By Paul Miller, Originally published in the New York Observer
Recently in Chicago, progressive activists embarked on an LGBT conference to voice their disdain for Israel. Advocates of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement did not approve of two Israeli gay rights activists speaking at a reception during the “Creating Change Conference,” despite the Jewish State’s international leadership on gay rights.
During the reception, Jewish attendees found themselves cornered by a mob of protesters, physically preventing them from leaving – calling for Israel’s demise as well as using anti-Semitic slurs. Ultimately the police were called and the Jews had to leave by police escort through a back door.
This is the BDS movement. And discrimination is its core value.
For over a decade, anti-Israel forces have hidden behind the “human rights” label to delegitimize the Jewish State’s right to exist. The BDS movement was born when progressive activists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) hijacked a UN conference on racism, seeking to equate Zionism (the return of the Jewish people to their homeland) with racism. The 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa set the stage for anti-Semitic forces to attack Israel through economic, political and cultural means. But these days, anti-Israel rhetoric and anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses, coupled with the European Union’s recent adoption of product labeling that singles out the Jewish state, make it imperative to call out and confront the BDS threat.