The BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement is a campaign started by the Palestinian BDS National Committee. Its primary stated goal is to put economic pressure on Israel to oblige it to respect the human rights of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs by targeting Israeli companies, but it has also been characterized as hostile to Israel or even anti-Semitic by its opponents.

Most news stories, along with their own interviews, seem to indicate that they only want sanctions against Israel. That said, the United States has supported Israel economically to a significant extent. In 2017, for instance, Israel received the third-most money in foreign aid from the USA, behind only Iraq and Afghanistan, in which the US was fighting ongoing wars.

Further, it seems at least plausible that the BDS movement would view some US military actions in the Middle East, such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, drone campaigns that have involved many civilian casualities, or the strike against the Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, as being similar to Israel's actions in Palestine.

Have any major organizations associated with the BDS movement, particularly the original Palestinian committee, called for similar actions against the United States? Have they provided a justification for why or why not?

3 Answers 3


Does the BDS movement support sanctions against the United States?
Have any major organizations associated with the BDS movement, particularly the original Palestinian committee, called for similar actions against the United States?
Have they provided a justification for why or why not?

Only Israel is the object of BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions), see emboldened paragraph below for the why.

From the BDS FAQs,

Doesn’t BDS single out Israel? Why not boycott North Korea or the US?

BDS is a strategy of popular resistance and the most effective strategy of international solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for rights. It is not an ideology or a dogma that can be helpful in all circumstances of injustice.

BDS is a Palestinian-led movement. It is only logical that Palestinians and those who stand in solidarity with their struggle orient their struggle towards Israel, the party that denies Palestinians their freedom, and not towards North Korea, for example. The South African liberation movement also targeted the regime of oppression that they lived under, naturally, not the one in Cambodia or Honduras at the time.

Palestinians are choosing to use and calling for the tactic of BDS to hold Israel to account because it is necessary, morally consistent and effective.

The BDS movement challenges the way in which Israel is singled out for unprecedented support from the international community. Western governments in particular shield Israel from being held to account for its war crimes against Palestinians, allowing it to continue its colonial project without facing consequences. The BDS movement is working to end this exceptionalism and calls for Israel to be held to account according to the standards of international law.

As the South African anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu once said, the west places Israel “on a pedestal,” above international law and above criticism. BDS aims to take Israel off that pedestal to be held accountable for its violations of international law.

  • 1
    Good job on finding their reasoning. I notice that they bring up the US in the question part of the FAQ, but only directly mention North Korea in the answer, thus conspicuously not providing their reasoning for the United States. But that does not detract from your answer. They also seem to indirectly admit that they do specifically target Israel for reasons other than its actions by arguing that it is placed "upon a pedestal," but that may be simply my interpretation
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 1:12
  • 8
    Frankly, the downvotes surprise me. How can anyone view this as a question not worth asking when the organization itself has seen fit to address it? This position cannot be too easy to find, either, since the other answerer seemingly did not find it.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 1:17
  • 5
    @Obie2.0 you ask any question that’s charged, and you’re going to get downvotes from partisans. Cant be helped sadly Commented May 18, 2021 at 12:11


The movement states that "Palestinian Civil Society Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights" (source)

The USA is not Israel

The BDS movement does not call for for boycott divestment and sanctions against the USA.

This does not mean that there is no person in the BDS movement (in its most general sense) who calls for such sanctions.

I make no speculation as to the reasons why or why not.


Because it's non-viable when many of its supporters live in America, and it's trying to convince Americans to terminate support of Israel.

The fundamental goal of the BDS movement is to convince the American government to stop supporting Israel by starting an anti-Israeli grassroots movement, and many of its supporters are themselves Americans (usually on the Left wing of politics).

Naturally, if they tried to convince Americans to stop buying American products, it would be a massive failure. I mean, how are you supposed to avoid buying American products when you literally live in America? Are you supposed to hole up in your house and refuse to go to the grocery store until you starve to death? Are you supposed to refuse to make rent or mortgage payments until you get kicked out onto the street?

Furthermore, many people who support Israel in America are conservative Evangelical Christians, who support Israel for religious reasons related to the fulfillment of prophecies about the Second Coming of Jesus; if the BDS movement were to adopt anti-American rhetoric along with its existing anti-Israeli rhetoric, it would give these individuals on the Right wing of politics an additional vector to condemn and oppose them.

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