Anti-Israel Hostility Pervades Penn BDS Conference » ADL Blogs
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February 10, 2012

Anti-Israel Hostility Pervades Penn BDS Conference

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) conference held at the University of Pennsylvania last weekend featured speakers representing a wide range of strategies used to delegitimize Israel. As expected, many of the speakers promoted mistruths and biased narratives of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and offered strategies on how to advance BDS initiatives and to further delegitimize Israel.


Several of the anti-Israel activists who headlined the Penn BDS conference are scheduled to next month’s One-State “Solution” Conference at Harvard, including Ali Abunimah, Dalit Baum and Sarah Schulman.
Below is a sampling of statements made at the Penn conference:
  • Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, claimed that Israel is governed by an “extremist ideology” and that it is a “racist oppressor” and an “apartheid state.” Barghouti also made reference to the disproportionate role “Israel’s lobby groups” play in the U.S., adding that “it is crucial to reveal how Israel is right at the center of the 1% agenda,” referring to the Occupy Wall Street movement. 
  • Ali Abunimah, the founder and executive director of “Electronic Intifada,” an anti-Israel Web site,  reportedly said, “Nakba denial is the equivalent of Holocaust denial.”
  • Professor Amy Kaplan, professor in the English department at the University of Pennsylvania, offered suggestions in a Q&A session on how BDS could be integrated into the classroom. According to an audio recording of her response, Kaplan said, “you take a thematic course and you bring in themes from this issue [BDS], and literature is really a great way to teach students about what’s going on.”