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16 BDS and Zionophobic Racism Judea Pearl Judea Pearl was thrust into the public eye by the brutal 2002 murder of his son, reporter Daniel Pearl, by jihadi radicals in Pakistan whose hate was focused on Daniel’s Jewishness. Pearl and his family went on to establish the Daniel Pearl Foundation to continue his son’s “life-work of dialogue and understanding and to address the root causes of his tragedy.” Pearl’s global reputation for moral rectitude, intellectual clarity, and great dignity inspired us to invite his contribution to our volume. In this essay, he analyzes the moral bankruptcy of the BDS movement and exposes its venomous goals, unabashedly identifying it as a racist movement. On the relationship between BDS and freedom of speech, Pearl is particularly decisive, writing, “A racist movement that shows no respect for truth or other people’s identity can hardly be expected to respect the sanctity of academic freedom.” Preface My contribution to this volume builds heavily on an article I wrote for the Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB) titled “BDS, Racism and the New McCarthyism.”1 It was written three years ago, when the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement was still an enigmatic phenomenon and only a handful of writers recognized its hypocritical and downright racist character . Things have changed in the past three years. On the global sphere, BDS has managed to reveal its agenda and to galvanize the Jewish community in an unprecedented wave of unity and determination. If the Jewish people ever needed a name for its sworn enemies, a name that negates the core of Israel’s existence, free of secondary issues of territories, antisemitism, or political grievances , BDS has given it to us. In fact, it was BDS and the gullible intellectuals who joined its bandwagon that revealed to the world the persistent and uncompromising nature of Arab rejectionism. Even some of my J Street colleagues, who never miss an opportunity to spoil Jewish consensus, managed to find a reason to oppose BDS. In the microcosm of my own campus, while BDS cronies continued to harass fellow students and silence pro-coexistence voices, the word BDS BDS and Zionophobic Racism | 225 became synonymous with “toxic nuisance” and essentially disappeared from the public square. Even BDS-controlled groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Student Association (MSA) now try hard to hide any association with their mother ideology, BDS, pretending to be working independently. More revealing yet, Hillel’s students at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) began urging me not to write anti-BDS op-eds anymore, lest they receive undue attention and wake up from their blissful slumber. The recent defeat of a pro-BDS resolution at the Modern Language Association (MLA), the traditional stronghold of anti-Israel academics , testifies to a movement gone stale, kept alive by its adversaries more than its supporters. It was not BDS’s fictional call for an economic boycott of Israel but its threat to the Zionist idea itself that galvanized this broad resistance and has helped people discover what values unite them all, liberal and conservatives, orthodox and secular, and how central the existence of Israel is to Jews and to people of conscience everywhere. With this context in mind, I here submit a revised version of my earlier article. Imagine a forum on the spread of Islamophobia. The first thing that comes to mind is: “Yes, we should measure the magnitude of this phenomenon, understand the origins of its ideology, examine what drives its advocates, unearth who funds them, assess the dangers they pose to society, and so on.” Similar expectations came to mind when I was invited to participate in the LARB forum on BDS. Now, imagine my surprise on discovering that this forum did not intend to investigate the inner workings of the BDS movement but to be a “balanced debate” on the merits of its objective: an academic boycott of Israel. Moreover, some of the contributors to the forum were active leaders in the BDS phenomenon and longtime delegitimizers of Israel. My thought was: should I bestow academic credibility onto an ideology that accuses me of crimes as ridiculous as ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and colonialism when I do research at my alma mater, the Technion, in Israel? I further thought: why have the editors chosen to give a stage to advocates of a morally deformed movement that even anti-Israel advocate Noam Chomsky describes as a “hypocrisy rising to...


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