Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is the name given to a campaign against Israel launched in 2005 that seeks to influence policy using similar means to those deployed against South Africa in the 1980s. The BDS campaign has two main focuses: an economic and an academic boycott.
As a pro-Israel organisation, Yachad believes Israel should be allowed to thrive. Whilst we are opposed to the ongoing occupation, and do not support new investment inside the Israeli controlled West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, we are also opposed to a policy of isolation. Shared prosperity is the corner stone for long-term peace. We believe that attempting to achieve policy aims, by harming the economy of Israel and consequently neighbouring states with which it has economic ties, will reduce the chances of implementing a viable long-term solution in the region.
Using boycott as a policy tool also implies that the solution to the conflict can be imposed externally without a genuine negotiations process and that the responsibility for achieving peace in the region lies solely with Israel. Only a common drive on both sides towards finding a solution will result in a viable settlement.
We stand against the academic boycott of academics and academic institutions, including that of Ariel College in the West Bank. As a pro-democracy organisation that is attempting to foster debate a discussion, we support freedom of speech, and the silencing of academic voices, whether praising or critical of Israel, runs counter to this notion. Furthermore silencing of these voices is hugely unhelpful in advancing a lasting peace in the region.