In Face of BDS Challenge, 'Teach About the Israel You Know and Love'

We all had favorite books as kids – Harry Potter, the Berenstein Bears. They stay with us because we relate to the characters.

Making Israel’s story relatable – putting a human face on it – is the best way to advocate to those who may be inclined to buy in to delegitimization campaigns, said Noam Gilboord of the Israel Action Network during a presentation at the JCC on Aug. 21.

 “Humans are hard-wired to remember stories, so what we have to try and do is tell Israel’s story,” Gilboord told the more than 70 people in attendance. 

Gilboord’s talk focused on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, a global network of individuals and organizations who aim to isolate Israel politically, economically and culturally. Their overall objective is to challenge Israel’s right to exist as the sovereign homeland of the Jewish people. 

Like any political campaign, the BDS Movement has tried to tailor its extreme message as far into the center as possible, Gilboord said. “That risks the funding every year to Israel, that risks American support in general to Israel, and that’s really dangerous,” he said.

The best thing we can do to combat BDS, he said, is teach people “about the Israel you know and the Israel you love from a very personal perspective.” 

But the way to do this is not by maintaining Israel is perfect, or by demonizing the Palestinians. It is important to show you are open-minded and ready to have a conversation, he said.

The event was sponsored by the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley.

To learn more, about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement,  visit



Add Comment