REPORT: BDS movement is the 'brainchild of the progressive left…and academia'

The National Association of Scholars recently published a report examining the historical and financial development of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement on college campuses.

Report author Ian Oxnevad explains that BDS is the “brainchild of the progressive left…and academia.”

Ian Oxnevad from the National Association of Scholars told Campus Reform that the “biggest source” of anti-Semitism in American culture is the progressive left, and in particular leftist academia.

Oxnevad is a Program Research Associate with the National Association of Scholars (NAS), which recently published an extensive report on the history, financial connections, and current campus presence of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement.

Campus Reform previously covered how pro-BDS activists targeted the event announcing the publication of Oxnevad’s report by signing up over 150 fake attendee names to prevent legitimate patrons from attending.

[RELATED: University ignored anti-Semitism on its campus, Dept of Ed. investigation finds]

The report details the complex organizational history of the BDS movement from its origins in the early 2000s to the present day. It explains how BDS is intimately connected with a variety of progressive leftist organizations at the national and international levels.

“BDS specifically comes from academia,” Oxnevad explained. “It gives the impression that it’s just a sort of organic, spontaneous thing [but] it’s not.”

Oxnevad describes the BDS movement as “a brainchild of the progressive left and…academia.”

Although the main objective of the BDS movement is to encourage higher education institutions to entirely disassociate themselves with the state of Israel, Oxnevad highlights in the report that the real success of BDS is its diffusion of anti-Semitic sentiment.

“Whereas BDS largely fails at convincing colleges to divest institutional portfolios from companies deemed to be associated with Israel,” Oxnevad writes, “it is successful in fostering a politicized and hostile campus climate and influencing broader political discourse.”

Contributing to the wider political success of BDS is the tactic of connecting the condemnation of Israel to intersectional identity politics. In this way, groups that have nothing to do with Israeli-Palestinian relations find solidarity in the cause because of their shared socialist sympathies.

“This coalition of pro-BDS organizations collaborating with [Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)] unites around the political logic of critical theory that predominates in the modern university, and is based around a worldview comprising oppressors and the oppressed,” Oxnevad writes. “Due to the largely successful attempts of pro-Palestinian groups to portray Israel as a neo-colonial project akin to Apartheid-era South Africa, many campus groups align with SJP.”

As Oxnevad told Campus Reform, the ties between BDS and the progressive left become clearer when put in the context of the depth of ideological capture of American academic institutions.

[RELATED: Michigan State releases diversity report promoting anti-Semites and communists]

Oxnevad describes academia as “the epicenter of the progressive left.”

When asked to what extent leftist academia is responsible for the current rise in anti-Semitism across American culture, Oxnevad noted that the cultural diffusive power of academia could be observed in a variety of political topics.

“All the muddy crazy policies that you’re seeing playing out, everything from ‘the debt doesn’t matter’ to ‘we need to open the border’ … all those come from ideas on campus,” Oxnevad contends. “If you control education, which [the left does], and you inject…ideological training over any other thing, which they do, that’s going to make it manifest itself everywhere.”

“People need to know that academia is not an innocuous place,” Oxnevad emphasized. “[Academia] is the epicenter for just about everything bad that you’re seeing going on right now.”

Follow Gabrielle M. Etzel on Twitter.