‘Israel does not represent us’: 39 Jewish groups say BDS is not anti-Semitic

Releasing an open letter on Tuesday, thirty-nine Jewish groups from across the world defended the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). Claiming “BDS should not be defined as anti-Semitic”, the left-wing groups, ranging from Sweden and South Africa to the UK, Germany and Canada wrote, “some of the undersigned organizations support BDS in full, others in part, and others have no formal position on BDS.” The letter further stated, “we all affirm the current call for BDS as a set of tools and tactics that should not be defined as antisemitic.”

The 39 Jewish groups stated in the global letter: “The rise in antisemitic discourse and attacks worldwide is part of that broader trend. At times like this, it is more important than ever to distinguish between the hostility to or prejudice against Jews on the one hand and legitimate critique of Israeli policies and system of injustice on the other.”

Criticizing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, The left-wing organizations criticized said, “is worded in such a way as… to intentionally equate legitimate criticisms of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights with antisemitism, as a means to suppress the former.”

They also urged their respective governments, municipalities, universities and other institutions to reject the IHRA definition and instead take effective measures to defeat white supremacist nationalist hate and violence and to end complicity in Israel’s human rights violations. The groups claimed that Israel does not represent us and cannot speak for us when committing crimes against Palestinians and denying their UN-stipulated rights.