Reut Institute Goes After the BDS Movement

The Reut Institute published a report charging that while the BDS Movement promotes liberal values, in practice it advances the delegitimization of Israel. The paper claims the delegitimization espoused by the BDS movement can be deduced from the words/deeds of its leadership – identified as catalysts – who consistently single Israel out, undermine Israeli-Palestinian cooperation, promote the right of return, and equate Israel to apartheid South Africa.

Here is a summary of the document, and here is the report itself.

The report is very good at deconstructing the way in which BDS catalysts delegitimize Israel. However, I fear many people are not going to be convinced that there is a contradiction between liberal values and the delegitimization of Israel (if you view Israel as structurally and symbolically racist, then delegitimizing it is in accord with progressive and liberal values). The report assumes this contradiction as a given but in today’s discourse unfortunately it’s not (the branding of Israel as a apartheid/pariah state has made great deal of headway in the last few years). Reut did published a much more extensive and in-depth paper on the subject of delegitimization which should be read by anyone who cares about this conflict.

The report also seems to have inspired a video which, while not produced by Reut, is in-line with its critique of the BDS movement along with its strategy of “creating a wedge” between those who are legitimately criticizing Israel’s policies and those who want to throw away the Zionist baby with the dirty bath water. My impression of the video is that while I agree with its main point, I can’t help but feel manipulated by the way in which the message is delivered (music, images, truncated quotes). Have a look for yourself.

Also recommended, Reut’s blog.

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