BDS: The Movement That Keeps Getting It Wrong

From Europe Israel Public Affairs

BDS: The Movement That Keeps Getting It Wrong

We are all familiar with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, whose campaign was started on July 9, 2005, when 171 Palestinian non- governmental organizations in support of the Palestinian cause called for boycott, divestment and international sanctions against Israel.

The campaign spread like a wildfire, mainly amongst left-leaning groups worldwide, and pro-Palestinian student groups on campus. In the few short years they have existed, they have successfully managed to make it into the political lexicon, and are a persistent headache to the state of Israel and its supporters.

But how effective is this movement, and are they doing the Palestinian people on whose behalf they profess to act any favors? There’s no doubt they have a successful media department, but what about their tactics? Do they tangibly achieve their aims? As a pro-Israel advocacy group, we thought it might be useful to share with you some recent news about BDS, that you, as a friend of ours and of Israel’s, might be interested in. Think of this update as your Nurofen to the BDS headache.

SodaStream reluctantly lays off the last of its Palestinian 74 workers

Proponents of BDS purport to act in the interests of Palestinians, specifically their quest for independence. It is doubtful that the hundreds of unemployed former Palestinian workers of SodaStream see it that way.

On Monday, SodaStream reluctantly announced it was laying off its last 75 Palestinian workers, most of whom were in tears. The factory was closing after repeated pressure from the BDS movement. SodaStream just moved the factory to the south of Israel in a place called Rahat. At the factory in Mishor Adumim – in territory past the 1967 green line – day after unremarkable day, year after year enabled stereotypes were broken down without anybody even noticing. It had 1,300 workers. Of that workforce, 350 were Israeli Jews, 450 were Israeli Arabs and 500 were West Bank Palestinians. Management and staff confirmed that pay and benefits were identical for workers in comparable jobs, irrespective of their citizenship and ethnicity.

Jews and Arabs were working together, were treated equally, were able to support their families honorably. The factory held the promise of a better future for both sides. Who knows what other, similarly minded ventures it could have inspired? Now it is shuttered.

And as of Monday, all of its Palestinian employees are out of work. What a challenge now, for them, to feed their families, to keep their children safe and prevent them from succumbing to the prevailing hatreds. Well done, BDS campaign. A great victory for Palestine. A great step forward on the way to… what, exactly?

Read more here.

Shimon Peres Won’t Be Bullied

Shimon Peres has seen it all. At 92 he has been president, twice prime minister, came to the country as a child in 1932 from Poland, lived through the 48, 67 and 73 wars, both intifadas, and had numerous attempts on his life.

So when the BDS movement were threatening him with arrest for “war crimes” if he set foot on South African soil where he was due to speak to the South African-Jewish community’s gala Salute to Israel on Sunday night, what do you think he did? Well, he hopped on a plane and arrived in Johannesburg Thursday night.

Sunday evening supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which is very active in South Africa, staged a protest demonstration outside the Intercontinental Hotel where Peres was staying and where the gala was held.

Thanks to the heavy police presence, efforts to disrupt the Salute to Israel were thwarted.

Peres, who was the keynote speaker at the event, declared in his opening remarks: “No threat or attempt to harm us or the state of Israel will prevent me from standing on this stage here in South Africa and to fight the just war of the state of Israel.”

Peres insisted that there is not a single word in Israeli law that discriminates against people for reasons of creed, color, ethnicity or nationality.

“Apartheid was racism,” he said, “and in Israel, racism is a crime.”

Another failure chalked up by the BDS movement in their attempts to harass and intimidate. This time a 92-year-old elder statesman.

Read more here.

Paris, London and Canada Outlaw BDS Activities

Israeli Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein in a stern rebuke to the BDS movement said Israel cannot “leave Britain as hostages of BDS and all these small and vocal groups” ahead of his upcoming address before the British parliament Wednesday.

Edelstein will speak with members of the House of Lords and House of Commons at an event organized by the British Inter-Parliamentary Union and thereby will become the first Israeli Knesset speaker to speak before the British parliament.

Matthew Hancock, the British Government’s Cabinet Office minister, said on a recent visit to Israel that BDS tactics and activities were divisive, potentially damaging to the UK’s relationship with Israel and risked fueling anti-Semitism.

The UK government is bringing in guidance that will prevent any public body from imposing a boycott on a member of the World Trade Organization, to which Israel belongs.

Meanwhile, in Canada a motion formally condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel was recently passed.

The motion passed Monday in a 229-51 vote. Introduced by members of the opposition Conservative Party, the motion won support from the ruling Liberal Party as well.

It calls on the Canadian Government to “condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.”

Lastly, in Paris the municipal council passed resolutions condemning attempts to boycott Israel, which are illegal in France.

One of the resolutions said the City of Paris “opposes publicly all attempts to isolate Israel from the collective of nations,” and also reaffirmed the city’s “commitment to the promotion of a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israel conflict.”

More here, here and here.