Fighting BDS – Can You Boycott Israel “Just a Little?”February 11, 2014 16:48 by Alex Margolin
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Today’s Top BDS Stories:
1. Can you boycott Israel “just a little,” like by limiting yourself to boycotting only the settlements and not the rest of Israel? Lawrence Grossman of the AJC says no.
Oxfam and like-minded groups — some of them Jewish — sincerely but naively believe that boycotting only across the Green Line enables them to issue a moral protest against Israeli settlement policy without being against Israel itself. Some consider their boycott as being in the best interests of the Jewish state. Unfortunately, they seem unaware of whom they are getting into bed with or the consequences of the association.
2. The Jerusalem Post reports that the government is planning to pursue anti-BDS legislation.
A number of courses of action were reportedly raised at the meeting, including encouraging anti-boycott legislation in friendly capitals around the world, such as Washington, Ottawa and Canberra. One idea is to support a model similar to the one used in the US to get recalcitrant countries to join the Iranian sanctions regimes – making sure that any company that dealt with Iran knew it was jeopardizing its US contracts.
Another recent initiative discussed was the bipartisan bill two Illinois representatives, Republican Peter Roskam and Democrat Dan Lipinski, introduced into Congress that would bar federal funding to American institutions of higher education that boycott Israel. This legislation came in the wake of last year’s high-profile decision by the American Studies Association to boycott Israel.
The secretive nature of the meeting created an opening for media outlets to sensationalize the government’s plans. Take this article from The Times of London:
Israeli spies have been ordered to dig up intelligence showing that supporters of an economic boycott are linked to terrorists and enemy states.
The strategy was presented at a ministerial meeting called to discuss how to respond to the growing number of foreign companies refusing to do business with Israeli entities operating in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. They are considered illegal under international law.
3. The Times of Israel quoted a Foreign Ministry official who made an important distinction between the big players in Europe and the BDS movement.
A Foreign Ministry official told AFP on Monday there was a crucial difference between the BDS movement and “European states and institutions that have problems with Israel’s actions” in the occupied West Bank.
The BDS was a “fringe group” that effectively “seeks to bring an end to Israel” by calling for the right of return for all Palestinian refugees to Israel, the official said.
Moves by European firms to disengage from Israeli companies with West Bank activities “could not be considered a boycott of Israel” since they continue to invest in the Jewish state, “only choosing in which firms.”
Other BDS-Related Content:
* Number of universities against ASA academic boycott of Israel up to 246.
* Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens compares Scarlett Johansson’s stand against Oxfam favorably to Secretary of State John Kerry’s statements about the wave of boycotts Israel might face if peace talks collapse.
So here is the secretary of state talking about the effort to boycott Israel not as an affront to the United States and an outrage to decency but as a tide he is powerless to stop and that anyway should get Israel to change its stiff-necked ways. A Secretary of State Johansson would have shown more courage and presence of mind than that.
See yesterday’s Fighting BDS Roundup.