Israel and Jewish communities around the world are facing a dangerous international campaign to delegitimize the Jewish State via the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Unable to defeat the IDF militarily or weaken the population through persistent terrorism, extremist groups have embarked upon a global campaign to demonize, delegitimize and isolate Israel, challenging its right to exist and casting it as a pariah state in the United Nations, as well as academic institutions.
The BDS campaign and its utilization of “lawfare” tactics to attack Israel and Israelis with baseless legal actions is the main component of the “Durban Strategy” adopted by Israel’s opponents at the U.N.’s Human Rights Conference in 2001. Hiding behind BDS activists’ claim of assisting the Palestinian cause lies racial discrimination and anti-Semitism. As the Anti-Defamation League has stated: “The BDS movement at its very core is anti-Semitic.” Economic, cultural and academic boycotts deliver no political message and in no way influence political policy.
How does Shurat HaDin fight BDS?
Shurat HaDin has taken a lead in combatting BDS, supporting legislation to prohibit and penalize racist and anti-Semitic boycotts, exposing organizations that fund BDS activities, filing legal challenges to unions and academic societies that seek to support and implement BDS policies, and using cutting-edge international and domestic law to foil attempts to weaken Israel’s security.
Shurat HaDin’s recent efforts to fight BDS include:
- Successfully blocking a hostile flotilla intent on breaching the Israeli coastal blockade of Gaza by warning maritime insurance carriers and a satellite communication company that providing services to the flotilla could subject them to legal liability for aiding terrorists.
- Monitoring the rampant anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in academic institutions by informing the school of its potential civil and criminal liability for tolerating an environment of intimidation and hostility that fails to protect Jewish and Israeli students from anti-Semitic harassment.
- Using the legal system to counter boycotts against Israeli companies and academics by seeking to remove the tax exempt status of organizations that promote boycotts
- Filing lawsuits under relatively unchartered waters of the US Anti-Terrorism Act, Alien Torts Statute, and torture victim protection conventions, civil rights laws, consumer fraud statutes, the IRS codes, state and federal education laws, civil RICO and whistleblower statutes.
- Filing amicus curiae petitions in Israel’s High Court of Justice on behalf of the IDF and intelligence branches.
As an organization aimed at protecting human rights, Shurat HaDin is often notified by concerned individuals about a BDS campaign taking place in their home city. In such a case, Shurat HaDin will analyze the legality of the specific case according to local laws. If the BDS activity is found to be illegal, Shurat HaDin will dispatch a strongly worded warning letter to the campaign organizers and the institutions being targeted. The letter will advise the organizer that capitulating to the BDS movement and boycotting Israel and Israeli related businesses, academics and cultural persons is unlawful and the organizer may become the subject of civil, administrative and criminal legal action.
If the organizers don’t heed the warning and cease their BDS activities, Shurat HaDin follows through by taking legal action.