NEW YORK -- In response to the Washington Post column by Steven Levitsky and Glen Weyl, published on October 23, American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen issued the following statement:
“We at the American Jewish Congress were greatly dismayed by the construct set forth by the article, entitled: ‘We are lifelong Zionists. Here’s why we’ve chosen to boycott Israel.’
In this piece, Mr. Levitsky and Mr. Weyl argue that the only way that Israel can secure permanent statehood and universal respect is to remove their presence from Palestinian territory. They do not, however, recognize wrongdoing by Palestinians or mention the historical context of the situation. They do not mention multiple instances in which Palestinian leaders refused to sign peace agreements with Israel, nor do they mention the most recent incitement of violence by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Mr Levitsky and Mr. Weyl go on to assert that the best thing that supporters of Israel, and American Jews in particular, can do to help Israel in the long-run, is to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. They posit that only by cutting off American aid and foreign investment in Israel will the Israeli government withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza, which, they argue, is the in the best interest of everyone. They fail to recognize the real aim of the leaders of the BDS movement, which is to delegitimize the State of Israel.
It seems counterintuitive that supporting this movement will help Israel in any feasible way, or that it could secure peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The BDS movement directly undermines our ability to achieve tolerance and understanding among Israelis and Palestinians.
For self-proclaimed Zionists to encourage other Jews to turn their backs on Israel is a departure from the tenets of Zionism altogether. It is a travesty that such a dangerous conclusion could be built on such false premises.”