One of the many big lies of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement, and its supporters on campus, is that it wants peace. In fact, it wants war by other means, boycotts of various stripes to destroy Israel.

The YaLa Young Leaders Conference seeks to have youth from around the Middle East talk online as a means of advancing peaceful relations. The YaLa Facebook page has over 450,000 likes. It’s 2013 Annual Report (pdf.) details its activities and student involvement throughout the Middle East:

YaLa Young Leaders 2013 Report members map

Shimon Peres gave a speech at this year’s conference held May 25, 2014. Other speakers were a mixed group, not all of whom (like Desmond Tutu) are considered favorable to Israel:

(More conference videos here)

Maybe it’s a fool’s errand, but at least it’s an attempt to get youth talking to each other.

Which is why it has been attacked since its inception by BDS movement supporters.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is the official international boycott organization. The American Studies Association adheres to its academic boycott guidelines.

PACBI issued a statement calling for a boycott of this year’s YaLa conference, Boycott YaLa-Young Leaders Group and Its Online Normalization Conferences:

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a member of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee (BNC) in Palestine, wishes to clarify that the YaLa – Young Leaders Group is a normalization initiative [1] that conflicts with the BDS guidelines related to the cultural boycott of Israel [2]. The Group intends to hold an online conference on Sunday May 25th [3] in which young people from across the Middle East will take part, in violation of the BDS guidelines….

The BDS movement seeks to reclaim the autonomy and dignity of Palestinians by ensuring that their voices can reach without the political condition of collaborating with Israelis. It views joint struggle between Palestinians and conscientious Israelis on the basis of recognition of Palestinian rights under international law as the only normal mode of working with any Israelis, given the situation of oppression that exists [9].

At a time when the BDS movement is growing around the world, we urge activists not to participate in the activities of this group, particularly its online conference, or promote such joint projects that undermine our common struggle for freedom, justice and equality.

Next time a divestment resolution comes forward on campus, the student body and government need to be reminded that BDS opposes having Israeli and Arab youth talk to each other about peace.

BDS is a war council, and student councils should reject it.


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