Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor

David Shneer

Second Advisor

Brian A. Catlos

Third Advisor

Liora Halperin

Fourth Advisor

Elias Sacks


This thesis argues that activists in the Palestinian and international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement use three rhetorical strategies to claim moral legitimacy for the movement and to mobilize a non-Palestinian audience to support the movement by enacting boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. These are: 1) That the history of BDS is rooted within a local history of grassroots Palestinian nonviolent resistance and is a reflection of the will of the Palestinian people; 2) That BDS is part of a genealogy of movements worldwide which have successfully used similar nonviolent tactics to achieve their goals; 3) That BDS is legitimized and justified in its demand for the use of the nonviolent tactics of boycott, divestment, and sanctions because states and state organizations have failed to respond to Israel’s consistent violation of international law and human rights, both for Palestinians as well as for all of humanity.

Included in

Rhetoric Commons