Hamilton Spectator Letters Falsely Claim BDS Movement Is Not Antisemitic

By Robert Walker

August 8, 2023

In recent letters published by the Hamilton Spectator (“Standing with Sarah Jama,” July 27, 2023 and “BDS movement is not antisemitic,” August 8, 2023), David Mivasair, Lucia Pizarro and Harry Shannon defend BDS, the boycott movement against Israel, arguing that it is a “non-violent…project to pressure Israel to end its brutal oppression.” They add that the campaign is not antisemitic, but rather opposed to Israeli actions.

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In reality, the BDS movement is inherently antisemitic. Not only is the BDS campaign based around false and misleading claims about alleged Israeli atrocities against Palestinians, which would be reason enough to condemn the movement, the true face of BDS is even worse.

The anti-Israel boycott campaign does not simply seek to change Israel’s behaviour, but rather represents an attempt to delegitimize Israel’s very right to exist as a Jewish State; in effect, denying the Jewish People the right to self-determination in their own ancestral homeland.

Such discrimination is a textbook case of antisemitism, according to the IHRA definition of antisemitism, which has been accepted by dozens of countries (including Canada), as well as much of the Jewish community at large.

Additionally, the anti-Israel boycott campaign, thanks to its laser focus on Israel, a liberal democracy, actively ignores horrific human rights abuses which occur regularly across the region, namely in autocratic regimes like Iran and Saudi Arabia.

To its credit, also on August 8, the Hamilton Spectator published a letter by Lawrence Hart which condemned BDS as being inherently antisemitic and on July 31, the Spectator also published a joint letter by Hamilton’s Jewish leaders saying “The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is simply the latest incarnation of antisemitism.”

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In short, the BDS movement may have convinced some of its supporters that it merely seeks to change Israel’s behaviour, but at its core, it is a bigoted campaign which not only erases the Jewish People’s rights to their land, but ultimately denies them the right to determine their own future.


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