You may have heard of the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) movement, whose main goal is to boycott goods and products from Isreal in order to delegitamize the country and weaken its economy. It's a worldwide movement that started over 13 years ago and still continues to this day.
The BDS movement has been in the news recently, and this past week has been no exception. Here is everything you need to know in order to stay on top of the news.
Let's start off with another monumental victory for anti-BDS campaigners, this time in the German city of Berlin. The Berlin State Office has officially categorized the BDS movement as anti-Semitic and that their campaigns "question Israel's right to exist and accuse Israel of racism." Furthermore, the official statement notes, "We condemn the antisemitic and anti-Israel BDS campaign and the call to boycott Israeli products and companies as well as Israeli academics and artists."
Just a few months before, Berlin mayor Michael Müller joined Josef Schuster, the head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, in passing a law that would block the use of city venues and funds for events that support any BDS activities. Berlin became the third German city, after Munich and Frankfurt, to declare such a law. In declaring this principle, Frankfurt Deputy Mayor Uwe Becker stated, "The BDS-movement is built on [a] toxic ground and it is poisoning the social climate in [a] dangerous way."
Meanwhile, Germany's neighbor France has also been making headlines. Major US online payment service PayPal recently shut down the account of a major French BDS organization. It was deemed that the account was violating France's anti-discrimination Lellouche Law, which bans discrimination based on national origin. This isn't the first time that PayPal took such action: in 2018 alone, PayPal shut down four other pro-BDS accounts.
Finally, The Israeli government has officially insured the 2019 Eurovision music festival in the form of a $13.5 million "BDS insurance" in case should anything happen. This insures the cost of putting together the festival and will be covered "[in case the] competition is ultimately not held in Israel, due to extenuating circumstances such as an earthquake [...] or a boycott organized by BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement."
Although the BDS movement is often in the news, it's refreshing to see how cities, countries, and companies are taking a stand against its oppressive and racist message. If we banded together in a community to stand up and let our opinions be heard, we could make even more progress against BDS - and even abolish it!