Conference of Presidents combats BDS by working to restart global task force

A Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) protest against Israel in Melbourne, Australia, on June 5, 2010. Credit: Mohamed Ouda via Wikimedia Commons.

( The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is working on restarting a global task force to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Media mogul Mort Zuckerman, a former Conference of Presidents chairman, headed the umbrella group’s previous Task Force on Delegitimization and BDS.

“We first established this several years ago and more than 60 organizations participated in it. When we first did it, nobody was really focused on the [BDS] issue,” Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents, told

While the American Studies Association (ASA) made waves through its recent decision to endorse an academic boycott of Israel, Hoenlein said the restarting of the task force has been planned for some time and is not just a response to the ASA move.

“We felt now it is time to revitalize it since there are a lot of groups, not just the ASA, that are increasingly involved [in BDS],” he said.

Hoenlein said he has received a “great response” from Jewish organizations and leaders about the task force, and that the Conference of Presidents is planning a January meeting in Israel on this issue for leaders from around the world. He said the task force “will be made up of people who are really engaged, and we will supplement it with experts who are involved in [these] issues.”

“This issue is impossible for one organization to take on, but if all the organizations can take part, we feel we can be successful,” Hoenlein said.

Posted on December 23, 2013 .