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Today’s Top BDS Stories:
1.SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum told The Forward that the plant near Maale Adumim has caused difficulties for the company but he remains committed to it out of loyalty to the workers.
While other employees could relocate on the other side of the Green Line if the plant moved, the West Bank Palestinian workers could not, and would suffer financially, he argued.
“We will not throw our employees under the bus to promote anyone’s political agenda,” he said, adding that he “just can’t see how it would help the cause of the Palestinians if we fired them.”
2. The UK journalist union is planning to discuss an Israel boycott at its next meeting in April. The proposed draft reportedly includes expressing support for the BDS movement and comparisons between Israel and South Africa. But as Pesach Benson at HonestReporting wrote, “you can’t call yourself an objective journalist if you support the boycott of the country you cover. Journalism has to be outside the realm of politics.”
3. SodaStream wins French court battle with BDS group.
Other BDS-Related Content:
* The Israel government, shaken by some high-profile divestments from Dutch pension funds, called a meeting to discuss proposals for dealing with similar actions in the future. Naturally, the meeting was cancelled at the last minute.
The senior Israeli official said the boycott movement has two distinct strains. One involves sanctions by Western governments, especially in the European Union, which target the settlements specifically. The other involves sanctions by Western companies, which also target companies within the Green Line that maintain commercial ties with the settlements.
The escalation in sanctions initiatives by Western companies stems from both increased pressure by pro-Palestinian organizations and the fact that more and more governments, especially in Europe, are encouraging the private sector to refrain from business ties with companies or groups linked to the settlements.
* Instead of a meeting, maybe Israeli ministers should take a few minutes to review Scarlett Johansson’s defense of SodaStream, which one public relations professional called “a masterclass in reputation management and crisis communications.”
Never shying away from the controversy, the actress jumped in with gusto, taking her defense a step further than most Israelis would feel comfortable doing and then, playing offense, delivering a strong pro-Israel stance while expressing nothing but respect for the Palestinians.
* Jonathan Katz, a Jewish student at the University of Chicago, writes why he will continue to criticize Israel despite all efforts to get him to stop. It’s not the most profound or original critique of Israel I’ve seen, but it’s honest and provides insight into a way of thinking that is not unique to this one student.
* Proposed bill would ban New York colleges involved in Israel boycotts from receiving state funds.
* Michael Dickson, Israel Director of StandWithUs, explains why A-List celebrities are giving the BDS movement the cold shoulder.
Yes, they may co-opt D-List celebs like Roger Waters to pressure others in the industry to join BDS. Thankfully, though, A-Listers and those around them are getting better acquainted with BDS, and when they see the antisemitism that surrounds the movement, including the giant pig with a Star of David on it hoisted at the concert of Roger Waters, they run a mile.
* Gerald Steinberg, President of NGO Monitor, looks at what’s really behind the recent divestments of Dutch pension funds and how to address them.
The first step in confronting European governments that provide most of the funds for these organizations is to demand the implementation of democratic transparency principles in Europe. This would expose the sources of influence behind this NGO funding to independent analysis, and highlight the systematic abuse of European “soft power” for boycotts and demonization against Israeli democracy. On this basis, Israeli and European officials can negotiate mutually acceptable guidelines for funding political advocacy NGOs, which would prevent grants to groups that promote double standards, the discriminatory singling out of Israel, lawfare based on “war crimes” and similar false allegations, and the denial of the right of the Jewish people to sovereign equality.
See yesterday’s Fighting BDS Roundup.