For 2,000 years Jews of the diaspora hoped, prayed, and dreamed of the reestablishment of a Jewish state. The words of HaTikvah emphasize, “To be a free people in our land, The land of Zion and Jerusalem.” Throughout the horrific terror and wars that have plagued modern-day Israel, pre-dated by millennia of persecution of Jews, violence has typically been supported through campaigns of delegitimization and dehumanitzation.
Today, people who still strongly cling to anti-Semitic views have developed a more sophisticated strategy to delegitimize the Jewish State; a plan designed to gain acceptance in mainstream communities cleverly dubbed as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
At its core, BDS is rooted in ugly anti-Semitism and bears a pure message of hate. But to the outside world, BDS proponents insidiously cloak their true agenda through a veiled platform of human rights advocacy. This strategy dovetails perfectly with other anti-Israel tactics that aim to misrepresent Israel as a leading human rights violator, when in fact Israel’s military goes above and beyond the highest wartime moral standards to minimize civilian casualties in each and every conflict.
For years, The Israel Project (TIP) has combated this hateful ideology on multiple fronts in effort to prevent this insufferable dogma from successfully isolating Israel through economic punishment. We have also fought hard to avert the long-term defamatory delegitimization of Israel and Jews, a natural side effect of the BDS tactic.
Over the course of the last several months, pro-Israel and other anti-discrimination activists have attempted to pass statewide legislative measures across America that would essentially prohibit taxpayer dollars from participating in economic warfare singling out and punishing one country: Israel.
Specifically, 10 bills have been passed by state legislators in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Rhode Island, New Jersey and South Carolina. Recently, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) signed an executive order to achieve the same ends. In all 11 bills, victories were achieved in part because of TIP’s targeted initiatives to educate legislators, key decision-makers and the media, in conjunction and coordination with our partners on the ground.
The significant lesson learned from this series of legislative wins is that the American people, of all backgrounds, and our lawmakers – Democrats and Republicans – will not be tricked by morally unjustified schemes to isolate Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East.
We have learned that there is no place for anti-Israel hate in America, and that the core values shared by America and Israel have formed an unbreakable bond, strong enough to withstand all attempts to chip away at our critical alliance.
We have learned that anti-Semitism cannot be mainstreamed into American society, and that those who continue to fan the flames of anti-Israel and anti-Zionist opinions are rejected and outcast to the margins of society, where they belong.
We have learned that contrary to the anti-Israel BDS platform, Americans not only embrace Israel as a trusted friend and ally, but also as a key economic partner, and are highly motivated and interested in conducting business with Israeli companies.
And we have learned that the Jewish State needs the unwavering backing of its American supporters, which is precisely why The Israel Project continues to spearhead innovative strategies, effective educational initiatives and public awareness campaigns that resonate strongly with the American people across geographic and partisan lines.
The anti-Israel BDS movement has a few more states on the horizon that will serve as the stages for upcoming legislative battles including California, Ohio, Michigan, Massachusetts, Texas, and here in Minnesota.
Locally, the community and allies have successfully combated efforts by some to have the state divest from Israel bonds and we have successfully strengthened the ties between Minnesota and Israel politically, culturally, and economically. We look forward to joining Minnesotans and countless others committed to safeguarding the State of Israel – and American jobs – from economic warfare, by fighting legislative initiatives peddling discriminatory mislabeling and outright lies – and we will help lead the charge to expose and stop the ultimate objectives of the anti-Israel BDS movement: To destroy the State of Israel.
Jacob Millner is A Senior Policy Analyst and The Midwest Director for The Israel Project.