BDS, Antisemitism, and the Christian Faith

Tricia Miller, Ph. D.

The  Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is, at its core, and  in its purpose, an antisemitic attack on the existence of the Jewish  state. It is antisemitic – more specifically, it is anti-Jewish –  because it denies Jewish people the right to self-determination in their  historic homeland and declares the Jewish State to be illegitimate.

Indeed,  anti-Zionism – the denial of equal rights for the Jewish people to have  a sovereign state within the community of nations – becomes  antisemitism when the legitimacy of the Jewish State is questioned, but  the legitimacy of other ethnic nations is not; when the Arab-Israeli  conflict is blamed on Jews and Jews alone; and when that conflict  becomes the epitome of a cosmic struggle between good and evil, in  which, by definition, Arabs are good and Jews are evil.

Using  the “social justice” movement and a professed concern over violations  of international and human rights law as a shield, BDS advocates  maintain that the boycott of Israeli products, divestment from companies  who do business in Israel, and sanctions against the Jewish State will  help improve living conditions for Palestinians who live under  Palestinian rule. Example after example disproves this claim, but the  false illusion still proves to be alluring to a Western audience,  uninformed as to the true purpose of the movement.

The hypocrisy behind its purported raison d’etre is glaring in light of the fact that the movement focuses none of its attention on recognized human rights violators such as Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, North Korea,  China – just to name a few. Instead, the sole focus of a movement that  is supposedly concerned about the violation of human rights is a  democratic state that actually protects the rights of women and  minorities – unlike dozens of other nations that do not.

In  addition to the fact that the BDS movement pays no attention to  countries actually guilty of human rights violations, growing evidence  indicates that the movement has significant ties to Palestinian  terrorist organizations that exist for the purpose of destroying Israel.  Indeed, BDS boycotts often strengthen the position of the Palestinian  Liberation Organization (PLO), which controls the Palestinian Authority  and pays terrorists and their families for their efforts to kill Jews.  In other words, under the guise of helping to provide assistance to  Palestinians, this movement aids and abets the actions of terror groups  sworn to the annihilation of the Jewish State.

The  BDS movement is also a direct assault on the Christian faith. Any  attack on the legitimacy of the re-established Jewish State must include  a denial of the biblical and historical record of Jewish life in that  land. Since Christianity is absolutely dependent on its Jewish roots in  the context of the ancient Jewish homeland, the delegitimization of  Israel, by definition, is anti-Christian as well.

Unfortunately,  there is a growing number of Christians who support efforts to boycott,  divest from, and sanction Israel. They do so based on a mistaken  understanding of what the movement is really all about, or they do so  because they are in agreement with the ultimate aim of the movement. The  true purpose of BDS is made obvious through the words and actions of  its leaders – particularly those of its founder, Omar Barghouti – whose  professed goal is the replacement of the Jewish State with a Palestinian  one.

In  order to reach this objective, Barghouti promotes antisemitic  conspiracy theories, expresses support for terrorism, has close ties to  the PLO and Hamas, and openly calls for the violent destruction of the Jewish State. As he says in his own words:  “Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of  Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out  Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.” “We most  definitely have a moral and legal right to an armed resistance…in the  BDS movement we don’t say we’re against violent resistance.”

In  other words, if someone is a “real Palestinian,” not a “sell-out  Palestinian,” it is impossible for that person to ever accept the  existence of the Jewish state of Israel. At the same time, it is  perfectly acceptable – even encouraged – to resist the Jewish State with  force. The bottom line is – BDS is not a peaceful movement. It is a method of war by other means, through  which its leaders intend to turn Christians – people in your  congregations – against Israel.

Barghouti’s  definition of a “real Palestinian,” and his blatantly anti-Israel  position might make sense if it was confined within the context of the  religiously motivated war being waged by Muslims against Jews. However,  it is not. The tragic reality is that there are Palestinian Christians  who also believe that Israel has no right to exist and that support for  BDS is one way to achieve the destruction of the Jewish State.

Part  of the foundation of the belief system of some Palestinian Christian  theologians and activists is the erroneous theology known as replacement  theology. Historic replacement theology maintains that Christians and  the Church have replaced Jews and Israel in the purposes of God.  Palestinian replacement theology purports that Palestinians – not Jews –  are the indigenous people of the land, that no Jews lived in the land  2000 years ago, and that the Jews there now are not really Jews, Rather,  they are illegal occupiers whose roots are somewhere in Europe.  Therefore, the Jewish State is illegitimate.

The  assertion that Palestinians are the indigenous people of the land  promotes the Palestinian political cause. It also results in the  identification of Jesus as a Palestinian! After all, how could Jesus be  Jewish if there were no Jews in the land when he was born there?

The  invention of a Palestinian Jesus should be very troubling for any  Christian who reveres the Bible as an authoritative source of truth and  doctrine. Think about the consequences of the claims made by this false  theology.

The  denial of Jewish history in the land delegitimizes the right of Jews to  live there now. BUT, it also results in the elimination of Christian  history, and the delegitimization of the Christian faith. This is  because the Christian faith begins with a Jewish Messiah, who called Jewish disciples, in the context of Jewish society, which existed in the historic biblical homeland of the Jewish people.

The  Christian faith is absolutely dependent on its Jewish roots, as Paul  made so clear in his letter to the Romans. But, the invention of a  Palestinian Jesus denies the Jewishness of Jesus and deconstructs the  foundations of Christian faith by severing that faith from its Jewish  roots and context. As a result, the Christian faith is delegitimized.

Unfortunately,  some of the same, self-identified Christians who have invented the  Palestinian Jesus also believe that BDS is an important weapon in the  fight against the existence of Israel. This is how the blatantly  antisemitic, anti-Jewish BDS movement also becomes a direct assault on  the Christian faith – an assault that is aided and abetted by professing  Christians. And this is why the denial of the right of Jewish people to  self-determination in their historic homeland is not only antisemitic,  but by definition, anti-Christian as well.

The  Palestinian Christian narrative, with its false Palestinian Jesus, is  making steady inroads into western Evangelical churches. Evangelical  Christians who know that Jesus was born a Jew and lived as a Jew in the  historic homeland of the Jewish people, and who understand the  importance and significance of the existence of Israel, need to oppose  and expose the blatant efforts of the BDS movement to destroy the Jewish  State.

CAMERA’s  Christian analysts are able and available to equip you and your  congregations with the facts necessary to tell the truth about Israel,  combat anti-Zionism in the church, and oppose antisemitism in whatever  form it appears. Please contact us to schedule a single speaker or a  multi-speaker conference! Contact Tricia at tricia@camera.org for more information.