Fighting BDS – Are Boycotts More Talk than Action?February 9, 2014 16:41 by Alex Margolin
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Today’s Top BDS Stories:
1.Are boycotts more talk than action? That’s the question posed by David Rosenberg of Haaretz, who finds that everyone, left and right, seems to have a stake in claiming the boycott threat is bigger than it actually is.
What is really occurring in a heavy dose of journalistic laziness together with headline-grabbing by a boycott, divestment and sanctions movement happy (or, perhaps, desperate) to piggyback on some free publicity. Politicians on the left are gleefully exploiting the so-called boycott because it’s a useful tool to further their goal of advancing the negotiations with the Palestinians. Those on the right are just as happy to cry boycott because it provides more evidence that the world is determined to wipe Israel off the map. What Voltaire said about God could just as easily apply to the boycott of Israel – If it did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it, which is what is happening.
Actually, the entire premise of BDS is little more than an effort to harm Israel’s image in the court of public opinion. It’s about time that members of the media start to realize the economic damage is minor compared to the damage to Israel’s standing in the world.
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post reports that foreign investment in the Israeli stock market tripled last year.
2. US Jewish leader calls on Western governments to fight boycott threats to Israel.
Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told The Associated Press that the drive masks a “politically correct” form of anti-Semitism and urged “zero tolerance” of the boycott.
3.If the West shuns Israel, Israel can turn East. The Economist notes that BDS is becoming a mainstream movement in the West but also noted that Israel has other options.
Israel’s position as a hotbed of hi-tech start-ups is due in part to decades of circumventing Arab boycotts. A French arms ban in the 1960s sparked the development of its weapons industry, helping to catapult Israel into fourth place in the world’s league of arms exporters. And if the West turns its back on Israel, there is, they say, the east. Relations with India have warmed of late, and those with China are getting closer.
Other BDS-Related Content:
* Peter Hitchens writes in his column in the Mail Online that he sides with Scarlett Johansson in the dustup with Oxfam.
She is right. Helping to promote and sustain the normal things of life – work, homes, ordinary pleasure, mutual interdependence – is the road to peace. Oxfam’s dogmatic utopian desires lead to murder and terror. Oxfam was not founded to preach politics, but to relieve hunger. It should go back to doing that, and I for one won’t give it another penny until it does.
* Sydney Morning Herald reporter Ruth Heller looks at the growing impact of the BDS movement. Of course, she misrepresents the real demands of BDS:
Inspired by the boycott campaign against apartheid in South Africa that was designed to pressure the government to overturn racial segregation, the BDS movement has both powerful backers and detractors. Formed in 2005 by 170 Palestinian individuals and civil society groups, it calls for the boycott of Israeli companies and products that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory until it meets its obligations under international law. For the BDS campaign, this means Israel must end its occupation, recognise the equal rights of Arab citizens of Israel and respect the right of return of Palestinian refugees (a major stumbling block over decades of failed peace talks between Israel and Palestine).
Actually, the BDS calls for a full boycott of all Israeli products, with or without links to the West Bank.
* AJC offical Daniel Schwammenthal points out that the recent talk of boycotts from EU diplomats sends the wrong message to the Palestinians.
Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the EU’s ambassador to Israel, warned Monday that if peace talks collapse due to settlement construction, Israel would face “increasing isolation. . . not necessarily because of any decisions taken at a government level but because of decisions taken by a myriad of private economic actors.” Right, except the EU’s guidelines must have given those private companies a pretty good idea of what the governments’ position is on this issue.
What Mr. Faaborg-Andersen also suggested, and not for the first time, is that the Palestinians basically have carte blanche to once again break up the peace talks over settlements. The EU is playing with fire here. Having already walked away from three comprehensive Israeli peace offers, the Palestinians don’t need extra encouragement to do so again. Pressure to finally accept a negotiated deal is needed
* Israel’s Ambassador to the UK Daniel Taub gives an outstanding interview on CNN’s Christiane Amanpour show, including why the BDS is harming efforts towards peace.
See Thursday’s Fighting BDS Roundup.