Anti-Zionism is Not Anti-Semitism

DECEMBER 10, 2020

The Democratic Socialists of America BDS and Palestine Solidarity Working Group condemns the Trump administration’s latest attack on Palestinian civil society’s call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). In 2017, DSA overwhelmingly endorsed BDS and its demands for human rights and equality for Palestinians. As socialists, we stand for freedom and self-determination for all people, against all forms of bigotry and oppression. BDS is a nonviolent movement launched by Palestinians, calling on people around the world to support their boycott of Israel until Palestinians’ freedom and equal rights are recognized.

Israel subjects millions of Palestinians to a brutal military occupation, denying their most basic rights. Palestinians under occupation face harsh restrictions to their freedom of movement and freedom of speech, detention without charge or trial, expulsion from their homes to make way for exclusively Jewish settlements, and sometimes torture in Israeli prisons — even against children. In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians face an oppressive Israeli siege and blockade restricting the flow of goods and people, lack access to clean water and electricity, and are subjected to frequent Israeli bombings. Israel’s inhumane blockade continues even as Gaza’s limited health system is now days away from collapsing under the strain of COVID-19.

Following the example of the boycott against racist apartheid in South Africa, Palestinians issued their call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions as a means of pressuring Israel to recognize Palestinian rights. Because Israel can’t justify its crimes, it slanders this grassroots movement as antisemitic. Now the Trump administration’s State Department is repeating these lies. This is especially outrageous coming from a president who has spent his tenure enabling “Christian Zionists,” neo-Nazis, and other white supremacists like the Proud Boys, all of them fundamentally antisemitic. We agree with Jewish Voice for Peace, one of the largest progressive Jewish organizations in the United States, in its statement condemning the Trump administration’s attack: “This move is in direct opposition to the fight against real antisemitism and the struggle for human rights and safety for all people.”

Just as the political establishment has tried to crush working class movements for healthcare, a Green New Deal, and freedom from racist police violence, so has it attacked the grassroots Palestine solidarity movement. The United States funds Israeli violence with $3.8 billion for Israel’s military every year, most of which goes back to American weapons companies — money that could instead go to healthcare, social services and sustainable energy. For the warmongers and bigots who run this country to pretend that they care about antisemitism is ridiculous. Capitalism is destroying people and the planet; the socialist answer is freedom and self-determination for all.