CAMERA Prompts NY Times Correction on BDS Goals

CAMERA secured a correction from the New York Times the after an editorial had downplayed the extremist goals of the anti-Israel boycott movement. 

The Dec. 12 editorial had characterized the so-called BDS campaign as merely “a movement advocating economic measures opposing Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.” In fact, the BDS campaign has made perfectly clear — including in a letter to the editor published in the Times — that its aim is not an end to the occupation and the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, but rather a series of measures that amount to an end to the Jewish majority and the Jewish state. And it has made clear that the “economic measures” it insists on would continue even if the occupation of the West Bank were to end.

According to an Editors’ Note now appended to the editorial, a passage elaborating on BDS’s goals was unintentionally removed from the piece. In the current version of the editorial, the claim that BDS opposes the occupation remains, but it is followed by language highlighting BDS supporters’ opposition to Israel’s existence and the widely held view that BDS is antisemitic:

The campaign’s Palestinian founders initially called for changes in Israeli policies, but many supporters have taken it up to oppose Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. Many supporters of Israel have said the boycott movement is anti-Semitism in disguise.

The correction, which amounts to a substantial improvement, is commendable. Still, the updated language stumbles when suggesting that the campaign’s founders didn’t initially demand an end to the Jewish state. The official BDS website has long enumerated the campaign’s insistence not only on an Israeli withdrawal from disputed territories, but also on a so-called “return” of those characterized as Palestinian refugees — today mostly the descendants of refugees from the 1948 war against Israel’s creation. And as all sides to the conflict understand, a “right of return” is meant to destroy Israel and disenfranchise the Jews. 

Take it from Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement, who has admitted that “a return for refugees would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.” 

Earlier this year, CAMERA prompted a correction in the the Times news pages after a story had likewise mischaracterized BDS as an anti-occupation movement.