Activists who have utterly failed to stir either Washington or the American public for their stunningly unpopular movement against Israel are upset that sentiment is so strong against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has been miserably unable to gain traction. In the face of the Western world’s unified response to Russian aggression, its backers are unhappy.
This week, a much-maligned article published by POLITICO begins with the headline “Hypocrisy.” It immediately goes downhill while arguing for a parallel between reactions to an unprovoked and vicious invasion and support for proponents of the destruction of the “apartheid” Jewish state.
BDS is so unpopular that in 2019, a year marked by bitterly rancorous fighting in the halls of Congress, the House of Representatives found enough unity to vote 398-17 to condemn the Israel boycott movement. In other words, even during a bitterly partisan congressional session, lawmakers joined together to express their displeasure in the radical movement.
No less than 35 states have adopted anti-BDS measures, including New York and California. Critics of the measures are limited chiefly to anti-Semitic radicals and, of course, the American Civil Liberties Union.
Of course, “Squad” Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) courageously voted against the 2019 resolution and continue to be the most prominent legislators backing BDS.
And while prefacing his statement by agreeing that Russia has to be held accountable, Yousef Munayyer of the Arab Center in Washington, DC echoed the accusation of hypocrisy. The advocate found equivalence in what he says is Israel’s human rights record and the Russian invasion while contrasting Congress’s response to both.
Hardly surprising is that Monday’s article only singled out Republicans for what it brands as hypocrisy for standing with Ukraine while opposing sanctions on the Middle East’s only democratic state. One was Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), a Jewish congressman who responded that there is “absolutely no equivalence” between the anti-Semitic BDS and the authoritarian nation that “illegally invaded its sovereign neighbor.”
The best retort of the week award goes to Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), whose office sent a brief but brilliant email response to POLITICO. “The difference is that Russia is invading Ukraine. And according to our latest intelligence, Israel is not.” Ouch.
Then, of course, when all other arguments fail, it’s time to pull out the race card. BDS supporters are doing precisely that by claiming a double standard between the West’s response to the vicious attack on Ukraine and boycotting Israel.