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BDS: In Their Own Words

BDS proponents often present their case to students in terms of peace and justice; however, this masks the real agenda of seeking to destroy Israel rather than simply improve the lives of Palestinians and help them achieve independence. The true aims of BDS become clearer when the views of the movement’s leaders are examined. As the examples below demonstrate, they oppose a two-state solution or any other resolution to the conflict that would recognize the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their homeland.  

“Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish state itself…BDS does mean the end of the Jewish state. But can’t I see the value in reaching across the aisle, so to speak? The movement may be burgeoning but remains too small. Why shouldn’t we indulge in ad hoc partnerships to get things done? Richard Silverstein, Richard Goldstone, and many other self-proclaimed Zionists have done an immeasurably positive amount of work in skinning the Zionist cat (That’s a deliberate analogy. I don’t kid myself about how difficult it must be for a Jewish person to criticize the Zionist state), shouldn’t they be asked to join the BDS movement?

To be sure, I’m not dogmatically against cooperating with people whose views I find objectionable. If it came down to it, I’d be happy to work with the racist up the street to get the city to fix a neighborhood pothole.”

-Ahmed Moor,
Pro-BDS Author


“BDS represents three words that will help bring about the defeat of Zionist Israel and victory for Palestine.”

Ronnie Kasrils


“[Israel] was Palestine, and there is no reason why it should not be renamed Palestine.”

Omar Barghouti, Founder, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

“If the refugees return to their homes [in Israel] as the BDS movement calls for, if we bring an end to Israel’s apartheid regime and if we end the occupation on lands occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, what will be left of the Zionist regime? That’s the question. Meaning, what will the two states be based on?”

“International law and the right of return? There won’t be any Zionist state like the one we speak about [in present-day Israel]. There will be two states: One democratic for all its citizens here [Palestine] and one democratic for all its citizens there [Israel]. “The Palestinian minority will become a Palestinian majority of what is today called Israel.”

–Omar Barghouti, Gazan Voice podcast, (May 21, 2020)

“Definitely, most definitely, we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell out Palestinian, would ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”

Omar Barghouti, (May 26, 2014)

“[Palestinians have a right to] resistance by any means, including armed resistance. [Jews] aren’t indigenous just because you say you are….”

Omar Barghouti (January 15, 2014)

“Going back to the two-state solution, besides having passed its expiry date, it was never a moral solution to start with.We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it, for Zionism is intent on killing itself.”

-Omar Bargouti

“Good riddance! The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is finally dead. But someone has to issue an official death certificate before the rotting corpse is given a proper burial and we can all move on and explore the more just, moral and therefore enduring alternative for peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Mandate Palestine: the one-state solution.”

-Omar Bargouti

“(The one state solution means) a unitary state, where, by definition, Jews will be a minority.”

-Omar Bargouti

“I am completely and categorically against binationalism because it assumes that there are two nations with equal moral claims to the land.”

-Omar Bargouti

“If the refugees were to return, you would not have a two-state solution, you’d have a Palestine next to a Palestine.”

Omar Barghouti quoting Sari Nusseibeh, President of Al Quds University. You can also hear him say this around 4:56 of this video.

“The ‘two state solution,’…as dictated by Israel, omits basic Palestinian rights…[and] would be yet another act of British complicity in bestowing legitimacy on Israel’s unjust order.”

Omar Barghouti

“A Jewish state in Palestine in any shape or form cannot but contravene the basic rights of the indigenous Palestinian population and perpetuate a system of racial discrimination that ought to be opposed categorically….Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”

Omar Barghouti 

“You cannot reconcile the right of return for refugees with a two state solution….a return for refugees would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. A two-state solution was never moral and it’s no longer working.”

-Omar Barghouti

“[Jews] did not suffer in Arab countries. There were no pogroms. There was no persecution.”

Omar Barghouti

“The BDS movement was launched because of the ongoing failure to protect the rights of the Palestinian people. Some of these rights were frittered away: The Right of Return is in danger, the right of our people to the 1948 lands is in danger, and even the right of our people to the 1967 lands. Some of these rights are ignored. The BDS movement was created in 2005, in order to focus on the elimination of the occupation, on the elimination of the system of racial segregation – the Israeli apartheid – and on the right of the refugees to return to the homes from which they were expelled.”

Omar Barghouthi

“I clearly do not buy into the two-state solution.”

Omar Barghouti

“If Israel finds a cure for cancer, for example, or any other virus, then there is no problem in cooperating with Israel to save millions of lives.”

Omar Barghouti

“The real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel….That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.”

As’ad AbuKhalil


“Peace-or better yet, justice-cannot be achieved without a total decolonization (one can say de-Zionization) of the Israeli state.”

Michael Warschawski, BDS activist


“I think the BDS movement will gain strength from forthrightly explaining why Israel has no right to exist.”

John Spritzler, Pro-BDS Author

“BDS’s stated goals (ending the Occupation, equality for non-Jews and Jews, and the right of return of the Palestinian refugees) logically imply the end of Israel as a Jewish state….The “state of the Jews” is actually an instrument by which a Jewish elite ruling class of billionaires and generals and politicians secures its oppressive grip on ordinary Jews in Israel…This is why there should not be a Jewish state.”

John Spritzler

“I mean we have to be honest, and I loathe the disingenuousness. They don’t want Israel. They think they are being very clever; they call it their three tier. We want the end of the occupation, the right of return, and we want equal rights for Arabs in Israel. And they think they are very clever because they know the result of implementing all three is what, what is the result? You know and I know what the result is. There’s no Israel!

“They say no they’re not really talking about rights. They’re talking about they want to destroy Israel. And in fact I think they’re right I think that’s true. I’m not going to lie. But this kind of duplicity and disingenuous, “oh we’re agnostic about Israel.” No you’re not agnostic! You don’t want it! Then just say it!

“The moment you go out there Israel will start to say ‘What about us?’ and ‘They won’t recognize our right’ and in fact that’s correct. You can’t answer the Israelis on that because they’re making a statement that’s factually correct. It’s not an accidental and unwitting omission that BDS does not mention Israel. You know that and I know that. It’s not like they’re ‘oh we forgot to mention it.’ They won’t mention it because they know it will split the movement. Cause there’s a large segment of the movement that wants to eliminate Israel.”

Norman Finkelstein critiquing the BDS movement

“There’s no Israel. That’s what it’s really about.”

Norman Finkelstein

“Our corporation boycotts all Israeli products and services, and encourages other institutions, companies and individuals to cease and avoid all economic, academic and cultural activity that supports the racist state of Israel until that state dissolves itself.”

Paul Larudee, Co-founder, Free Palestine Movement

“Israel is the oppressor, not the settlements.”

-Hind Awwad
National Coordinator, BDS Committee

“The goal of #BDS is the full restoration of Palestinian rights, not an agreement to create an artificial mini-state in order to save Zionism”

Ali Abunimah, BDS activist

“Zionists complain [BDS] demands spell the end of the “Jewish state.” They are correct. A “Jewish state” is by definition dedicated to the supremacy of Jews over non-Jews in Palestine, and is therefore irreconcilable with the justice advocated by BDS.”

David Litwin, BDS activist

“Any call for boycott, divestment, or sanctions, for whatever motive (even on behalf of the settlers!) is seen, rightly, as a blow against the legitimacy of Israel… it will be rightly perceived by the pro-Israel crowd as  a threat, even an “existential one,” to use Prime Minister Netanyahu’s characterization of all  BDS.”

Jeremiah Haber, BDS supporter

“[The two state solution] was a charade to begin with, and has played itself out.”

Kumars Salehi, BDS supporter


“Bringing down Israel will really benefit everyone in the world and everyone in society, particularly workers,”

Lara Kiswani, executive director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, BDS activist

“I think the end-all of BDS is to weaken Israel, to isolate Israel, and give the global community a role in the liberation of Palestine and support the resistance on the ground in Palestine.”

Lara Kiswani

“We’re resisting colonialism in Palestine, and colonialism entails all of occupied Palestine, from Haifa, to Jerusalem, to Ramallah…”

Lara Kiswani, [0:45]


“You can’t have coexistence with Zionists. Their purpose of Zionism is discrimination, elimination and ethnic cleansing of a group of people, so if you want to talk about coexistence, I’m not talking with you because you’re going to try to kill me. I’m Muslim.”

Azka Fayyaz, BDS leader at UC Davis


“Last week, the Palestinian BDS National Committee called for a wave of actions and protests in solidarity with the Palestinian popular resistance…”

BDS Movement Official Statement


“Are you angry? Well, we’ve been watching intifada in Palestine, we’ve been watching an uprising in Iraq, and the question is that what are we doing? How come we don’t have an intifada [armed struggle] in this country? …and it’s about time that we have an intifada in this country that change[s] fundamentally the political dynamics in here…They’re going to say [that] some Palestinian are being too radical; well, you haven’t seen radicalism yet!”

Professor Hatem Bazian, founder of Students for Justice in Palestine

“[W]e in this movement [should] support the resistance against American imperialism by any means necessary.”

Professor Hatem Bazian


“We can build a still-stronger BDS movement beginning in the name of Palestinian freedom and ending in a permanent blow against American empire.”

Bill Mullen


“Boycotting Israel IS anti-Israel, which is fine, as long as Israel continues to violate and deny Palestinian rights.”

Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director, Campaign for Palestinian Rights

*An earlier version of this page incorrectly cited Anna Baltzer as saying, "We need to wipe out Israel."