Resolved: People Should Support the Boycott, Divestment and Sactions Movement (BDS)
1. Acceptance, No Arguments
2. Opening statements (no rebuttals)
5. Final Rebuttals and closing arguments
1. The burden of proof is shared
2. Forfeiting will results in a full 7-point loss
3. No images or videos are permitted. Links to videos or Images may be used as sources, but the media itself may not be posted in the debate.
4. The character limit is 10,000
5. All arguments must be made in the debate. Any arguments that are mentioned in the comments should be ignored. If there are technical difficulties, sources may be posted in the comments.
6. No Kritiks
7. No Semantics
8. No Trolling
9. All sources must be accessible online and all links must be posted to the debate.
10. Violations of any of these rules should be noted by voters in their scores for conduct.
I want to begin by thanking the con for accepting this debate.
I will begin by giving an overview of what BDS is and then I will go into my arguments
The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement is an international campaign to place economic, social and political pressure of the State of Israel to end the occupation of Palestine, grant full equality to Arab/Palestinians Citizens of Israel and recognize the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
It began in 2005 when 170 non-governmental organizations in Palestine, including political parties, trade unions, youth groups and academic organizations, issued a call to the international community to place pressure on Israel through boycotts and international sanctions. 
Contention 1: International Law and Human Rights
The State of Israel is committing numerous violations of International law, human rights, and UN resolutions . In this debate I shall focus on the issues related to the occupation.
The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem is illegal under numerous treaties and UN Resolutions. After seizing the territory in 1967, the United Nations Security Council issued resolution 242, which called upon Israel to immediately withdraw from all territories captured in the 6 Day War (The West Bank, the Gaza strip, East Jerusalem, the Sinai and the Golan Heights). While Israeli forces have withdrawn from the Sinai and returned the Territory to Egypt, and Israeli forces have "disengaged" from Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights are still under Israeli occupation and thus Israel is in violation of this resolution .
Further violations of International law include the annexation of Jerusalem, which violates the Fourth Geneva Convention, which restricts the annexation of territory taken in war. This view is affirmed by the United Nations
Perhaps the biggest violation of international law in regards to the occupation is the creation of settlements in these territories. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva convention states that it is illegal to transfer the citizens of the occupying nation to occupied territories . This interpretation was affirmed by the International Court of Justice in 2004 .
Contention 2: South Africa Shows Boycotts Work
The international boycott and divestment campaign against apartheid South Africa demonstrates how campaigns like BDS can be successful . Sanctions and Divestment from South Africa, especially in the US and the UK caused a great deal of strain on the South African economy. This ultimately forced the South African government to agree to end apartheid and hold democratic elections which resulted in the end to the boycotts and sanctions . While the short term campaign did not result in the end of apartheid, in the long term campaign did . However this only was able to happen because the movement gained enough support in the public that states and large corporations became involved and implemented sanctions and divestment policies of their own.
Contention 3: BDS has already show success
BDS has already been successful in causing companies to divest from the Israeli occupation. A recent example of this is the British security company G4S recently announced that they would be selling their Israeli subsidiary in response to pressure from the BDS movement . In order to achieve greater sucess, however, more people will need to support the BDS movement.
Thank you Pro again for instigating and good luck! I'd like to appologize for the delay I have been very busy and in the middle of another debate. I hope this is adequate time.
Truthfully, I never completely understood shared burden of proof. It is generally harder to really prove a negative than it is to prove a positive. Nonetheless, I still look forward to a thought provoking debate and hope to tackle several issues. I will be arguing that people should not support BDS not just because it is unjust and perhaps even immoral, but the implications one gives to themselves by supporting them as well as the impact it has on the Palestinians.
I do not think I need to look too far with regards to sources for my opening arguments as I am mainly going to use BDS’s website as it is literally the best testimony to the flaws in the BDS. BDS begins by describing themselves “The global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights” . Before I even argue from a moral perspective, let’s analyze this in terms of logic and effectiveness. In order for someone to be willing to support such a movement, the burden of proof would be on either Pro or the BDS movement to prove that boycotting private Israeli businesses that often don’t have to do with the government, as any impact whatsoever in Israelis policies towards the Palestinians. Otherwise, it would be harmful and I would argue unjust to deny people of several useful everyday products for a cause that perhaps won’t even help their own cause. The point I am trying to get it as that this is not only to be a debate of it BDS’s criticisms of Israel are correct or not, but also, and perhaps more significantly, if it is effective. This is especially true if they are asking for donations from people. Keep in mind that these boycotts are not just boycotting Israeli products but even products and companies that support Israel. I would like to provide some examples of products that a genuine Israeli boycott would result in. To name a few, McDonalds, HP, Intel, Motorola, Sabra (Which I must attest from personal experience would be a huge loss), SodaStream, Pampers, Victoria’s Secret, Volvo, . There are many others that I might include in the following rounds but I find them as side details. The point is that there are many major products that the BDS movement tells people to boycott. Again, I want people to ask themselves if they would support a boycott if they know it is going to be ineffective to the cause? If the answer is no, perhaps you need not read any further than the evidence I am about to provide. BDS themselves concede that these boycotts for the most part are not effective and that is not even their goal! To quote them: “Trying to boycott the products of every single company that participates in Israeli apartheid is a daunting task that has a slim change of having a concrete impact” .
Now, there are a few things that can be gleaned from this statement. First of all, a small point is that as they are trying to convince people to boycott Israeli goods they are showing their incompetence by their lack of dedication to proofread their statements. I think it is fair to assume that they meant “a slim chance of having a concrete impact”. Their statement, then, confirms exactly what I said previously. By calling it a daunting task they validate what I was saying about the difficulties they are bringing to people. So it is clear that they realize it is not an easy thing to ask someone to do. But they are asking people to do it with clear knowledge that it won’t be effective! The point that I would like to get across is that it is clear that the boycott’s agenda, or at least undeniably the results of it, are not for helping the Palestinian people. Now here’s where my opinion comes in so of course everyone including Pro is free to disagree with it but this is what I conclude from this evidence. The agenda of the BDS along with its intentions is nothing more than Anti-Semitic. Again I proved that many of these products are just private businesses owner which happen to be Israeli. They are often not involved with the government at all. I proved as well that they don’t bring results to the Palestinians and that it is not even their goal. This accomplishes really only one goal pretty perfectly. It pisses off and can harm Jewish business owners. It deprives them from extra money which of course feeds into the stereotype of Jews being stingy and being controlling with money. This can definitely be accomplished effectively. This just gives a barrier for BDS to hide behind and I find it criminal that they use the actual struggles of the Palestinians which I definitely recognize for their own personal agenda of Jew hatred. They don’t care about the Palestinians. They just hide behind statements about them so they don’t be recognized as being blatantly Anti-Semitic. If one argues that they are an organization that cares about human rights I would like to challenge that. Why not then make a movement that criticizes all those that actually violate them? Take, for example, the Palestinian government themselves! They persecute Christians who live there on a regular basis . Why don’t they perhaps condemn the TARGETED killing of a 13 year old girl just because she lived in what BDS would call “occupied territories” of Kiryat Arba ? Are terms like this by BDS not something that these terrorists would celebrate? It just gives terrorists more reasons to do such actions. If they had a genuine interest in human rights these would definitely be the appropriate actions.
Maybe one might suggest that they care about Palestinians in general and are just focusing on justice for them. This is also absurd. They make no references that I am aware of condemning the killing of Palestinians in Syria on a daily basis and on the very off-hand chance that they mentioned it, it is probably not on a fraction of a level that they condemn Israel. The fact is that there is literally no better place in the Middle East for Palestinians or Arabs then Israel. So, again, you are welcome to disagree that there are other motives for such an organization aside from age old Jew hatred but I just debunked every other rational for such an organization so at the very least, these challenges must be addressed.
I have already given a lot to read this round so we will analyze only one more of their statements from their introduction. They claim that “BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice” .
Now, even for those of you disagree with me and think that BDS’s agenda along with their intentions is a just one, I’d like you to at least be open to the fact that their strategy of recruiting people is unjust. What I mean is that they are to a certain extent demonizing those who do not support them. I think I gave at least fair reasons to not support them. According to them however I do not have a conscience. They imply that if you don’t agree with them or actively participate in their movement, you don’t quite have a conscience or at least not the one they have. A more important note. They contradict their previous statement! They conceded themselves that the boycott is not effective but here they are in their introduction telling people how impactful they will be on the Palestinians if they participate in this movement. This is a very sinister tactic, again, even if they are just cause with proper intentions.
Now my next argument is for those who care about the Palestinians and their well-being (Which I’m sure Pro does). In order for someone to support a boycott, it is not a question of whether it is successful, but rather if that success actually assists the cause. I am therefore going to give a brief explanation of how BDS hurts the Palestinian economy and does remotely nothing to the Israeli economy. Take for example SodaStream. It was located in the West Bank and once these boycotts take place and the company loses their business, the Israelis are fine because all they do is move that business to the south. The Palestinians in the region, however, end up losing their jobs which actually paid them significantly more than the local wages. This also takes away the chances the Israelis and the Palestinians have for peace. Israelis and Palestinians are literally working together! And BDS essentially is responsible for removing this. How can one support such a thing? .
I look forward to the following rounds where I can dig into the specifics of Pro's arguments and he can do the same for mine. Many of the arguments presented are nevertheless applicable.
On to you Pro.
The Con argues that the BDS movement is immoral, ineffective, and anti-Semitic and that it harms the Palestinian economy. While the argument itself lacks any organization, I shall organize my responses as such.
The Con Argues that in order for someone to be willing to support BDS, that the burden of Proof should be on the Pro or the BDS movement. However, the Con must remember that he has agreed to the rules, a fact he notes in his second paragraph, and the rules state that the burden of proof in this debate will be shared. Regardless, his claim is that I the pro should have to prove why boycotting private companies would effect the Israeli government, however, this argument is illogical at best, and farcical at worst. The purpose of all boycotts is to place economic and social pressure on an institution or government. As the economy of Israel is made up of private companies, any boycott against Israel would thus be against those companies. The economic impact of BDS would be an overall contraction of the Israeli economy, prompting the government to concede the demands of the boycott in order to stop the economic decline.
The Con then argues that people should not give up products they use currently if it has a chance of being ineffective. He cites an article from the Website of the Boycott National Committee, the Palestinian group which organized BDS, which he claims states that BDS is ineffective. However, this quote is taken out of context, as the paragraph following states:
"It makes more sense to focus on optimal targets that are being targeted as part of national or international campaigns. Consumer boycotts are most effective when part of a broader campaign against a particular product or aiming to pressure a retailer to stop selling a particular Israeli product." What the article he cites is really arguing is that it is more effective to have a directed and focused campaign which will be more impactful. Because of this, the Con's conclusion is nothing more than a straw man argument. The con has erected his straw man only to tear it down without actually arguing against the actual BDS movement's strategy.
2. Antisemitism and Immorality
The Con argues that BDS is anti-Semitic, as it "doesn't bring results to the Palestinians" and rather it angers (the Con uses more colorful language) Jewish business owners. The first part of this premise is based on the Straw man argument he previously made, and that I have shown to be false. The second part is that it angers Jewish Business owners, which he claims then furthers the stereotype of Jews being greedy, however, this premise does not support the conclusion. Any boycott would anger business owners, as it means a loss of business and thus profits, which is the purpose of all businesses, hints the term for-profit enterprise. In the case of BDS, many businesses which are being boycotted happen to be owned by people who are Jewish, as Israel is a Jewish Majority nation.
He then claims that the Palestinian right to self-determination is simply a smokescreen for anti-Semites, however, yet again this claim is not supported by the facts. The Boycott National Committee is an organization made up OF Palestinian civil organizations who have been involved in the struggle for Palestinian Self-Determination since the beginning. These organizations are not hiding behind the Palestinian struggle, they ARE the Palestinian Struggle.
The Con then argues that they do not care about human rights, because they do not speak out about other human rights issues, and he cites the persecution of Palestinian Christians and terrorist actions in the Occupied territories. This is a blatant red herring which does not actually argue against the BDS movement's goals, which are an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, full equality for Palestinian and Arab citizens of Israel, and the recognition of the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
He then attempts to preemptively rebut the fact that BDS is only focused on Justice for the Palestinians, however, this is yet again a red herring. The BDS movement is built around their three demands. By citing their lack of response to the killing of Palestinians in Syria, the con only tries to distract from the issues that BDS is focused on. His claim that he has refuted every other motive for BDS other than Anti-Semitism is absurd, as he has not shown how the demands of the BDS movement are anti-Semitic at all.
He then claims that the strategy of recruiting people is unjust, as it "demonizes those who disagree." He supports this claim by alleging that according to BDS he "does not have a conscience". This is yet another straw man. He says that the statement "BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice..." is the same as "those who do not support BDS have no conscience." This does not actually address the BDS movement at all. He then reiterates his previous straw man, which I have refuted.
3. Palestinian Economy
The Con claims that BDS harms the Palestinian economy, and thus is bad for Palestinians. However according to the World Bank, it is not BDS, but the Occupation, which BDS hopes to end, that harms the Palestinian Economy . The fact that Israel controls such large portions of Palestinian land has been extremely detrimental to the Palestinian economy, not to mention that the Gaza Strip is cut off from all trade and commerce thanks to the Israeli blockade. To claim that BDS has harmed Palestinians, but the goal of ending the occupation is not going to help the Palestinian economy is plainly absurd. In order for the Palestinian economy to grow, the occupation must end, and that is the primary goal of BDS.
Thank you for your response.
I ask Pro and the voters for some sympathy this round because I couldn't properly analyze all of Pro's points about what BDS themselves claims because their site is under maintenance. Perhaps it is to fix the mistakes I pointed out. :)
I hope to address those points in the later rounds if neccessary.
I am a little confused as to what is so "illogical" or "farcical" of making the point that in order for someone to actively support a boycott, there should be proof that it is effective. This was merely my point. I didn't solely just shift the burden on you Pro. I'm sure you noticed that following that statement I gave many arguments why one should not support it. This was simply an opening point to my paragraph. Even if you isolate all my other points after it, I think it is still fair to make the argument that one should not support a boycott because there isn't evidence of it being effective. Additionally, I have to say that I am a little offended that Pro is willing to lecture me about the parameters of the debate when he is planning on abandoning it entirely. Didn't the parameters say 5 rounds Pro? Again, I completely understand the situation as I agreed with Pro and that Pro has his reasons but I didn't give such a response to him when he suggested that. I just request that we keep things in perspective and just analyze the actual points made instead of getting too caught up with petty points. That aside, onto the specifics:
I understand that Pro was just using this to make the case for the effectiveness of BDS, but it is simply not being intellectually honest to compare Israel to racist South Africa who used brutal force to suppress people along racial lines within their country. I am appalled by such a comparison. Israel is the only nation in the Middle East where Arabs, and yes Palestinians, have a free and fair vote. It is absurd to single out and attack the one country in the Middle East where Arabs undeniably have it best in the region in terms of human rights. Israel is a diverse country with 1.1 Million Muslims, 130,000 Christians, and 100,000 Druze and each have equal voting rights. 14 seats in the Knesset are held by Arabs . And of course all religions are welcome to pray at their holy sites in Jerusalem which I'd like to remind everyone was not the case under Arab rule.
My main argument for this point was that BDS singles out the Jewish state as oppose to all the neighboring countries where treatment is exponentially worse. If one really cared about human rights they would boycott every nation in the Middle East except Israel. You could even ignore the countries but how about treatment from the Palestinian leader themselves! Pro simply proves my point by correctly pointing out that I "distract from the issues that BDS is focused on". It is very true that BDS along with many of their supporters consider the hanging of gays in neighboring countries as a "distraction" to their agenda along with the slaughtering of a 13 year old Jewish girl. Pro did not address the point from last round regarding this 13 year old girl. If Pro really wants to emphasize that BDS represents the Palestinians themselves, he of all people should be advocating that they rather demand reforms and condemn their own leaders. Pro seems to care more about the specifics of resolution 242 from 1967 then the recent slaughter of a 13 year old girl along with Palestinian leadership, Hamas, calling for the destruction of JEWS not only in Israel but JEWS worldwide . This is what one implies when they support BDS that something as trivial as the specifcs of UN resolutions are the issue but people who actually advocate for genocide are not.
Pro argues that BDS represents the Palestinian people. Does Pro actually believe that the Palestinian people for the most part are not Anti-Semitic? This would be a delusional and false claim. It was found that actually 93% of Palestinians hold Anti-Semitic beliefs. 
Even if one wants to ignore all the evidence given and still believe that BDS is not Anti-semitic, one should at least acknowledge that they will be associated with Anti-Semites who support it. One of the main groups that advocate for BDS is Students for Justice in Palestine. They are responsible for "funding organizations being staffed by people formerly working to fund Hamas" . It is clear they have had associations with Hamas and the Muslim brotherhood. The founder, Hatem Bazian, headed the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Muslim Student Association while studying at Berkeley . And this man is Palestinian as well so as Pro insists that BDS represents Palestinians it really hurts his case. 79 of their members disrupted a holocaust remembrance day and were arrested. Bazian then went on to say "take a look at the type of names on the building around campus — Haas, Zellerbach — and decide who controls this university" .
At this point it should be a foregone conclusion that at the very least BDS is heavily associated with Anti-Semites.
I want to bring up the point I made last round that Pro had a problem with. BDS claims that: “BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice”. It was a rather minor point but I was pointing out the absurdity of this statement. I was showing last round and this round how prevalent human rights violations are in Palestinian territories along with other countries within the region and BDS is coming to tell people that they have a conscience for condemning the one country that Arabs have it best in the region. And yes I think the point still stands. Pro is perhaps correct that they are not explicitly saying I don't have a conscience but there is definitely at least the implication that I don't have the conscience that they have as I said last round.
I gave clear evidence last round that the boycott harms the Palestinian Economy. Pro doesn't dispute the evidence but rather blames Israel and the occupation. While clearly ignoring the reasons behind the occupation, Pro is essentially making a preposterous case that one should harm the Palestinian economy in order to help the Palestinian economy in the future. I also gave evidence that the effects of BDS detract from peace between the Israelis and Palestinians because it stopped them from doing business together in addition to taking away Palestinian jobs and preventing them from getting them in the future. A real peaceful organization would encourage the two to work together and BDS is advocating or at least having an impact on the opposite.
I look forward to your response.
Contention 1: International Law and Human Rights
The Con has failed to respond to this contention and thus we can assume it has been conceded.
Contention 2: South Africa
In my opening arguments in round 2, I cited the boycott against Apartheid South Africa as an example of how boycott and divestment campaigns are successful and effective. While the con does acknowledge this, the con then argues that it is intellectually dishonest to compare Israel to Apartheid South Africa, however, I did not actually make this comparison. Nowhere in Contention 2 did I argue that Israel is like apartheid South Africa. The con does not actually address the actual argument made in this contention, and thus the contention stands.
Contention 3: BDS has already shown success
The Con has failed to respond to this contention and thus we can assume it has been conceded.
The Con argues that BDS is Anti-Semitic because it is against the Jewish state, as compared to any of the neighboring states. While it is true Israel is a Jewish state, the BDS movement targets Israel not because of this, but because of the occupation of Palestine and the violation of international law and UN resolutions, as I noted in round 2.
The Con cites the poor state of Human rights in other Middle Eastern nations, however, this is the same red herring as the Con provided in the previous round. The fact is that Israel is violating international law and UN resolutions and continues to annex larger and large swaths of land from the West Bank through the creation of illegal settlements. By pointing out the problems in other nations, the Con only attempts to distract from the crimes being committed. It is like a bank robber pointing out that there are 15 muggers along 5th avenue and thus the police should release the Bank Robber and go arrest the muggers.
This is not to say that the human rights violations and terrorist acts being committed elsewhere in the middle east do not matter. But to continue the analogy, while the muggers may still be committing crimes, the Bank robber still needs to be addressed, and we have the ability to address the bank robber now.
In addition, it must be noted that the lack of boycotts on nations like Saudi Arabia is not a matter of principle, but a matter of practicality. The main export of Saudi Arabia is petroleum, which is a capital resource, not a consumer product. It should also be noted that there are campaigns that call for divestment from Saudi Arabia. The peace group Code Pink, which supports BDS, has continually called for an end to all arms sales to Saudi Arabia because of their human rights abuses .
The Con then moves on to criticize Hamas, which he states is the Palestinian leadership. This, however, is false. The Palestinian National Authority, which does not actually support BDS, is that actual political leadership of the State of Palestine . The Con cites the Hamas charter as a reason to be opposed to BDS, however, it must first be noted that Hamas is not the only political party in Palestine, and while Hamas is in power in Gaza, the secular, centre-left Fatah is in power in the West Bank and controls the PNA. However due to the occupation, the PNA has effectively no power and only acts as a negotiator on behalf of the Palestinian people. Secondly, it should be noted that the Hamas charter does not actually call for the destruction of Jews worldwide, but only the state of Israel. While it the overall language used is anti-semitic, the claim that it calls for the destruction of Jews is simply false . Third, the leader of Hamas Khaled Mashal has stated that the Hamas Charter is "a piece of history and no longer relevant, but cannot be changed for internal reasons." Lastly, and most importantly, BDS and Hamas are not one in the Same. The Palestinian people and Hamas are not one and the same. The Boycott National Committee is a group made up of organizations representing Palestinian Civil society, and Hamas is not one of these organizations.
The Con then claims that because anti-Semitism is high in the West Bank and Gaza, therefore BDS is anti-semitic. While I did state that the organizations make up the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, more accurately they make up part of the Palestinian struggle as other organizations are involved as well, I did not claim they represent the Palestinian people as a whole, but rather the desire for self-determination.
The con then goes on to cite allegations of people involved in BDS who may be anti-semitic. However this is an example of an association fallacy: because someone associated with BDS was anti-Semitic, the movement as a whole is anti-Semitic. However, this claim does not hold as the organization itself does not promote or support the hatred of or discrimination against Jews.
This is above all the problem with the Con's argument. The con Claims that BDS is anti-Semitic, however as anti-Semitism is defined as the hatred of Jewish people, thus far the Con has not given any evidence to support the claim that BDS promotes hatred of Jewish people or prejudice against Jewish people. Therefore to Say BDS is Anti-Semitic is simply false.
Lastly, the Con again uses a strawman argument concerning a statement from the BDS website which includes the term "people of conscience". This argument is a nonsensical strawman, the basic premise of which is refuted by Contention 1.
The con claims that the BDS harms the economy, and criticizes my response to this argument which cited the Work Bank, which stated that the occupation is harming the Palestinian economy. While the con did provide an anecdote of SodaStream, he does not actually provide any other evidence to why BDS harms the Palestinian economy. The con has not shown how much BDS actually costs the Palestinian economy, and given no data showing a correlation between BDS and economic hardships. Given that the occupation has cost the Palestinian economy $3.4 billion dollars, approximately 35% of its GDP. He also claims his evidence showed Palestinians and Israelis working together, however, the example of SodaStream does not actually show this, rather it shows Israelis employing Palestinians in a factory which was a part of an illegal settlement, built land which once belonged to said, employees. How this example is related to a peace deal the Con has yet to demonstrate.
The fact remains that in order for the Palestinian economy to grow, Israel will need to give up at a minimum 61% of the terrritory in the West Bank which they control . Given that, an end to the occupation is one of the central goals of BDS, it should, therefore, follow that people should support BDS in order to help Palestine gain access to the land it needs to grow its economy.
Wow Pro is quick to respond. Sources are in the comments.
The con notes that his sources are in the comments, however, the rules state that sources must be posted IN THE DEBATE. As the sources were not posted in the debate, the sources should be disregarded as such.
Contention 1: International Law
Contention 3: BDS’s success
Regarding the sources: I attempted to put them in the debate but wasn't able to and Pro's 5th rule indicates that sources can be posted in the comments. I apologize if that inconvenienced Pro or changed anything. I see it as nothing more but an inconvenience to the voters so I apologize to you guys for that.
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