From an article in the J Weekly, written by Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institute.
At university campuses, particularly in California, anti-Israel divestment debates in student government have become a spring ritual.
From San Diego to Berkeley and Davis, student senators introduce resolutions backing divestment, debate is scheduled immediately, propaganda is spread, supporters pack the halls, pro-Israel speakers are harassed (or worse), and student senators with almost no knowledge cast deciding votes. Whether the resolution (which has no practical impact) is adopted or defeated, Israel’s demonization is propagated.
While presented under the façade of local student initiatives, this process is a central part of a much wider and well-financed campaign of political warfare against Israel. The delegitimization of Israel began with its founding, and has not stopped. In the early decades (before the pretext of occupation after the 1967 war), the Arab League boycott office, located in Damascus, persuaded many firms, including Pepsi and American Express, not to do business with Israel. And travelers with Israeli visas in their passports were barred from Arab countries.
At the U.N.’s 2001 NGO (non-governmental organization) “anti-racism” conference in Durban, South Africa, the political war was expanded to include false claims of “war crimes,” “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing” and even “genocide.” Boycott efforts were expanded to universities, churches and the media. They received a massive infusion of funds and “feet on the ground” in the form of highly politicized NGOs. The goal of this Durban strategy was clear: the complete international isolation of Israel.
On this foundation, the first campaigns for academic boycotts and divestments were launched a few months later by pro-Palestinian student groups and union officials, using the false allegations of an Israeli “massacre” in Jenin. Monthly and sometimes weekly events featured speakers under the banner of human rights who repeated the mantra of Israeli demonization. Although often focusing on post-1967 occupation and settlements, and stripped of the historic and military context, the message remained that sovereignty for the Jewish people, regardless of borders, was unacceptable. This is the core message of campus divestment campaigns, including those in California....
While local student groups opposing this form of campus-based political warfare against Israel have done a good job and have won some votes, they are inherently out-gunned by this powerful political machine. As a result, the pro-Israel students are largely on the defensive against divestment resolutions..
In order to bring an end to this spring offensive, an aggressive proactive approach and far more resources are required. To defeat divestment, the immorality of this racist propaganda must be exposed before the public campaigns begin. This will require the extension of the anti-divestment cooperation between the pro-Israel and genuine pro-human rights groups across the ideological spectrum...
While the debate on how best to handle the complex issues of borders, security, and occupation will continue, the rejection of the demonization of Israel as a Jewish state transcends these differences.
Read the article here