Who is Adam Milstein? This powerhouse Israeli-American businessman emigrated to the United States in 1981 in search of a higher education and has been changing the world ever since. After getting an MBA from USC, he went on to be a founding partner of Hagar Pacific Properties and has spent over 35 years in the real estate industry. However, business is not his only passion.
Adam Milstein is also a well-known philanthropist in the Jewish American community. He is a founding member of the Israeli American Council and sits on the board of many different Jewish and Israeli charities, foundations, and organizations. In 2000, Adam and his wife founded the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, which aims to “strengthen the State of Israel, the homeland of the Jewish People, and its special ties with the United States of America; and to ensure the special affinity to the State of Israel of the young and future Jewish generations.” So far, the foundation has supported over 200 pro-Israel and Jewish organizations and taken over 1,000 students to Israel.
Clearly, Adam is passionate about Israel and the Jewish American community, and he works hard to strengthen US and Israeli relations. However, the BDS movement has been growing stronger in campuses across the United States in recent years. The BDS movement stands for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against the state of Israel. Adam Milstein has studied and written extensively on the subject and explains why this movement may be more dangerous than it seems.
A major danger to Jews today is the growing use of antisemitic rhetoric in mainstream media. What was once only said behind closed doors is now being openly announced by the alt-right and the growing radical left. Adam makes it clear that “the mainstreaming of antisemitic leftism – especially on college campuses – threatens not only our way of life in America but the future of the Jewish People around the world. Anti-Zionism is often a politically correct way to advance antisemitism.” Therefore, anti-Zionism should be deemed unacceptable on college campuses across the United States.
At American Universities, anti-Zionism and antisemitism have grown with the BDS movement. Adam Milstein says that at many schools, “antisemitic ideology is now often masquerading in a more politically correct form of anti-Israel hatred.” The BDS movement is allowing dangerous antisemitic rhetoric to make its way into conversations on campus and the mainstream media.
Is the BDS movement dangerous for Jewish students in America? In the past 12 years since it was started in 2005, the BDS movement has had a controversial past. Adam explains in his recent article in the Jerusalem Post that “the BDS groups are organized by professional agitators on campus – most often doctoral students who are paid to stay on campus for decades for the sole purpose of running anti-Israel campaigns and local Student for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapters. They are supported by a national SJP organization with close to 200 chapters, and support organizations flooded with outside and international funds, such as Palestine Legal.” Their power on college campuses is far-reaching.
Adam discusses the rise of antisemitism in America in the Jerusalem Post. Here he connects the BDS movement, which is often supported by and promoted by the Students for Justice in Palestine group, with their leader, Hatem Bazian of Berkeley. In the past, Bazian “called for an armed insurgency or an intifada in the United States, a call to action that was nothing short of inciting violence against the American people.” This call to armed violence is only made possible because of the increasing antisemitism and anti-Israel hatred that the BDS movement and the SJP groups are promoting across campuses nationwide.
Will the boycotts of BDS lead to something more? Adam Milstein points out a troubling parallel. “The BDS movement takes a page from a centuries-old playbook, advocating for boycotts of Israel in the same way that antisemites advanced boycotts of Jewish businesses and programs in Europe throughout the 19th and 20th century. In the US, the same boycotts were advanced by Nazi supporters led by Father Charles Coughlin in the late 1930s.” When will America, and the whole world, look at the BDS movement clearly and learn from the lessons of history?
A third and final reason why the BDS movement may be more dangerous than it seems is that it causes social alienation of Jewish American students on college campuses in the United States. Adam Milstein tells us in no uncertain terms that “college students and young professionals in many circles now face a clear choice: exclusion, or joining anti-Israel and antisemitic campaigns.”
“BDS groups are targeting and harassing Jewish and pro-Israel students on both sides of the political spectrum. Students have a difficult time speaking out against these hate groups for fear of becoming targets. In many cases, BDS has found willing allies among faculty and sometimes in university administrations.” Can a Jewish student be treated and graded fairly by a teacher who supports the BDS movement? Can a Jewish student expect equal treatment and consideration from a university administration that openly detests the student’s homeland and heritage? Social alienation and isolation of Jewish students is a dangerous aspect of the BDS movement and one that can enact serious and unfair consequences on their educations and lives.
The boycott, divest, and sanctions movement is sweeping through the United States and growing on college campuses in America with the aid of the Students for Justice in Palestine Organization. In some cases, even faculty members and university administrations support the anti-Zionist movement, and it is having a serious effect on the Jewish American community.
Opposition to BDS intensifies – been bad few months for BDS supporters. Wisconsin and Florida both passed anti-BDS laws, now 24 states in total have declared BDS as antisemitism with strong bipartisan support. BDS has no place in our society. #BDSFail! https://t.co/ITsjcDFSeq pic.twitter.com/jn7D8bWAmZ
— Adam Milstein (@AdamMilstein) December 16, 2017
The BDS movement is more dangerous than it seems because it is allowing antisemitism to enter mainstream media. It may also incite violence, because it is promoted by the SJP leader who has called for an armed intifada, and because boycotts have often lead to more in the past. Finally, Adam Milstein maintains that the boycott, divest, and sanctions movement is dangerous for the mental health of Jewish students in America because of the social exclusion and isolation that is causes.
The BDS movement is anti-Zionist, anti-Israel, and antisemitic. It is dangerous to the Jewish and Israeli-American communities and should be condemned across the country.