Here’s Why Joe Biden’s Anti-BDS Stance Is Problematic

Biden went on to say that his administration will “firmly reject the BDS movement.”

By

Samer Hassan
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

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In an unsurprising turn of events, former Vice President Joe Biden declared his undying loyalty to the Zionist state of Israel. Dan Shapiro, the former ambassador to Israel, hosted an online fundraiser for the Biden Campaign. During the event, Biden affirmed his unconditional support to the Israeli state, a move that is increasingly at odds with many young progressive Americans. Biden went on to say that his administration will “firmly reject the BDS movement, which singles out Israel – home to millions of Jews – and too often veers into antisemitism, while letting Palestinians off the hook for their choices.” 

Inaccurate statements like these perpetuate a mentality that purports Israelis as the victims while Palestinians as obstacles to peace. Criticism of harmful Israeli policies should be encouraged but instead, are gaslit as antisemitic. 

Yet, when an unarmed Palestinian teenager was shot in the head by an Israeli occupation soldier and subsequent United Nations report detailing the 77% rise of illegal Israeli settler violence towards Palestinians, Biden was silent. Palestinian homes are being bulldozed in droves while their land is increasingly confiscated by illegal Israeli settler groups, Zionists point out that this land was promised to them and to them only. 

It is exactly this type of backdrop that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) campaign was created by Palestinian civil society in 2005. Their goal is to pressure Israel to treat the Palestinians as equal human beings with dignity and enter negotiations with a viable deal that gives Palestinians a state. This movement calls on the world to end economic deals with the Zionist government until Palestinians are free from occupation. Instead, the movement has been demonized by moderate and right-wing politicians around the world. Moderate candidates like Biden are not running for office to reform the American political system, but to maintain an unequal status quo. 

The Palestinian BDS National Committee opposed his statement saying, “By rejecting BDS, Joe Biden endorses US complicity in Israel’s decades-old regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid, and supports depriving Palestinians of our fundamental human rights,” the organization said.

In an insult to the American values of freedom and democracy for all, Biden stated, “They have to acknowledge flat out Israel’s right to exist, period, as an independent Jewish state, and guarantee the borders,” reiterating his lack of knowledge. The Palestinian Liberation Organization recognized Israel in 1988. It is the new caveat that demands Israel be recognized as a Jewish state that is a non-starter to Palestinian leaders because that would effectively sideline 24% of Israelis, who are Muslim and Christian, as second class citizens in a state that already practices dejure apartheid policies. Moreover, Israel doesn’t recognize an official border because that means it would have to legally abide by it. 

The double standards in the US presidential primaries towards the Palestinians shows exactly how out of touch the Biden campaign is with many of its constituents. There is a deafening silence when it comes to holding Israel accountable for its actions. Biden’s campaign has stated that he would not condition aid to Israel, even though there are many documented human rights violations towards the Palestinian people. 

What Americans need is a leader that holds all governments accountable to the ideals of peace, equality, and freedom for all, not Joe Biden and his “unshakable commitment to Israel.”

 
Samer Hassan is a Palestinian activist in New York city. He graduated with a degree in Political Science
from Columbia University.