The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) was officially launched in 2005 in a statement whose author was identified as “Palestinian civil society.” Among the statement’s demands were these: that Israel end “its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands,” dismantle the West Bank security wall built during the second intifada, recognize the “rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality,” and promote the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees. To compel Israel’s submission to these demands, it called for “broad boycotts” and “divestment initiatives” akin to those levied against apartheid-era South Africa.
On January 5, Modern Language Association Members for Justice in Palestine hosted a meeting at New York University entitled “Palestine and the Future of Academia.”
As I write, we do not know what might go into President Trump’s planned announcement on Jerusalem. But on at least some of our college campuses, protests are already being prepared.
Since 2002, student activists have tried to pass anti-Israel divestment resolutions at the University of Michigan. This month, they succeeded on a 23-17 vote of the university’s Central Student Government. But opponents of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement should not be demoralized by this result.