Fighting BDS – Are European Consumers Behind Push for Boycott?February 17, 2014 17:05 by Alex Margolin
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Today’s Top BDS Stories:
1. Conference of Presidents’ Malcolm Hoenlein says the two pressing issues of the day are Iran and Israel’s deligitimization. BDS, he said, was the “21st century form of 20th century anti-Semitism.”
“It is the same manifestation except that now they’re attacking the collective Jew – Israel – rather than the individual Jew, as they did 70 years ago,” said Hoenlein. “We recognize that when they say Israel, they mean all of us.”
2. Christian Science Monitor is the latest publication to focus on the burgeoning European boycott of West Bank goods. The article implies the trend in Europe is strongly influenced by consumers.
The European Union, Israel’s No. 1 trading partner, accounts for about a third of its total trade, and was long the favored destination for Jordan Valley produce. But these fruits and vegetables are grown on land that Israel has occupied since 1967. For a growing number of European consumers, that’s a problem. They say that buying such produce is supporting the illegal confiscation and control of land and water resources that should be in Palestinian hands.
The campaign is starting to bite. Last year, Jordan Valley farmers lost an estimated $29 million, or 14 percent of revenue, because they were forced to find alternative markets for their exports, such as Russia, where prices are 20 to 60 percent lower. Pepper exports to Western Europe have stopped completely, and grape exports are likely to be phased out this year because of consumer pressure, says David Elhayani, mayor of the Jordan Valley Regional Council and a farmer himself.
3. Over 100 Irish academics sign pledge to boycott Israel.
Other BDS-Related Content:
* With SodaStream getting all the attention during the run-up to its Super Bowl commercial, some may have overlooked the importance of a visit from a South African DJ named Black Coffee, who pushes aside the BDS bully tactics and expressed a message of peace in Tel Aviv. Read more about what we can learn from his visit that can be used for Fighting BDS.
* In November, a blogger named Elder of Ziyon exposed a group of BDSers at Cornell using the Israeli product, Wix, to make websites telling people to stop using Israeli products. The group responded to the apparent hypocrisy with a ludicrous letter explaining that “BDS is a tactic, not a principle, let alone a call for abstention.” In other words, they could have said, use Israeli products but tell others to stop using them.
The issue returned this week when a Tweeter named Argaman discovered that Code Pink was promoting a solidarity visit to Gaza using – what else? – a Wix site. Among other BDS practices, Code Pink recently sponsored a petition calling on Scarlett Johansson to drop SodaStream. So far, the site is still up and running, attesting to the quality of WiX as a product and the truth of the claim that BDS is a tactic, not a principle.
* Anti-Zionist website Mondoweiss “reveals” the secret StandWithUs plan to combat Israel Apartheid Week on campuses. Plans include a “buy Israeli goods” day and distributing information about Israel’s treatment of African migrants.
See yesterday’s Fighting BDS Roundup.