Why I am speaking out about the BDS movement and standing for Israel at the UN

1280 United Nations AP

For decades, the State of Israel has been battling bullets and bombs. Now, a new weapon is being used against our most cherished ally – a weapon that poses grave danger.

The rise of anti-Israel sentiments is apparent in this country and worldwide. A product of that hatred is the BDS Movement.  BDS – Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions – a long-term global effort created by enemies of Israel to delegitimize the State of Israel.

Make no mistake about it: The unambiguous goal of the international BDS Movement is the elimination of the State of Israel.

The BDS Movement is a serious new threat designed to cripple Israel economically and politically.

Make no mistake about it: The unambiguous goal of the international BDS Movement is the elimination of the State of Israel.

The fact is that activities and events fostering an environment of intimidation and marginalization of Jewish citizens have seen a marked upswing on college and university campuses around the country, but the issue is not limited to the academic arena.

Businesses that sell Israeli products have been harassed by pro-BDS picketers, labor unions have passed resolutions supporting divestment from Israeli institutions and corporations, and even government agencies have cancelled plans to visit Jerusalem based on absurd claims that Israel’s border security measures—a primary means of defending the country from imminent terrorist threats—are discriminatory.

That is exactly why I am honored to stand-up for Israel at the United Nations. We’re proud to serve as a co-sponsor with Israel of an international anti-BDS conference entitled “Building Bridges, Not Boycotts.”  The conference host is Danny Danon, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.N., who clearly expressed what’s at stake with this global gathering.

“BDS is the modern incarnation of anti-Semitism,” said Ambassador Danon. “Holding this anti-BDS summit in the UN General Assembly will bring together an international coalition against the boycott movement, and will send a clear message to all of our adversaries – Israel will not relent and will continue to reveal the lies propagated by the BDS movement.”

At the U.N. General Assembly on Monday, I outlined our multi-pronged legal and media advocacy strategy to combat the anti-Israel BDS movement:

1. The first part of our strategy is to expose true nature of BDS for what it is: a long term project created by anti-Israel activists that are designed to delegitimize the State of Israel, and the Jewish people, by any means possible.

2. The second part of our strategy is to identify & quash BDS manifestations, including subtle ones that violate existing law & policy.

3. The third part of our strategy is to enshrine in the law additional protections for Jewish citizens and Israeli interests.

4. The fourth part of our strategy is to change the international conversation about Israel stemming from false BDS narrative.

The good news: our strategy is working.

We have won victories against BDS at University of Chicago Loyola, University of Texas, University of California, University of Michigan, UCLA, and City University of New York (CUNY), in addition to the American Studies Association.

In the face of intimidation and fear, we operate critically as attorneys to stand up for the rule of law and religious freedom in the face of anti-Semitism and bigotry.

The law is on our side because the BDS movement violates many non-discrimination laws and policies.

As I told the UN, there are several pro-active measures that can be taken in academia to stop BDS before it begins:

· In order to defend individuals against unjustifiable discrimination, the ACLJ urges college administrators to reject false narratives of the supporters of the BDS movement.

· To avoid the continued harassment, denigration, and marginalization of Israeli supporters, the ACLJ stresses the importance of colleges and universities denouncing anti-Semitism in all its forms and taking action against anti-Jewish discrimination on campus.

For the students, faculty, employees, or other members of any organization who are threatened and harassed, the ACLJ is fighting to protect their freedoms.

And those who would continue to single out one nation and one people for discrimination and harassment are now officially on notice – anti-BDS forces continue to grow and will continue to combat the growing anti-Semitic, anti-Israel attacks.

And that’s an important message the U.N. General Assembly needs to hear.

Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional law. He also serves as a member of President Trump’s legal team.  Follow him on Twitter @JaySekulow.