Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Issues

Fighting BDS on the Streets of San Francisco

There is a movement growing like wildfire here in the United States and around the world to paint Israel as a racist, oppressive state that intentionally deprives Palestinians and other minority groups of their rights. Israel’s enemies have an agenda to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist, and thereby accomplish through deception and political pressure what they have not been able to accomplish through war. Bombs and terror attacks have not succeeded in weakening Israel, which is why Israel’s enemies have launched a coordinated effort to use boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) to hurt Israel economically and impose cultural and political isolation upon the Jewish State.

Earlier this year, on an episode of The Watchman, Erick Stakelbeck and David Brog showed us some of the ugly and hateful tactics used by the groups slandering Israel. These groups say that Israel is an apartheid state like South Africa used to be, which is an absolute lie and deeply offensive to black South Africans who really did experience racist oppression and segregation. If you watch the episode, you’ll hear a former Muslim extremist who once led BDS protests on his college campus describe how his first visit to Israel proved that everything he believed about Israel was wrong. You’ll also hear why South Africans who lived under apartheid in their country stand with Israel against the BDS movement.

The real facts are easy to find, but the mainstream international media almost never bother to report them, and so the false narrative usually goes unchallenged. Over time, this has a profound impact on the attitude people have towards Israel. The BDS movement fabricates lies about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and minority groups and trusts that they can get away with it. These lies must be countered with the truth, immediately and relentlessly, to stop the poison from spreading.

This is what Christians United for Israel does we make sure the lies about Israel do not go unchallenged and that the story of all the good Israel does also gets told. The BDS movement and the diplomatic assault against Israel is every bit as dangerous as the traditional military and terror attacks. We are taking this seriously, and we’re fighting back.

San Francisco Bus 2

In August, a BDS group launched an anti-Israel advertising campaign in San Francisco. For four weeks, public buses in San Francisco were plastered with the slogan, “Boycott Israel Until Palestinians Have Equal Rights.” The ads also urged viewers to “stop anti-boycott legislation” and listed famous past boycotts of social injustice, including against apartheid South Africa. By setting up a false narrative, the BDS group hoped to influence people against Israel who do not know the facts. But thanks to our generous donors, CUFI was able to take immediate action.

Dipping into a war chest that exists for just this purpose, we created four pro-Israel ads and in September began a four-week run of these ads on 16 buses in San Francisco. The ads feature messages thanking Israel for providing safety to religious minorities and standing up to terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The ability to quickly respond and run these bus ads was only possible because CUFI donors recognize the need to face Israel’s enemies everywhere they show their face by outshining their lies with the truth. We don’t get down on their level and engage in mudslinging. Instead, we just boldly let the truth speak for itself. But to do that we need to have resources available at a moment’s notice, and we thank God that this time we did.

The message CUFI wanted to put in front of the people of San Francisco was that Israel protects religious minorities and that when Israel fights terrorists they are also fighting our enemies.

In Israel, roughly 25% of the population is not Jewish. Muslims are the largest religious minority group, but Christian, Druze, and Baha’i minorities also flourish there. While the rest of the Middle East is ablaze with persecution of religious minorities, Israel remains a safe haven. It is the only place in the Middle East where Christians are not only safe but their communities are thriving.

Recently, the United States and other Western countries have seen a surge in attacks from radical Islamic terrorists. When Israel fights Hezbollah, Hamas, and ISIS they are fighting the same people who are determined to destroy our country and our way of life. None of our allies are is better at finding, rooting out, and stopping terrorists before they strike, than Israel. America has no better friend than the Jewish state in this fight.

San Francisco Bus 3

But the BDS movement threatens our relationship with our most crucial ally at a time when we need each other most. That’s why Christians United for Israel must be ready at any moment to respond to the lies and political attacks that try to drive a wedge between America and Israel. We did that in San Francisco, and we will do it again and again as long as there is a need. But we need to keep the war chest full.

Thank you for supporting CUFI. Please help us refill the war chest and get ready for the next time we need to respond instantly to stop the BDS movement in its tracks. Israel’s enemies never rest, and neither can we.