What is the Boycott, Divestment, and
Sanctions Movement?


A large part of the BDS movement is “anti-normalization.” In Israel and Palestine, anti-normalization encourages Palestinians to not engage with any Israeli citizen or organization in any capacity. Outside of Israel, anti-normalization urges pro-BDS organizations to cut any formal or informal ties with organizations that normalize Israel. Seeing as a majority of Jews and Jewish organizations identify as Zionist, anti-normalization can wholly cut Jews out of discussions surrounding Israel. 

(c) John Englart

Methods and Relevance for
College Students:

These actions can have catastrophic effects on college campuses. At Tufts University, a BDS campaign called for students to boycott Jewish student groups, refuse to engage in dialogue with any organizations that were not explicitly anti-Zionist, and reject the two-state solution as a white supremacist ideology. Outside of Tufts, at least 154 BDS resolutions have been considered at 74 American colleges and universities since 2005. These movements can ostracize Jewish students and force them to renounce their identities for acceptance. Peace will never be achieved through bigotry and ostracization–it is achieved through meaningful conversations and recognizing the lived experiences of all parties, including Jews. In 2021 the University of Toronto-Scarborough student union proposed a BDS motion to ban kosher food affiliated with Israel. While to those that presented the resolution, this may seem like “criticism of Israel,” it is anything but as it bars Jewish students access to critical resources. Banning kosher food for Jewish students is not criticism of Israel or its policies. It is antisemitism, plain and simple.

(c) Jack Taylor

Why is it Important to Oppose BDS?

On college campuses, BDS can, and often does, target Jewish students. Zionism is a crucial part of many Jews’ identities and forcing Jewish students or groups to renounce their heritage to partake in student life forces these students to choose between their identity and social acceptance. There is certainly room for criticism of Israel and difficult discussions on college campuses, but it cannot be built on antisemitism and the exclusion of Jews.

Read more about BDS.