BDS isn’t anti-Semitic; it tries to change Israeli behavior

Anti-BDS Bill Hearing, July 18, 2017
Anti-BDS Bill Hearing, July 18, 2017

Testimony presented at hearing on Anti-BDS Legislation, S.1689/H.1685, July 18, 2017

Eva Moseley

My name is Eva Moseley and I oppose An Act to Prevent Discrimination in State Contracting because it aims to suppress criticism of Israel by those engaged in BDS.  I oppose it as an American citizen and taxpayer, and especially as a Jew who as a child had to leave Nazi Vienna.  My family and I were refugees, victims of anti-Semitic ethnic cleansing, which soon became genocide.

Some call those who promote or practice BDS anti-Semites.  This is illogical.  The Boston Tea Party didn’t oppose George III because he was an English Protestant; the Montgomery bus boycott wasn’t aimed at white Alabamans because they were Christians.  So the BDS movement, and I and some other Holocaust refugees, are not critical of Israel because most Israelis are Jews but because of what Israel does, occupying and colonizing Palestinian land, and in many other ways violating both international law and Palestinian human rights.

Anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in the Holocaust, which I was lucky enough to escape.  I understand how and why that made a safe place for Jewish Survivors necessary, but I don’t understand why it makes oppression of the indigenous people acceptable.  In fact it is Israel that discriminates, with its laws and practices that favor Jews.  That is contrary to the Jewish values my parents taught me.

This bill is a waste of time and energy – including yours and mine.  Even many Jewish Israelis criticize Israel’s stance toward the Palestinians; they see it as not just wrong but also self-destructive.  In a democracy, such conflicting views should be aired, not suppressed.

This bill should be defeated.  But in the name of “Jewish values,” for the sake of Palestinians and Israelis, and for our own democracy, my written testimony proposes an amendment to confirm that, if passed, the bill is to be taken literally: it mentions neither Israel nor BDS and indeed has nothing to do with either one.