September's normalization agreements between Israel and two Arab states have dramatically changed the global environment for BDS. With the Palestinian issue receding in importance among once fervent supporters, the BDS movement has responded by increasing its support for BLM and other causes. This ironically concentrates its impact on vulnerable institutions, which have been extended from campuses to corporations and the government. ...
By cutting the Palestinian issue down to a small territorial dispute and exposing its claims of being the pivotal global refugee problem as false, [the normalization accords put] the BDS movement ... in a bind. The elevation of the Palestinian issue into the supreme moral issue that demands criticism and ostracizing of Israel and its supporters, above all Jews, was always excessive but now appears obsessive if not overtly deranged and antisemitic.
The peace agreements apparently took the BDS movement by surprise, which has predictably increased its already robust alliances with BLM and other oppositional causes. ...
The BDS movement is grafting itself onto demands for "anti-racist" transformations.
This strategy has been most visible on campus, where the BDS movement ... [has grafted itself onto] demands for 'anti-racist' transformations of institutions ... These demands include changes to all course offerings, racial quotas, 'decolonized readings,' segregated housing, and BDS.
One example came at Cornell University in a faculty-student letter calling for an "anti-racist Cornell" demanding, among other things that the university address "Cornell Tech's involvement in the gentrification of Queens and, through its institutional partnership with Technion Israeli Institute of Technology, the military occupation of Palestine."
In another example at Fordham University, the Black Student Alliance demanded, along with hiring additional black faculty members and cutting ties with the New York City Police Department, that the university apologize to the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter. The University of California 'Bears for Palestine' also demanded the university regents abolish the campus police and condemn the Canary Mission BDS monitoring website.
Accusations that Israel is a 'settler colonial state' built on 'indigenous land' that is both 'racist' and 'anti-black' and responsible for police violence in the US brings together older and newer tropes. But the intersectional process demands ever greater levels of opposition to basic structures and concepts, to the point where, in a recent webinar called "Black Lives Matter, Israeli Annexation and BDS," leading members of the BDS movement have now called for the abolition of Israel, the police, and capitalism itself. ...
Alexander H. Joffe, a senior non-resident fellow at the BESA Center and a Ginsburg-Milstein Fellow at the Middle East Forum, is editor of BDS Monitor, a publication of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME).