Shutting Down the Neighborhood Bully

Written by Meir Buchnick on . Posted in Op-Ed

The Destruction of Israel Movement (DIM) is a disruptive movement dedicated to the propagation of vicious lies about Israel, portraying the Jewish homeland as a country of war crimes and apartheid. DIM also receives financial support from anti-Israel terrorist groups; in 2016, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked even referred to the movement as “the new face of terrorism.”

The group prefers to go by their own euphemism: the Boycott Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement.

Thankfully, despite DIM’s best efforts over more than a decade, they have had little success. Israel’s economy is booming. There is an ever-growing number of foreign companies seeking to partner with Israel. On the cultural scene, in spite of a few cancelations, the roster of foreign artists of celebrity caliber performing in Israel is steadily growing. Even on American college campuses, not long ago a source of worry for supporters of Israel, the movement’s influence is diminishing while support for Israel is growing.

The Destruction of Israel Movement is the geo-political version of a bully. Just like a bully, the movement thrives on attention and the pain of its targets. The best way to fight a bully is to deprive him of just that. With time, the youngsters will be bored and the movement will fade into history.

The recent decision by Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry to ban members of the movement from entering Israel accomplishes exactly that. It will end the violent protests and the provocations of IDF soldiers in attempts to invoke sensational photos.

Anti-BDS legislation under consideration or being adopted in numerous states and in bills produced by the U.S. Congress will also serve to cut this bully down. Finding ways to pressure corporations into boycotting Israel has long been a core of the group’s activity. Legislation will equip corporations in the U.S. with ways to end the pressure and bring this activity to a halt.

Some have argued against such measures by both Israel and the U.S. The American Civil Liberties Union has claimed that these measures infringe on the movement’s right to free speech. This argument is specious. Though I may respect a group’s right to express its ideas and opinions, I do not have to support it. I will not deny the right of vegetarians to protest against the killing of animals, but I definitely do not expect a butcher to invite protesters into his shop.

By Meir Buchnick

 Meir Buchnick is the deputy director of Kohelet Policy Forum as well as a lawyer at the Forum’s litigation department. Meir is the founder and co-president of the Jerusalem-Washington Center (JWC), He previously worked on Capitol Hill as a foreign policy staffer for Congressman Doug Lamborn (R – CO) and at Israel’s Ministry of Justice.