The Crisis In The Middle East

What is the BDS movement, led by Palestinian groups against Israel?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: BDS Movement

Mains level: Anti-Semitism, Racism, Apartheid


Central Idea

  • An article in a German newspaper accused Indian poet Ranjit Hoskote of “anti-Semitism” and supporting the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement.

What is BDS Movement?

  • BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement was launched in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian groups.
  • It aims to garner international support for Palestinian people’s rights.
  • BDS describes itself as an “inclusive, anti-racist human rights movement” opposing all forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
  • It draws inspiration from the South African anti-apartheid movement.

BDS Goals

  • BDS calls for nonviolent pressure on Israel until it complies with international law, with three key demands:
    1. Ending Israel’s occupation and colonization of Arab lands and dismantling the Wall.
    2. Recognizing the rights of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality.
    3. Respecting, protecting, and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, as per UN Resolution 194.

Strategies of BDS

  • BDS involves boycotts of Israeli government, associated institutions, and companies involved in human rights violations.
  • Divestment campaigns urge institutions to withdraw investments from Israel.
  • Sanctions campaigns seek to pressure governments to fulfill legal obligations to end Israeli apartheid.
  • BDS focuses on a smaller number of carefully selected companies and products for maximum impact.

Israeli Government’s Response

  • Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has linked BDS to anti-Semitism.
  • BDS argues that criticism of Israel’s violations of international law should not be equated with anti-Semitism.
  • Israeli Minister Gilad Erdan led efforts against the economic boycott of Israel but downplayed the threat.

Economic Impact of BDS

  • BDS has led to some brands and celebrities refusing to work in Israel.
  • Impact on an entire state’s economy is challenging to measure due to various factors.
  • BDS aims to become a powerful tool in ending western support for Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch