinking slogans he heard somewhere.
                He also thinks that Israel, not Hamas, is to blame for Hamas rockets on Israeli citizens.
                What a shining example Ellys is of a university student.

              • Greg
                Apr 06, 2016 - 05:30 PM

                Khaled, thank you for your comments here. Very helpful. Just one question. You are against the west bank Jewish settlements but for the west bank based joint ventures. Can you please explain this. Thanks again.

              • EllyS
                Apr 06, 2016 - 05:34 PM

                By ‘west bank joint ventures’, he means illegal Israeli settlements that are a war crime under the international humanitarian law.

                Carry on.

              • KHALED NAJJAR
                Apr 06, 2016 - 07:04 PM

                EllyS , Please allow me to answer questions addressed to me, as your answer clearly shows you didn’t understand what I’m saying, converting it once again to a childish black and white view of things.

                Greg – Indeed, I am completely AGAINST west-bank settlements. They are obstacles for achieving any possibility of a Palestinian state, and are illegal, as that territory is not recognized by anyone as part of Israel. An Israeli settlers’s firm in the west bank is as bad as the settlements they live in, and I promote boycotting them until it would close.
                However, as EllyS and other over simplifying fanatics don’t seem to comprehend, I am completely FOR joint ventures of Palestinian firms or individuals with Israeli (from within Israel proper, not in settlements) firms and organizations. When An-Najah University in Nablus wants to conduct a joint academic project with Tel-Aviv University, its absurd that BDS shouters demand for academic boycott on all Israeli academic institutes, and thus preventing the cooperation. Tens of thousands Israeli-Palestinians from Jaffa, Jerusalem, Lod, etc, study in Israeli Universities, but if they want to take part in a Palestinian academic event (or a European one), they are considered “representatives of Israeli university” and all the BDS “academic boycott champions” roar.

                From a financial aspect, I want small companies and entrepreneurs to work together and be enriched by Israeli companies who are willing to support Palestinian economy. But when my brother tries to sign a contract with an Israeli leading medical equipment company for equipping local health clinics in a Palestinian town, he needs to confront overseas BDS twats who tells him “its better not to buy at all then to buy from ‘Al yahud’. This is not only stupid. It’s crippling economically. Whoever support BDS is actively deciding to never allow a Palestinian free market to form. Israel is not going away, and thus we must fight its occupation policy and not it as a whole.


              • Greg
                Apr 06, 2016 - 05:47 PM

                The BDS anti-Semitism is hard coded in its objectives. They supposedly fight for the “..rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194”. This is not true. In fact, the 194 does not say “Palestinian refugee”, it says “refugees”, referring to both the Arab and Jewish refugees. A clear racism on the BDS side. This is why every single Arab country in the UN voted against the 194. The BDS lies do not help to cover its racism.

              • EllyS
                Apr 06, 2016 - 05:53 PM

                Still waiting for the evidence of anti-Semitsm. So far you have just distorted the goals of BDS to fit your narrative.

            • Steve
              Apr 05, 2016 - 11:14 AM

              All those shouting incessantly about Israel ‘breaching international law’, are incapable of pointing to a single actual LAW that Israel is ‘breaching’ (there isn’t any). They simply dislike Israel, as all spoiled ignorant brats have to hate SOMETHING.
              I just love the smug Europeans who tell a Palestinian posting here how he should be supporting or not supporting his brothers back home. A bunch of arrogant adolescents.

              • EllyS
                Apr 05, 2016 - 12:40 PM

                Now Khaled is quoting and promoting the views of the collaborationist Abbas PA, which will always try to do its job: to co-opt and destroy any popular mobilisation against Israeli tyranny.

              • Khaled Najjar
                Apr 05, 2016 - 12:46 PM

                Unbelievable 🙂

                could it be possible, by any chance, that those words spoken by the “collaborationist Abbas” actually represent an existing sentiment by many Palestinians? could you grasp that option? or would that only mean that these Palestinians must be mind-numb “consenting slaves”?

              • EllyS
                Apr 05, 2016 - 01:23 PM

                Khaled, there you go again with your absurd analogy.

                I have chosen – alongside social justice campaigners worldwide – to support the 2005 Palestinian call for BDS endorsed by almost 200 Palestinian civil society groups and supported by hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. You happen not to be one of them. Fine: your decision.

                So, one again: do you agree with the thrust of Imogen’s ‘argument’?

      • Simon Cobbs
        Apr 04, 2016 - 03:18 PM

        Bravo Khaled, at last a voice of reason. Congratulations on speaking the truth. Very brave and much appreciated

        • EllyS
          Apr 04, 2016 - 03:26 PM

          Well, well if it isn’t Simon Cobbs, founder of Sussex Friends of Israel praising a Palestinian for not supporting the boycott campaign. As anti-Zionist Tony Greenstein has pointed out ‘Cobbs is happiest of all when in the company of either the fascists of the English Defence League or the neo-Nazi Jewish Defence League. Indeed the Jewish Chronicle once did a feature on the activities of what it thought were SFI, but they turned out to be the EDL. Jewish Chronicle ‘mistakes’ English Defence League for Sussex Friends of Israel.’

          What a moral beacon! What a ringing endorsement of your views Imogen.

          • Steve Marks
            Apr 04, 2016 - 10:46 PM

            seems to me you have some serious issues with Jewish people, Ellys, but trying to hide that under the guise of evil “Zionists” and “apologists” who are “crying wolf about anti-Semitism” [which obviously doesn’t exist in your world where Jews have never faced persecution]. Perhaps it would be best for you to take a bit of a time-out to reflect on how your wanton accusations and inability to engage in other people’s points of view offers the most direct support for what the author of this article is outlining as a severe and dangerous problem within the BDS movement. In simpler terms, it seems very important for you to be “right”, and be on record as following the accepted framing and language of BDS and associated groups, than to really consider the raging problem of anti-Semitism that is, indeed, rife within the movement, affiliated organizations, and increasingly on college campuses.

            Disclaimer–I am not an Edinburgh student, but I am considering applying there in a research capacity. I am Jewish, and have to give this some serious second thoughts–as it feels like a dangerous and hate-riddled environment for myself and my community.

            I hope you come to your senses, and stand for true peace between Israel and Palestine and the truly human residents of each of these two states.

            • EllyS
              Apr 05, 2016 - 08:22 AM

              It’s anti-semitic of me to point out that Cobbs marches alongside neo-Nazis?

            • Steve
              Apr 05, 2016 - 11:28 AM

              Bravo, mate; well said in every respect; but I wouldn’t hold my breath as far as Ellys is concerned. He seems entirely incapable of rational discourse, never mind checking facts: and that is because evidently he is not interested in doing so.

              • EllyS
                Apr 05, 2016 - 12:36 PM

                Has it not occurred to you that Elly might be a woman’s name?

      • David
        Apr 05, 2016 - 07:57 PM

        dear khaled, we all think you’re made up

          Apr 05, 2016 - 08:55 PM

          This is so unbelievably depressing…. seriously.
          It’s like Catch-22. Listening to a Palestinian with a different point of view just “doesn’t compute” as possible for some of you BDS-fans.
          Sad, sad, sad indeed.

          while EllyS at least kept a descent dialogue, and it is clear that she truly wishes better lives for Palestinians, your sinister remark just highlight the kind of immature attitude that shuns many pro-Palestinians away from your cause.

          • Benjamin
            Apr 06, 2016 - 08:36 AM


            You are wasting your time mate.
            The luni left doesn’t care about Palestinians, they only care about Jews, sorry, Isrealeis, sorry, zionists.
            You and your people are just used as a proxy to vent hatred. Aren’t they a hateful bunch?
            Promoting a boycott against the Jewish state and no other state. Against a country that’s been under attack for 72 years rnning – because it is Jewish. Boycotting products made by Jews but no one else’s.
            They don’t get it.
            They are righteous!!

  3. Naomi
    Apr 03, 2016 - 10:41 PM

    While antisemitism on the rise is horrific, your argument that BDS is antisemitic is complete unsubstantiated hogwash. Honestly, you would have thought a few years at university would have taught you to write articles justifying your own arguments.

  4. Nao
    Apr 03, 2016 - 11:00 PM

    Ah yes, words of wisdom from the individual whose conduct was such that she forced her fellow students to invoke safe space protections. I’ll be sure to take this under consideration immediately.

    • EllyS
      Apr 04, 2016 - 02:46 PM

      Imogen Wilson is an attention-seeking apologist for Israeli apartheid. She has used the platform afforded to her because of her ludicrous victimhood narrative regarding the safe space violation, to underline her warped view that the peaceful boycott campaign against Israel is anti-Semitic. She is either grossly stupid or cynically malicious. Likely both.

    • robablob
      Apr 04, 2016 - 10:15 PM

      “forced her fellow students to invoke safe space protections” – by raising her hand and shaking her head?!? The papers are already having a field day on how ridiculous the extreme interpretation of safe space at EUSA is

      • EllyS
        Apr 05, 2016 - 08:19 AM

        Yes, isn’t it such an extraordinary coincidence that EUSA VPAA – who more than anyone else should understand ‘safe space’ – starts speaking to the press about people victimising her and mentions that her real concern is BDS, and those articles link to this article in which she makes the outrageous claim it promotes anti-Semitism.

        • robablob
          Apr 05, 2016 - 12:49 PM

          Coincidence? Oh I see, you must mean it;s another Jewish conspiracy

  5. NRJ
    Apr 04, 2016 - 12:00 AM


  6. student
    Apr 04, 2016 - 12:50 AM

    The conflict between Israel and Palestine is not about religion; it is about land. A systematic seizure of land that has left the Palestinian people with no state of their own. To equate BDS with anti-semitism is absurd. Why don’t you tell the UN they’re racist for condemning North Korea’s rocket launch and all.

  7. EllyS
    Apr 04, 2016 - 09:00 AM

    This is such an intellectually impoverished argument that I’d rather ignore it, but these are pernicious lies.

    First let me say that you cannot claim to be anti-racist and socially progressive when you smear a courageous, grassroots campaign to end apartheid by the oppressed as ‘racist’: it is malicious and detrimental to the advance of human rights. You are siding with groups that put ‘national security’ and ‘racial purity and supremacy’ over the human rights of citizens and refugees.

    Second, if you apologise for the racist nature of the state of Israel – as it currently is – then you cannot claim to have feelings that need to be taken into account. Sorry you feel hurt, but that is because of your own cruel ideology that blinds you to the feelings of people who are suffering daily because of the policies you do not want to rise up against. Worse, you would claim victimhood yourself. Your feelings are no concern of ours.

    Third, you so conflate Zionism and Judaism, Israel and the Jewish people that you imply all Jews are invested in the settler-colonialism and war crimes of the Israeli State. That is dangerous. In doing so, you will only contribute to a rise in anti-Semitism.

    Fourth, you repeat the as yet unsubstantiated claims of Alex Chalmers who was angered at the Labour club’s endorsement of Israeli Apartheid week. And regarding James Elliott, Israel apologists were targeting him because of his article entitled ‘Israel’s defendants have questions to answer’. He discusses “the war crimes committed against Palestinian students”; which he had witnessed when visiting the Israeli military court system. Noting that “Palestinians are taken to prisons in Israel in violation of Geneva Conventions, frequently abused and tortured, then convicted by kangaroo courts on ‘secret evidence’”. The prisons in question “were equipped by G4S”; which Elliott clearly wants Oxford University to withdraw its financial investments from. He then says:

    “How anyone could justify a university holding investments in such a company is beyond me, but this is the position of those who oppose boycotts. I don’t like being smeared as anti-Semitic, but I don’t bleed from it either”.

    Concluding this is anti-Semtism is to see racism where it doesn’t exist: his point is that while the accusation is unpleasant, he is not suffering like the Palestinians. He is not asking anyone to feel sorry for him when there are people whose lives, livelihoods, freedom and homes are being brutally, violently taken from them. He wants our gaze to remain on the real victims. Unlike you.

    • robablob
      Apr 04, 2016 - 12:08 PM

      If you consider a movement that disseminates half-truths and lies with its top supporters explicitly calling for the destruction of the Jewish state to be courageous, then we can see exactly where you stand. BDS does NOTHING for Palestinian human rights and everything to purely delegitimise Israel and present it as some sort of unredemptive monster. Where Arab states have failed to destroy Israel physically, BDS picks up the gauntlet in order to destroy it politically.
      There is no apartheid in Israel with Arabs involved in all levels of society. The state of Israel is in no way intrinsically racist. The author of the article has valid feelings and is entitled to share them regardless of how you view them. So do Jews across UK university campuses and your admission that their feelings are no concern of “ours” perfectly displays the egotistic and destructive nature of BDS adherents who are so indoctrinated that they cannot see any validity in the state of Israel or those who support it. Zionism is a central tenet of Judaism. Most of the laws given in the Torah are dependent on living in the Land of Israel and the majority of Jews are Zionists in one definition or another. Yes that does not mean they support all policies of the various governments of Israel over the last decades and that conflation is only yours.
      Please enlighten us as to how Alex Chalmers claims are unsubstantiated? Even the Labour party are too scared to release the report on OULC. Once again you presume to be the judge and arbiter of what anti-Semitism is to suit your world view.
      The singling out of Israel and only Israel on campus and by various “human rights” groups shows time and again how this obsession with the Jewish state in light of the various conflicts and occupations in the world hints at treating Jews differently. The Jewish State is apparently uniquely evil and deserves to be boycotted whilst everyone else gets let off scot-free. That is anti-Semitism.

      • Steve
        Apr 05, 2016 - 11:24 AM

        Rob, stop confusing these ignorant brats with facts. They hate Israel for being successful in the face of genocidal attempts to annihilate her, and like all spoiled brats they screech and foam at the mouth and throw their toys out of the pram when the world doesn’t do as they demand. It were laughable were it not so sad that such people are admitted to university as student: people who don’t look up facts and think and analyse, but merely regurgitate slogans of hatred and bigotry.

        • robablob
          Apr 05, 2016 - 12:52 PM

          Steve. Yes I know. My response was really for other readers of this thread who aren’t obsessive Israel haters. Notably Ellys hasn’t responded

  8. EllyS
    Apr 04, 2016 - 09:07 AM

    To the editors of the Student Newspaper, you should not be giving platforms to people who are part of an organised smear campaign by the lobbies of a powerful state, whose sole objective is to silence the voices of human rights activists and defenders, and maintain the status quo of military occupation, illegal settlement and apartheid.

    • Harvela
      Apr 04, 2016 - 05:08 PM

      Hilarious ! Any right of reply is considered to be a smear campaign . Textbook Marxist counter propaganda .

      • EllyS
        Apr 05, 2016 - 10:04 AM

        A smear is indeed a smear. Efforts to condemn anti-Zionism and BDS are part of a well documented, politically motivated international campaign to shut down speech critical of Israeli policies.

        • Harvela
          Apr 05, 2016 - 11:41 AM

          There are no smears . Only facts. Antizionism is the denial of Jewish Right of self determination within any borders while pursuing that same right for Palestinians within the land ‘ from River to Sea . That is an undeniable fact nd why antizionism via its policy of bds is at once a racist and fascist concept .

  9. Ainsley
    Apr 04, 2016 - 10:00 AM

    Do you know that the Israeli engagement society takes money from the Israeli embassy? Where is your investigative journalism? Would you mind telling us how much money she got paid for this? How much Theo Robertson Bonds gets paid for his Tweets? Shame on EUSA for turning it’s societies into apartheid lobbies. Viva Palestina!

  10. Harvela
    Apr 04, 2016 - 10:00 AM

    BDS is quite unambiguous in its call for a Palestinian state ‘ from the River to the Sea thereby denying Jewish right to self determination within any borders . Where three existential wars and two Intifadas failed , BDS hopes to succeed in maintaining its call for RoR for millions of so called refugees not to a Palestinian state but to Israel pre 67 borders thereby eradicating the Jewish nation state by demographic means . That some 7 million Israelis might just object to such a solution seems to have escaped the attention of BDS .
    Ultimately denying Jewish right to self determination is in itself antisemitic hence the concerns of Jewish / Israeli students

  11. Andrew
    Apr 04, 2016 - 01:03 PM

    You don’t actually explain in this article why the BDS movement is inherently anti-semitic. In fact, this read like a bit of a non article. I don’t really see you saying anything even remotely of note at any point. I also find the line ” I wouldn’t let a man tell me what is and isn’t sexist, for example.” to be incredibly worrisome. It is a warning sign to show that you are incapable of rational thought or true empathy.

  12. a reasonable student
    Apr 04, 2016 - 01:08 PM

    This motion passed student council. That is a fact.

    Imogen is a representative of EUSA and the student body. The responsible thing for her to do now (and the rest of the team) would be to build bridges. EUSA is going to have to implement BDS that’s non negotiable unless somebody implements a vote reversing it next year. What needs to happen is that it is implemented in a way that doesn’t cause extreme responses on campus – this article (which implies that BDS is motivated by anti Jew views, and doesn’t mention why people oppose Israel) does not help that.

    Imogen and the other elected officers, now is the time to lead and react to the situation. Stop publishing anti BDS articles and earn your salaries by helping to quell and calm this situation. Start thinking how this is going to be implemented without alienating people or breeding Anti-semeticism or anti-arab/muslim sentiment.

    • A Concerned Student
      Apr 04, 2016 - 02:48 PM

      ^this IS a reasonable student.

      “Imogen and the other elected officers, now is the time to lead and react to the situation…”
      As a student at the University of Edinburgh, it saddens me that instead of leading the university you are taking an active role dividing it – especially when your students made their choice.

  13. EllyS
    Apr 04, 2016 - 01:11 PM

    Imogen, they love you over at the Daily Mail for standing up to these horrible lefties: you are a real hero for UKIP-ers!

    Those same xenophobes support the actions of neo-Nazis in Brussels and abhor the support that a broad section of the left give to Palestinians in their struggle against their occupiers, concluding like you that it is anti-Semitic. They love Israel so much they will march with neo-Nazis. A paradox you think? Not at all, Israel apologists and the far right have in common their profound racism, and Arabs/Muslims are a threat to their racial supremacist views. And they will not stand for any challenge to their political and cultural dominance.

    Will you stand with the oppressor or oppressed?

  14. Eric McNieall
    Apr 04, 2016 - 02:22 PM

    A Palestinian state is critical. that is obvious to the majority of educated people around the world and to vast amount of Israelis. The occupation of Arab land conquered in 1967 will eventually end. However, this has nothing to do with the right of the Israelis for their own state. while chanting “From the river to sea, Palestine will be free”, they clearly support not the establishment of a Palestinian state, but of the destruction of an existing one. This rhetoric is clearly anti-Semitic and has little to do with facts on the ground or wishing to support Palestinian human-rights.
    When a Palestinian-Israeli Gay organization is being boycotted by BDS because it is located in Jaffa, Israel – it shows the BDS’s real face. Human rights has nothing to do with it.

    • David
      Apr 06, 2016 - 11:30 AM

      er BDS’s clearly stated aims are to boycott the Occupied Territories or the Israeli war machine

      you need to read up mate

  15. Concerned Former Student
    Apr 04, 2016 - 06:39 PM

    Ellys, I’m not sure what you’re purpose is but its pretty unhelpful. You are a hard leftist (I think I’m justified in saying that) and that is fine, but you’re coming across as narrow-minded-ly as those you’re looking to attack.

    As a former Edinburgh Student, I was proud of EUSA’s liberal values but during my time there, but I worried that open-mindedness wasn’t one of them, and the reactions to this story plus the story of how Imogen was shut down thanks to ‘safe space violations’ only helps to confirm that. ‘Safe space’ is of course an important tool, but that means it all the worse when its implemented in the wrong way. In online discussions, and anecdotally from friends, I have come across incidents in Edinburgh where people with fairly reasonable, liberal views (including opposition to BDS which is in not, in itself, a ‘right-wing’ stance to take) have simply be shut down and then ridiculed – to the extent of what i would consider ‘trolling’.

    I guess my general point is that open-mindedness – a willingness to, at the very least, listen to why people disagree with you – is so important, and is the only way discussions like this can progress. My worry is that open-mindedness has become increasingly undervalued by some people in Edinburgh.

    • EllyS
      Apr 04, 2016 - 07:14 PM

      If ‘hard leftist’ is an insult from you then i will take it as a compliment. My purpose is very clear: a) to refute this baseless and dangerous accusation of anti-Semitism, and b) expose Imogen as an apologist for Israeli apartheid, c) to question the wisdom of giving her a platform to spread Israeli propaganda.

      She is certainly not a consistent anti-racist, pro-social justice human rights defender. She is quite the opposite. No to Progressive Except for Palestine sell-outs.

      • Brian P
        Apr 05, 2016 - 07:18 PM

        (a) How can you say there’s no racism attached to the BDS movement, that’s as stupid as an Israeli defender stating that no wrong is ever done by the Israeli government. There are some who say things like that, just as there are some who are inherently racist in the hard-left.

        (b) Calling what’s happening in Israel apartheid perhaps demonstrates that you may indeed be hard-left, so yeah, wear that badge with pride like you said, ignoring the facts and insulting peoples who have suffered real apartheid.

        (c) This confirms that you are hard-left, and of the worst variety. The type that instantly wants to see opinions that differ to their own pulled from the debate, I don’t believe a word of what you said in your follow up comment. Let me ask you this, if the author of this article had written a pro-BDS article, ridiculing Israeli society and culture, calling them murderers and thieves, would you be here asking for her to be removed from her position? My arse you would, you’d be rubbing your hands with glee.

        • David
          Apr 06, 2016 - 11:17 AM

          How many thousands of Palestinian civilians have to die and have their homes stolen before you consider it apartheid?

      • Concerned Former Student
        Apr 06, 2016 - 10:54 AM

        It’s not an insult or a compliment, I’m just making a judgement based on what you’ve said over the course of this discussion.

        • EllyS
          Apr 06, 2016 - 12:04 PM

          You consider my contribution ‘narrow-minded’ and ‘unhelpful’, How would you characterise Imogen Wilson’s outrageous smear?

          I would like to hear what ‘free speech’ advocate, Imogen Wilson, has to say the worldwide repression of the anti-racist Boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The repression of BDS is part of a well-documented and -funded, politically motivated, international campaign to shut down speech critical of Israeli policies.

          Michael Gove, UK secretary of State for Justice gave a speech (excerpted below) to the recent Berlin conference on anti-Semitism in which he perpetuated the outright lie that Israel is a democracy for all its citizens, maliciously misrepresented the BDS campaign, and saw off critics with the ‘anti-Semitism’ smear, just as Imogen Wilson has done in a shameful article in the Student Newspaper.

          Gove: ‘Israel is a democracy in which all citizens are equal… the BDS campaign indulges prejudice rather than fighting it. It calls for the shunning of Jewish academics, the boycott of Jewish goods, the de-legitimisation of Jewish commerce. We have seen these all before. And we know where it takes us…. the British Government has made clear that local authorities and public bodies cannot adopt BDS policies aimed at Israel.’

          Instead of playing the victim, Imogen might consider the real victims of the smear campaign she supports: the Palestinians whose peaceful boycott campaign – to hold Israel to account and end the impunity it enjoys – is being blocked and criminalised in the UK, US, France and elsewhere.

          • ERIC McNIEALL
            Apr 06, 2016 - 12:22 PM

            Ellys, have you ever visited Israel? Palestinians outside of Israel clearly suffer from terrible human-rights violations. But when it comes to Israel’s CITIZENS (Jews, Christian & Muslim Palestinians), why would you say the sentence “Israel is a democracy in which all citizens are equal” is a untruthful ?

            • David
              Apr 06, 2016 - 01:34 PM

              er partly because Israel is laying claim to those Palestinian lands

              or don’t you consider that illegal occupation and settlement crosses the line into inequality?

              • ERIC McNIEALL
                Apr 06, 2016 - 01:42 PM

                Ellys mention the sentence “‘Israel is a democracy in which all CITIZENS are equal”. it seems this sentence is true giving equal rights are given to all citizens of Israel (including Israeli-Palestinians). Indeed, Palestinians in areas illegally conquered in 1967 (west bank and Gaza) are not Israeli citizens, thus this sentence does not apply to them.
                its like claiming “‘Britain [of the 1920’s] is a democracy in which all CITIZENS are equal” is untruthful, because population of India does not have equal rights or citizenship. indeed, this is why Britain left the colonies, and why Israel will leave its (west-bank) colonies as well.

    • EllyS
      Apr 04, 2016 - 07:38 PM

      To be absolutely clear, if Imogen had written a piece arguing that boycott was the wrong tactic, unhelpful, etc, then I would strongly disagree with her, but agree she should be given a platform to do so. She has no done that. She has abused her position to spread hateful lies about the boycott movement, which is an anti-racist movement. This is not a victimless smear: good people will be scared of supporting a movement they think might be racist, and the Palestinians in occupied Palestine and in refugee camps urgently need broad support: for them, it is a matter of life and death.

      Furthermore, going along with false accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ only aids those who are genuinely anti-Semitic. When Zionists cry wolf about anti-Semitism, people then begin to have genuine difficulties discerning the real thing.

  16. Jason
    Apr 05, 2016 - 11:42 AM

    Oh dear… Don’t the comments above just go to prove how destructive pushing through a BDS motion after a referendum has passed specifically designed to have contentious issues go to all-student referendum, but before that referendum is fully put in place?

    Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with BDS, surely it’s clear that it should have been brought to Student Council in September rather than now. It’s only harmed EUSA and it’s credibility.

  17. kingfrederik
    Apr 05, 2016 - 12:57 PM

    I fail to see your logic in a lot of cases. First of all you do not provide evidence for the link between support of BDS and the rise in anti-Semitism. You also seem to purport the belief that all Jews support Israel when this is simply not the case, just by googling you can find countless groups across the globe that disagree with Israel.

    • EllyS
      Apr 05, 2016 - 01:16 PM

      Imogen is not interested in evidence, only in baseless smears.

    • Steve Marks
      Apr 05, 2016 - 04:50 PM

      A lot of Jews are against Israel’s current policies and still see the hatred that is prevalent within BDS, however. To deny it exists, or to pretend that Jews are “imaging” things or “making it up” is classic anti-Semitism. That doesnt’ mean that everyone in the movement, or that all of its goals, are–but much of it is, and movements like BDS and SJP need to call it out. The fact that the original author is being subject to vile, vicious smears, and an attempt to be silenced by her own student organization, means that people are terrified to hold up a mirror to themselves–it’s safer to hate and blame other people. That’s not liberalism, that’s not social justice. It’s called intolerance, and its exercise is called authoritarianism.

      • David
        Apr 06, 2016 - 11:25 AM

        Everyone has to stick to the uni rules -why does this girl think that she is better or different to anyone else?

        • Steve Marks
          Apr 06, 2016 - 07:00 PM

          the “rules” look like those best found in a neo-Stalinist hate cult. Are you sure those are the “rules” to which one of the world’s great universities should aspire? And the shaming and slandering of this one particular student is astonishing.

          • EllyS
            Apr 06, 2016 - 07:13 PM

            Imogen has spun this to make herself look the victim and get her five minutes of fame. This is a response to her victimhood claim:

            April 6, 2016 · by eusaliberation · in BME Liberation Group, DMW Liberation Group, LGBT+ Liberation Group, Liberation, Women’s Liberation Group. ·
            [CW: intimidation, safe space violation, mental health issues]

            A safe space is, by definition, a place where people can fully express themselves without fear of intimidation or being made to feel uncomfortable or unsafe by others. More specifically, EUSA’s safe space policy clearly states that ‘members are expected to respect the right of all students attending Student Council (and related meetings) and staff to enjoy EUSA as a safe space environment.’

            The safe space policy has been designed to uphold the principle that no university space should be inaccessible, to anyone, for any reason. That’s why it includes section 6.c of the policy, where it indicates that all members of the room should be ‘refraining from hand gestures which denote disagreement or in any other way indicating disagreement with a point or points being made.’

            To summarise what actually happened, contrary to national news stories and the VPAA’s account, the complaint was made on paper by a student who wishes to remain anonymous. This paper was then given to one of the liberation group conveners to pass onto EUSA staff so that their anonymity would be protected. The complaint was based on the behaviour of EUSA VPAA during discussions of a motion that asked the Principal to resign. When one student was commenting on the motion, they were interrupted by the VPAA raising her arms, shoulders, and hands in the air in disagreement that was interpreted as ridiculing the student who was commenting at the time. The student that was commenting then had to change what they were saying to respond to the VPAA’s behaviour.

            The disabled student who made the complaint now regrets making the complaint out of fear of their identity being revealed and subsequent personal attacks. EUSA VPAA and some others have said the complaint was unfounded, even though the VPAA’s actions blatantly served to intimidate, influence, and interrupt the proceedings at student council. If an elected representative who is sitting on a stage in front of 250 people makes a face and throws their hands in the air to disagree with something, it serves to intimidate, influence votes, and deter other students from participating in future student council meetings.

            Hand gestures are intimidating to many; the VPAA did not simply ‘raise her hand’ or try and ask a question as many news outlets have claimed. They were certainly intimidating to a student at Council on Thursday after the VPAA’s actions and her subsequent denial of any wrongdoing. Her behaviour was a blatant violation of safe space. Most people would now agree that Student Council should take place in a room that’s accessible via a lift. This is what an event being accessible for people with limited mobility means. Similarly, Student Council should be accessible for people with PTSD and anxiety disorders. For these people, the environment around them can change from safe to unsafe more easily than someone without these issues. That’s why the safe space policy includes hand gestures, and it seems like this is what the VPAA, in their descriptions of it being “a little extreme,” is not understanding.

            At the beginning of the meeting the VPS made a big effort to highlight the existence and importance of this policy; encouraging everyone to read it, and providing complaint slips along with an anonymous phone line (which aren’t usually available at Council). Yet when a student exercised their right to safe space they faced ridicule, silencing, invalidation, and now the accusation that their complaint ‘was a political move against [the VPAA]’ in a forum they could not respond to without outing themselves. This is a major deterrent to others from using safe space policy, and so a major roadblock to many students wanting to access EUSA spaces.

            Safe spaces are often exalted as a violation of free speech. This myth is exemplified in such outcry at a safe space complaint being made. Free speech exists as a concept to hold the powerful and privileged to account and yet it is being co-opted by mainly privileged people who cry their free speech is being violated. It is dismaying that this side of the story is the one that is making headline news. Having your opinion given a platform and being broadcasted like this is a sure sign your free speech is absolutely not being violated.

            Let us be clear: if someone’s safety in a space is threatened, this person becomes the top priority. We have a duty to ensure that everyone is able to access student council and one person’s insolent anger at being called out for being threatening is no excuse to continue to derail the complainant’s security. An able bodied/minded person may feel that parts of the policy are ‘ludicrous’ but this is a privileged position, and by no means defensible. It is entirely inappropriate and insulting for the sabbatical officers to be so-called defenders of safe space but ridiculers of it at the same time. If you don’t support safe space policy, don’t pretend you do, and don’t belittle and ridicule people when you break it and you get called out on it.

            It is also worth adding, here, that sabbatical officers have a lot more power and influence than regular students (even if just in virtue of sitting at the front of Council meetings on a large stage) therefore it is very likely that the VPAA’s hand gestures could sway the general audience member’s vote, and have a greater effect on a student’s wellbeing. Instead of laughing it off that ‘raising her hand’ made national news headlines, the VPAA should apologise for her behaviour. By behaving as the victim of student politics out of control, the VPAA is making the safe space policy a joke and is discouraging students from participating in student council and speaking up when their safe space is violated.

            Furthermore, the safe space violation had nothing to do with the BDS motion, as the VPAA has claimed. It was lodged in regard to the VPAA’s actions during the debate on a motion calling for the resignation of the principal before the speeches on BDS even occurred. We all have a responsibility to safe space regardless of whether the motions being discussed are contradictory to our political beliefs. For her to use her position to derail safe space in order to make a political point is reckless – to then cry wolf and claim safe space was used politically against her is inexcusable. It also gives credence and platforms to damaging anti-safe space campaigns, as international news outlets are using her account of what happened to her to delegitimize safe space policy as a whole.

            EUSA is already failing its liberation groups, and is now irresponsibly attacking something that is at the very core of liberation politics.

            We sympathise with the VPAA for the abuse she is receiving on twitter and other platforms, as it is undeniably atrocious and abuse of this kind is unacceptable. The fact still remains that in her upset, the VPAA has resorted to ridiculing the safe space policy and as someone with a duty to uphold the policy, this is unacceptable. We suggest the sabbatical officer re-reads the safe space policy and realise that denying violating it is going to be incredibly harmful for the efficacy of the safe space policy in the future and apologising for their behaviour. Alternatively, if they don’t agree with safe space policy, don’t say you will defend it ‘to the ground’ while actively ridiculing the policy by claiming to know what caused the complaint when you obviously do not.


            Jess Killeen, EUSA Disability and Mental Wellbeing Liberation Group Convener

            Shuwanna Aaron, EUSA Black and Minority Ethnic Liberation Group Convener

            Maia Almeida-Amir, EUSA Women’s Liberation Group Convener

            Rachel Ram, EUSA LGBT+ Liberation Group Convener

            Montana Kimmel, EUSA International Student Group Convener

            • Ariel
              Apr 06, 2016 - 07:34 PM

              This is unbelievable! 🙂 are you serious?
              20 years from now, there would be two types of grown-ups in the world. Those who actually make it as successful adults, and those who found-out that in the real world there are actually no “safe spaces” and that sometimes, people can actually wave their hands in disagreement! poor souls …

              • David
                Apr 06, 2016 - 09:49 PM

                do you mean like when IDF soldiers shoot children for waving their hands or throwing rocks?

                the rules were clear -if she likes and has support she can get them changed

              • Ariel
                Apr 07, 2016 - 05:43 AM

                “IDF soldiers”? that is an interesting Pavlovian response.

          • David
            Apr 06, 2016 - 09:47 PM

            i suggest you read the full statement for EUSA -it seems like Imogen was well over the line and expects special treatment because she is somehow better than other people?

    • Brian P
      Apr 05, 2016 - 07:26 PM

      The same can be said about Palestinians who don’t support the Palestinian claims, and indeed BDS, and a quick Google search can find just as many groups who support Israels right to exist, defend herself and not care about criticism from nutters in the hard-left.

      • David
        Apr 05, 2016 - 08:00 PM

        that sounds like a silly statement

        most people in the UK support Israel’s right to exist -but they also support the Palestinians’ rights too

        this is about blocking products made on occupied land -ie stolen land

    • Jake+
      Oct 04, 2016 - 12:12 AM

      The problem is with Jewish tribal “chosen” mentality before Israel even existed, they’ve always been trouble.

  18. Student- why so much anger?
    Apr 06, 2016 - 09:36 AM

    Clearly theres a lot of conflation and over simplification going on here! Its as simple as that. All other means to deal (diplomacy etc) with Israel have thus far failed, leaving the boycott as a last ‘radical’ resort.
    Whilst I agree with the poster’s comments on doing more to deal with anti-semitism within universities, and find it despicable that such racist rhetoric still permeates our society today, conflating BDS and anti-semitism is an over simplification.
    Nonetheless, understanding the views of Palestinians and Jews is vital, further engagement with the people most impacted over said movements is essential!
    In regards to the safeguarding question- that does seem rather ridiculous.

  19. robennetto
    Apr 07, 2016 - 12:07 AM

    It is heartening to see that reasonable people world-wide, including those on college campuses, are now beginning to see through the distorted and malevolent thrust of the nefarious BDS movement and moreover, many are going as far as to publicly. voice their protests. It is no accident that the supporters of this noxious and offensive group display the same outrageous, manipulative and perverse behavior of the BDS thugs themselves in an effort to shut down any opposing views.Needless to say,like most groups that exhibit fascist proclivities,this is where they will derail their own efforts and with time, they will hopefully wither away.

    • David
      Apr 07, 2016 - 09:07 AM

      buddy you have this the wrong way round -the EUSA vote to adopt BDS principles makes it clear that people see through the thuggish behaviour of the Israeli government!

      • robennetto
        Apr 08, 2016 - 03:39 AM

        As many on this site have pointed out, you have everything ass-backwards and have been living in total blindness. You need to wake up and see things for how they are rather than hiding behind a keyboard and pretending to be all knowing.

        • David
          Apr 08, 2016 - 09:06 AM

          what will you do if i don’t accept your racist point of view? carry out a ‘targeted assassination’ IDF-style, kill me and my family and call that ‘collateral damage’?

          virtually the only reason that Hamas have so much support is continued illegal Israeli settlements and ethnic cleansing

          most decent Arabs and Israelis want to see a peaceful two-state solution, how can this happen without an end to settlements? thus BDS

  20. Lola Twinkle
    Apr 17, 2016 - 05:19 PM

    Yes let’s completely ignore the crimes and terrorism and propaganda by Hamas against Israel.Israel was created by the world.It’s a tiny country. They fought wars and won yet still gave back TONS of land.The Palestinians just don’t want to live in a Jewish country,even though Israel is a modern free and inclusive country where they would have equal rights, and want all Jews out of the Middle East.Read the Covenant of Hamas.It orders genocide.They don’t want a 2 state solution.They want that sliver of ancient land and to turn it into the same kind of Sharia-ruled brutal nightmare of a country such is the norm in the ME.Is that what you want to support? The creation of ANOTHER country which hangs LGBT people from cranes and stones female rape victims to death? An organisation like Hamas which puts its children and babies DELIBERATELY on the front line when it attacks Israel because it knows that pics of dead babies gets it support from well meaning but ignorant westerners?

    • Monty Pogoda
      Apr 17, 2016 - 06:54 PM

      I agree with most of what you have written. However you should know that a very high percentage of the Arab population prefer Israeli rule than that of the “Palestinian” Authority.

    • Jake
      Oct 04, 2016 - 12:16 AM

      You’re an absolute stooge or conscious liar. Israel is a colonial occupation and military juggernaut allied with U.S. military, Saudi Arabia, the UN, NATO and the Fed. The Jew is an inherent colonizer, nomadic freak of nature that never was able to just settle on land autonomously like almost every other demographic, save for other nomadic racist tribes.

  21. Jake
    Oct 04, 2016 - 12:10 AM

    Fuck you little whiney tribe of racist Freemasonic supporting psychopaths. I love that the WORLD is waking up to the Jewish supremacy objective. Learn what real work is, abandon usurious occupations, support yourselves, ban your barbaric Abrahamic materialistic ethno-identity and join humanity, then we might take your victimhood-ism seriously if you’re fucked with.

    “When Jews step forward as innocence itself then the danger is great.” – Nietzsche

    • Harvey
      Oct 04, 2016 - 05:11 AM

      Hi Jake
      Had no idea freshers had an intake from the Nazi party . Trust you are provided a safe space or quarantine as it is more commonly called

  22. Loki
    Nov 07, 2016 - 03:41 PM

    This article is fundamentally a common fraud, as opposing Zionism as itself a genocide movement, in no way articulates anti-Semites, from those who oppose Genocide as criminal, regardless of political or religious trappings to give fake legitimacy to some perpetrators and not others.

    Persia was messy enough with long-standing tribal violence, well before the UN was fabricated and used to do a land grab and create the declared state of Israel. That history dates back to groups based in London during WW-I, who flat out declared it would be worth it (to them, implied to Jews worldwide) to cause the deaths of half of all Jews internationally, if that could enable seizing a Zionist state. Bob Avakian of the Revolutionary Communist Party has published some of the more accurate and religion and culture neutral history and perspective on those details.

    One way to distinguish actual anti-Semites, from those who oppose genocide and are simply honest about how Zionists have acted, is that opposition to genocide generally covers Dominionists and the Doctrine of Discovery and all European Christo-fascist history behind that, through US history with Indian tribes and lands, modern US foreign policy and practices extended to US Team Amerika, World Poleece allies, China’s history with Tibet and other such places including reeducation of Buddhist monks and taking bulldozers to monasteries, and oppressive use of Sharia law.

    That leaves such a prolific set of international history and current problems, the real challenge is what can be done to mitigate or stop past and present massive scale crimes? It’s hard to undo the fabrication of Israel, while it’s impossible to give Lord Amherst back his smallpox infested blankets, or kill off Vatican criminals and their gang war backers rather than their historic victims. It is possible to expand world court powers and try for legal process that would have treated Tony Blair and George Bush the same as the deposed former President of Cote d’Ivoire, who was extradited to the International Criminal Court, and it’s a mess sorting out how to deal with China or Israel and their respective abuses, just as with lingering issues of Korea.

    Anti-Semites know dead Jews is good Jews because they’re Jews. Zionist genocidalist frauds use the existence of relatively trivial and weak factions with that attitude, to falsely brand anyone who opposes genocide in general and globally. EU courts have generally made it impossible to prosecute genocide as defined in international criminal law, which includes social and economic weapons of oppression, and limited their focus to only cases involving selective extermination at gunpoint or otherwise. Those who aren’t biased over religious or ethnic targets, but who simply oppose such crime, have the far harder challenge. With such weak and inefficient legal process, what’s possible as other forms of action that can be effective, and how do small groups focus on perpetrators that are overdue to be shut down, via what available means?

    That leaves Israel and Palestine more likely to be in focus than China or the USA and their respective war crimes and genocide allies, simply by being a geographically identified, more clearly focused, problem than such massive ones elsewhere as to be beyond the resources of most who have serious ethical concerns that are in fact neutral opposition to such forms of violent crime, anywhere, by any faction.



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