Over half of U.S. students exposed to BDS, support boycotting Israel, survey

Foreign Ministry survey shows half of American students asked, agree with boycott movement and base their criticism of Israel on moral arguments while supporters mention Israel's democracy as a reason they view the country as an asset
Itamar Eichner|
More than half of U.S students exposed to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement's calls to boycott Israel - support the group, a Foreign Ministry survey conducted on campuses, released on Wednesday showed.
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  • The Foreign Ministry conducted its survey among American students after BDS was found to have reached more than half of the student body on U.S. campuses.
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    עידן רול סגן שר החוץ בביקור באונירסיטת USC בלוס אנג'לס
    עידן רול סגן שר החוץ בביקור באונירסיטת USC בלוס אנג'לס
    Foreign Ministry Deputy Idan Roll speaks at the University of Southern California
    Support for a boycott of Israel was heard from students who have an interest in politics, and relatively high support was found among private school students and people aged 30 or older.
    The findings alarmed Israeli officials and indicated that the BDS movement has considerable influence on campuses.
    The survey also showed that 48% of the students in the United States support Israel and believe it is an asset.
    3 View gallery
    פעילי BDS תקפו נכי צהל שהירצו בקמפוס בארה"ב
    פעילי BDS תקפו נכי צהל שהירצו בקמפוס בארה"ב
    BDS activist
    The survey which was commissioned by the Foreign Ministry and conducted earlier this month, was part of an efforts to increase support for Israel in the United States, among different age groups.
    50% of students reported they viewed Israel positively compared to 36% who said they did not have a positive view of the country. The data indicated there is more support among American Republicans polled than among those who identify as Democrats or people who claim to have little interest in politics.
    Older Americans are found to be more likely to see Israel in a positive light and men more so than women, according to the survey.
    Among university students in general, support for Israel is lower than in the general, over 18 population.
    The Foreign Ministry officials said the data is not all bad because students tend to be more extreme in their political views.
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    A BDS Tshirt
    A BDS Tshirt
    A BDS Tshirt
    (Photo: AFP)
    They said the students were more critical of Israel based on moral arguments and liberal views, rather than on the country's economic and technical successes.
    The older people polled named Israel's technological superiority and the fact that it was the only democracy in the Middle East as reasons for their support.
    The conductors of the survey assumed that paradoxically students believe that by boycotting Israel, it would be more likely to change policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    Those who said they supported Israel, also hoped for a different position towards Palestinians.
    The ministry said their findings showed more and more pro-Israeli Jewish students said they were afraid to speak out on campuses.
    They experienced discrimination by those who oppose Israel and take over public space, sometimes using coercion, the ministry said.
    There is a lot of fake news, especially in times of conflict in Israel, and that's what feeds the BDS and provides a reason to support the boycott and the movement, the officials said.
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