The Jews of the Holocaust were forced to wear a yellow Star of David, as a discriminatory identification technique. The implementation of identifying badges by the German government was just one among several psychological strategies employed to isolate and dehumanize European Jews, explicitly singling them out as inferior. This tactic facilitated their segregation from society, paving the way for ghettoization, and ultimately culminating in the deportation and genocide of six million Jews. The social acceptance of the discriminatory yellow star didn’t grow overnight — it was part of a deliberate effort to dehumanize the Jewish population.

In 1933, German Jews faced economic discrimination through a series of legislative measures and informal practices. Local and regional ordinances in March, led to the enactment of antisemitic legislation in April, including laws targeting Jewish professionals and restricting Jewish access to certain professions and services. Despite government assurances that these laws would only affect the public sector, the “Aryan clause” effectively extended into the private sector. It mandated that firms be “free of Jewish influence” to secure contracts and orders, leading to widespread boycotts and divestment from businesses with Jewish ties. This economic discrimination permeated the private economy and impacted Jewish individuals and businesses across Germany. In 1935, the Nazis enacted the Nuremberg Race Laws targeting Jews in Germany, thereby depriving them of civil rights based on their ethnoreligious identity. Anyone classified as Jewish lost citizenship, voting rights, and government employment.

The dehumanization of Jews, years before they were sent to concentration camps, began through economic and social means. The Nazis advanced their ideologies under the guise of a legitimate public interest. Similarly, the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) organization brands itself as a progressive grassroots movement, yet continuously proves its purpose to be marginalizing the Jewish community through social and economic sanctions. According to NGO Monitor, while BDS relies on “legitimate criticism of Israel,” the rhetoric used in BDS campaigns, and consequential action, explicitly violate a number of precepts of the U.S. State Department Definition of Antisemitism.

This definition of antisemitism includes — “Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, [or] the state of Israel.” BDS personifies this aspect of the definition, as it aims to collectively punish the Jewish community for the actions of the Israeli government under the guise of supposedly progressive values. According to the Anti-Defamation League Website, “[BDS] is an international campaign aimed at delegitimizing and pressuring Israel, through the diplomatic, financial, professional, academic and cultural isolation of Israel, Israeli individuals, Israeli institutions and, increasingly, Jews who support Israel’s right to exist.” BDS has a consistent track record of investing huge resources in ensuring that dialogue and cooperation with pro-Israeli groups are prohibited. If Binghamton’s administration allows this to escalate, it will result in the discriminatory collective punishment of Jewish students and organizations for the actions of the Israeli government.

The definition also includes — “justifying the killing or harming of Jews.” On Oct. 7, in response to the largest mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust, the BDS Movement published a statement framing this atrocity as a “powerful armed reaction.”

Furthermore, BDS and its advocates consistently invoke antisemitic Holocaust comparisons, that undermine the memories of the 6 million Jews murdered for being Jewish. For example — a BDS-affiliated group, The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, claimed in a Twitter post that they were displaying a photo where a massacre took place in 1948, but a Holocaust expert proved it was actually a Nazi concentration camp in Germany. Intentionally fabricating propaganda using photos of Jewish trauma, especially when villainizing the Jewish state, is antisemitic and morally repugnant.

A fact that many BDS advocates resist acknowledging is that “88 [percent] of Jewish voters self-identify as pro-Israel, and a majority of Jewish voters are critical of at least some of the current Israeli government’s policies,” according to a 2020 national survey of Jewish voters. Targeting Jewish organizations and individuals simply because the majority of Jews believe in the Jewish right to self-determination in our ancestral homeland is immoral, illegal and unproductive for the Palestinian cause. This is exactly what BDS’s real mission is.

It’s no coincidence that increased BDS presence on campuses has occurred simultaneously with an unprecedented rise in college antisemitism. According to the Anti-Defamation League Website, “In the aftermath of the Oct. 7, 2023 attack on Israel, we have seen an unprecedented increase of antisemitic incidents, including violent assaults, intimidation and harassment against Jewish students by their peers.” Columbia University successfully passed a divestment resolution in a referendum introduced back in March, and now my Jewish friends there are facing immense antisemitism, including being physically blocked from entering campus. The situation is so dire that the community Rabbi encouraged students to “return home as soon as possible and remain home until the reality in and around campus has dramatically improved.”

Regardless of one’s stance on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, we must collectively recognize BDS as the divisive, manipulative, dishonest and hateful organization that it is. As the descendant of generations of Jews who were persecuted for their Jewish identity, I am begging you not to let the same happen to me.

Atara Globus is a guest columnist and a senior majoring in political science. 

Views expressed in the opinions pages represent the opinions of the columnists. The only piece that represents the views of the Pipe Dream Editorial Board is the Staff Editorial.