1st Edition

Challenging the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement 20 Years of Responding to Anti-Israel Campaigns

Edited By Ronnie Fraser, Lola Fraser Copyright 2023
    262 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    262 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Challenging the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement focuses on the efforts to oppose antisemitism, the academic boycott, and the BDS movement.

    The State of Israel has faced many threats, most of them military, since it was established in 1948, but the threat posed by the NGO forum at the United Nations World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa, in August 2001 was different. The forum unleashed the "new" antisemitism which targeted the State of Israel, as well as a non-violent, civil society-based campaign based on the South African anti-apartheid campaign of the 1980s – which was to form the basis of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement directed at the State of Israel.

    Featuring case studies from the United States, Great Britain, Israel, and South Africa, each chapter of this wide-ranging volume discusses examples of opposition to the divisive BDS campaign and the proposed academic boycott of Israel over the last two decades, including the fight for formal recognition of the "new" antisemitism by governments and international bodies and the use of a variety of legal measures. The rise of antisemitism within academia and wider society is also examined.

    This book will be vital reading for students, scholars, and activists with an interest in social movements, Israel, and Middle East politics and history.

    1 Introduction
    Lola Fraser and Ronnie Fraser

    2 Durban: A Different Attack on Israel and the Jewish People and its Consequences
    Dina Porat

    3 Lessons from Durban: A Personal Testimony
    Marc Pozniak

    4 The Circumstances and Reasons Surrounding the Adoption and Recognition of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism
    Ronnie Fraser

    5 The South African Variant: Anti-BDS Politics on Campuses of the Beloved Country
    Benji Shulman

    6 The Central Role of the NGO Network in Promoting the BDS Movement
    Gerald M. Steinberg

    7 The Anti-Israel Movement on the US Campus
    Miriam F. Elman

    8 BDS: How a Crusade Against Israel Became a Pre-Occupation of the Academy
    Donna Robinson Divine

    9 Convergences and Divergences between Secular and Religious Anti-Zionism in the United States
    Cary Nelson

    10 The Mutual Weaponisation of BDS: A Perspective from Israel
    David Newman

    11 Online BDS and Antisemitic Hate
    Andre Oboler

    12 Why BDS is Destined to Fail
    Eran Shayshon


    Ronnie Fraser is Director of the Academic Friends of Israel which he founded with his wife, Lola, in 2003. Together they have campaigned against the academic boycott of Israel and antisemitism on campus. He is a retired college lecturer and author of British Trade Unions, the Labour Party, and Israel’s Histadrut (2022).

    Lola Fraser is a retired teacher with a degree in history and sociology. She co-founded the Academic Friends of Israel with her husband Ronnie and is currently a researcher for the history website British Jews in the First World War, We Were There Too (https://www.jewsfww.uk).

    'A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the most recent and powerful mutation of antisemitism, the demonization of the Jewish state. The BDS campaign has been very successful in defaming Israel and the Jewish people by proxy by using human rights language in a twisted way. This book explains how the BDS campaign became so influential among academic and cultural elites and what can be done about it.'

    Dr Günther Jikeli, Erna B. Rosenfeld Associate Professor, Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, Indiana University, USA

    'These essays make an impactful contribution to the understanding of the dangers and mechanics of the BDS movement globally. Providing an astute analysis of how the academy is driven by these false narratives and scholar activists that use propaganda rather than actual scholarship. Understanding the insidious objectives of the movement is key to combating it.'

    Dr Asaf Romirowsky, Executive Director, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East

    'This edited volume focuses on the campaign to impose the BDS campaign on the State of Israel and the response by Israel and its supporters to that campaign. It is a wide-ranging, comprehensive and incisive guide to the issue, a must-read for anyone interested in this subject.'

    Professor Jonathan Rynhold, Head of the Department of Political Studies, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

    'This is a very good book which brings together leading scholars in the field of antisemitism research on both sides of the Atlantic, and beyond, to provide a comprehensive and unique perspective on the many aspects of BDS.'

    Lesley Klaff, Senior Lecturer in Law, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

    Review by Aaron LeibelThe Jerusalem Post, available at: https://www.jpost.com/bds-threat/article-742756

    '...each essay approaches the matter differently, which helps maintain reader interest throughout, while the endnotes give the reader many opportunities to take a deeper dive into the material...profound and useful insights into both the BDS movement and how it can be effectively countered.'

    Excerpt from Ahron ShapiroAustralia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, available at: https://aijac.org.au/australia-israel-review/biblio-file-battling-the-boycotters/

    'Challenging the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement provides a wide-reaching overview of how the demonisation of the Jewish state through its distorted use of human rights language has emerged, under the broad banner of BDS, as the latest mutation of antisemitism in the modern era. Providing a range of expert perspectives on the various areas in which the BDS movement is impacting, it is a timeous and comprehensive resource, particularly for those involved in responding to this pernicious phenomenon.'

    Excerpt from David Saks, South African Jewish Board of Deputies Jewish Affairs, Vol 78, #2, Winter 2023. Available at: https://www.jewishaffairs.co.za/challenging-the-bds-movement/

    'The collection is authoritative and useful...The Frasers have made a positive contribution in looking at BDS and its impact globally in its first twenty years and offering insights about how to combat BDS in the university and labour institutions where it defames the Jewish State and promotes a discourse of hate that is particularly directed at Jews.'

    Excerpt from Kenneth Waltzer, Fathom, available at: https://fathomjournal.org/book-review-challenging-the-boycott-divestment-and-sanctions-bds-movement-twenty-years-of-responding-to-anti-israel-campaigns/