The Politics of BDS

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Dear Colleagues:

It has been four decades since Congress passed a law pushing back against boycotts of Israel globally however, at the end of June, we witnessed a change.  We now have two states who passed anti-BDS legislation and others who are looking to follow using language that protects taxpayers from inadvertently underwriting boycotts.

South Carolina’s law restricts contracting with those who boycott based on nationality and Illinois will prevent its pension fund from holding stock in boycotting companies. Legislators in these states and others agree that the BDS movement undermines the only Jewish country in the world through boycotts while at the same time claiming to be peaceful in fact, they agree that this is a form of anti-Semitism.

Positively, these laws provide another tool to combat BDS legally as they enjoy bipartisan support, and have passed unanimously. Moreover, they have the support of mainstream Jewish organizations. This in itself is very constructive as it shows that Israel is not a partisan matter.

As many of our readers are aware, there has been an ongoing movement to push for BDS resolutions in the Churches including in the Mennonite Church, the Episcopalian Church, and the United Church of Christ. Consequently,  the Christian Empowerment Council, an Israeli Christian group headed by Father Gabriel Naddaf, has released a new guide to help Christians better understand the true nature of BDS. In this 12-page pamphlet entitled, “Test The Spirits: A Christian Guide to the Anti-Israel Boycott Movement”  Father Naddaf seeks to confront Christian anti-Zionism on an ideological and theological basis.

As such, the guide tackles a wide array of questions, such as “How does a boycott of Israel impact the church?” and “Does the Bible encourage boycotting nations?” In answering the questions, the book draws from both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.

As always, we welcome your feedback and article submissions.


Asaf Romirowsky, PhD

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Asaf Romirowsky

Asaf Romirowsky PhD, is the Executive Director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME). Romirowsky is also a fellow at the Middle East Forum and a Professor ​[Affiliate] at the University​ of Haifa. Trained as a Middle East historian he holds a PhD in Middle East and Mediterranean Studies from King's College London, UK and has published widely on various aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict and American foreign policy in the Middle East, as well as on Israeli and Zionist history.

Romirowsky is co-author of Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief and a contributor to The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel.

Romirowsky’s publicly-engaged scholarship has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The National Interest, The American Interest , The New Republic, The Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, Ynet and Tablet among other online and print media outlets

Read all stories by Asaf Romirowsky