April 19, 2019

What's Going Wrong in the Fight Against BDS?

“It has been almost a year since Israel budgeted $72 million for anti-BDS projects funded by the government and Jewish donations. These resources were meant to launch a new organization that would oversee the fight against boycott attempts through public diplomacy.

I remember reading the news a year ago. Initially, I felt excited at the prospect that the Israeli government had finally acknowledged the need to tackle BDS. My subsequent reaction, however, was doubt on how the money would actually be used. Would it fall into the right hands or would this money be wasted by people who are, to put it bluntly, well past their sellby date? The task at hand requires more than a middle-aged man with a thick Israeli accent standing in front of multiple classes of bored kids, meticulously plowing through a PowerPoint presentation sharing stories of his time in Lebanon. Gone are the days where it is enough to show an Israeli history movie as the last activity of the week on a late Friday afternoon. These old-school methods have failed to educate the adults of the future on the very basics of Israeli current affairs. We have to do more.

You may ask why it is important to know all this “stuff” about the Israel/ Palestine conflict. How can we merit the name “Startup Nation” and be so far behind our opposition? As Jews in the Diaspora, we share summer stories and pictures of our trip to the “Holy Land” on Instagram, yet we can’t string together even a few basic answers to fundamental Israel-bashing tactics. It’s a farce. All we can talk about these days is “the rise of antisemitism.”

I don’t claim to hold the cure to the disease, but I can suggest a starting point. There are two elements to this equation. 1) As advocates, we must capitalize on the obsession with technology and understand the short attention span of the new generation. 2) Average Jews in the Diaspora must also be players. “

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