A year since Durham’s landmark BDS action, pro-Israel activists are fighting back

Pro-Israel activists take solace in the fact that there has been growing support in the U.S. for fighting the BDS movement.

By World Israel News Staff

A year ago, on April 16, 2018,  Durham, North Carolina voted unanimously to become the first city in the U.S. to prohibit police exchanges with Israel.

The process began on April 5, when local activists led by “the anti-Zionists of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) presented a petition to the Durham City Council” demanding the ban on police cooperation with Israel, writes the anti-BDS Legal Insurrection website.

“It took the city council just 11 days to do so,” writes the website, adding that it was the result of a  “vicious smear campaign” by JVP against the Jewish State.”

Eleven local rabbis called the city council’s action a “punch in the gut,” the site says.

The decision was part of the BDS agenda, of boycotting, divesting from, and sanctioning Israel, as noted by a website called: BDS – Freedom, Equality, Justice, which applauded the Durham decision, saying that the move was taken on the heels of  “broad community pressure and popular petition.”

The pro-BDS site confirms JVP’s support of the initiative.

“We are thrilled by this first win of the Deadly Exchange campaign, which is especially meaningful as a response to the ongoing targeting of unarmed Palestinians in Gaza and the call from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction Movement in response to end U.S./Israel police exchanges,” states JVP Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson, as noted on the pro-BDS site.

“In August of 2018, Durham City Attorney Patrick Baker told me that JVP appears to be a large player in this,” writes Peter Reitzes on Legal Insurrection. “Now JVP is using this ‘victory’ to raise money for continued targeting of the U.S. and Israel,” he says.

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Reitzes says that the council members were influenced into supporting the move by hours of anti-Israel rhetoric that preceded the vote. A local Nation of Islam leader charged that Jews have a “synagogue of Satan.”

“The Durham City Council had clearly become a ‘safe place’ for anti-Semitism and targeting Jews,” Reitzes adds.

However, pro-Israel activists take solace in the fact that there has been growing support in the U.S. for fighting the BDS movement.

Over two dozen American states have passed anti- BDS laws.

In recent days, Texas state agencies began divesting nearly $72 million worth of stock in a company that is said to have been boycotting Israel.

Florida’s governor issued a directive earlier this year that his state should cease doing business with Airbnb after the worldwide hospitality firm announced it would stop listing accommodations in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria. Airbnb has since reversed its decision.

The anti-Israel pressures persist. As Tel Aviv prepares to host the Eurovision Song Contest in May, leading BDS voice Roger Waters is calling on Madonna to cancel her appearance. However, the American singer has already performed in Israel on a number of occasions despite anti-Israel pressure.