Pro-Israel activists have expressed contempt of the Nobel Peace Prize after the BDS movement received a nomination, pointing to the fact that late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat received the award in 1994.
The leader of the Red Party in the Norwegian Parliament, Bjornar Moxnes, nominated the International BDS movement on Friday, stating: “As a member of the Norwegian parliament, I proudly use my authority as an elected official to nominate the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights for the Nobel Peace Prize.”
“Awarding a Nobel Peace Prize to the BDS movement would be a powerful sign demonstrating that the international community is committed to supporting a just peace in the Middle East and using peaceful means to end military rule and broader violations of international law," Moxnes wrote in a statement published by Inter Press Service news agency.
Many pro-Israel activists took to social media to express their disdain of the nomination.
"The BDS movement is an anti-peace movement, they made this very clear over and over again," Israeli activist Hen Mazzig told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. "They are 'anti-normalization' of the relationship between Jews and Arabs and actively pushing Palestinians and Israelis to fight each other."
On Monday, Mazzig debated Rebecca Vilkomerson, the Executive Director of the far-left organization Jewish Voice for Peace on i24 News.
Jewish Voice for Peace is reportedly among some 20 organizations on a blacklist Israel is compiling as part of its ban on BDS activists.
The US-organization tweeted that the nomination was “wonderful news.”
Vilkomerson said told i24 News that it was important to support the BDS movement because "it is a non-violent movement that's called for and by Palestinians to end the occupation and for the full rights of Palestinian people so given that we certainly don't want violence, and I think we all agree on that, a non-violent alternative is something we should all be supporting."
Mazzig disagreed with this description of the BDS movement, telling the Post: "It's the epitome of colonialism repackaged for 2018; Europeans push middle eastern people to fight each other in a campaign to never solve this conflict.”
"They fear dialogue, they fear Israeli and Palestinians working together and the only ones that are hurt by it are Israelis and Palestinians,” he continued. “Palestinians that lose their jobs, their living for this campaign. It’s no surprise that a Norwegian politician will nominate them, Yasser Arafat was the laureate of Nobel Peace Prize and the BDS movement is nothing short of Arafat’s agenda- a racist deadly campaign that will continue attacking Israelis even if it hurts Palestinians."
Arsen Ostrovsky, Executive Director of The Israeli-Jewish Congress (IJC) and an international human rights lawyer, told the Post that the nomination “makes a complete mockery of human rights and pursuit of peace, which this Prize was created to reward. But then again, the Nobel Committee does have a track record of rewarding Palestinian violence, such as when Arafat was given the Prize.”
Ostrovsky also pointed out that there is a long way between nomination and approval, even for the short list, with the majority of names that are thrown into the hat being cut. The Nobel Committee is due to publish a shortlist of nominees in September.
This is the not the first time that the movement has been nominated for a peace award. In April, Vilkomerson presented BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti with the Gandhi Peace Award at an event co-sponsored by the Yale chapter of the Students for Justice in Palestine group.