Posts Tagged ‘BDS’

Dude, Don’t ‘Boycott Israel’

October 9, 2013

This post first appeared on the Forward Thinking blog at the Forward.

Ari Lesser

Ari Lesser

There’s a new weapon in the anti-BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) arsenal. It’s a viral video by Cleveland-based Orthodox hip-hop artist Ari Lesser, and, based on the more than 18,000 hits it’s gotten since Monday, it’s proving to be pretty powerful.

Lesser raps “Boycott Israel,” a catchy reggae number pointing out the hypocrisy of boycotting Israel when countries all over the world are committing human rights violations—many of them far worse than anything Israel is doing to the Palestinians. Lesser points out specific offences and atrocities committed globally—from North Korea to Syria to Russia to Ecuador, and every point in between.

The song’s refrain pretty much sums up Lesser’s point:

Boycott Israel if you think that’s just, But unless you have a double standard you must Also boycott the rest of the nations, Where there are human rights allegations. We’re not perfect, but if you think we’re the worst, First take a look at the rest of the Earth. Don’t pick and choose, to pick on the Jews, Pick up the paper and read the news.

The musician was commissioned by Here Is Israel, a new pro-Israel campus advocacy group, to write and perform the song.

“It’s not to say that Israel is always right — I definitely criticize when I disagree — but I don’t think a boycott of the whole country is honest,” Lesser told The Times of Israel. “Really, you see if you’re not willing to boycott every major country — and minor country — in the world, then BDS is anti-Semitism, or anti-Israelism, or whatever.”

Click here to watch the video at the Forward.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.



Stanford Students Reject Israel Divestment Measure

March 7, 2013

This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.

The failed Stanford divestment proposal targeted companies including Motorola and Caterpillar. (Photo credit: CC BY/the_beat via

The failed Stanford divestment proposal targeted companies including Motorola and Caterpillar. (Photo credit: CC BY/the_beat via

SAN FRANCISCO — Stanford University’s student senate rejected a bill calling for selective divestment from Israel.

The Associated Students of Stanford University Undergraduate Senate rejected the proposal, put forth by Students for Palestinian Equal Rights(SPER).

The bill originally would have committed the Senate to urge the university’s Board of Trustees to reconsider endowment investments in eight companies, including Caterpillar, Lockheed Martin and Motorola. Tuesday’s vote centered on a revised version that pared the list to two.

The failure of the SPER bill capped off several weeks of contentious debate on campus. SPER Co-President Omar Shakir, a law student, had alleged the companies listed in the proposal profit from Israel’s control of the West Bank and “commit human rights abuses and violations of international law.”

Groups on both sides received statements of support from prominent outside voices. On SPER’s side were a pair of Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Northern Irish peace activist Mairead Maguire and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. “The Color Purple” author Alice Walker had also called for the measure to be implemented.

 Click here to read more.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.