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 email@example.com for more information.