Is the effort to combat the BDS movement much ado about nothing? Given the campaign to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel’s abject failure to harm the economy of the Jewish state or even to get American universities to endorse its efforts, there are those who consider all the fuss made about the issue a mistake. Much of the organized Jewish community has been treating the battle against BDS as a priority. That includes an effort geared towards lobbying state legislatures and now the US Congress to pass laws that prevent those complying with such boycotts from doing business with the government.
Critics see this as a waste of time that gives the BDS camp too much credit and far too much attention. Even worse, some see the push against BDS as doing real damage to the pro-Israel cause since they believe that support for measures that are viewed by some liberals as an attack on free speech is bound to not only fail, but also help alienate younger Jews. They argue that the focus on BDS is likely to help convince this demographic group, where support for Israel is already faltering, that being pro-Israel is incompatible with being a progressive.
Yet the answer as to why BDS matters is being provided by one of its most prominent advocates: Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). Tlaib has been in the news of late as a rookie congresswoman who has been making quite a splash in her first weeks in Washington.