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Today’s Top BDS Stories:
1. Journalists hear from Palestinians at SodaStream factory.
Zooming in on Birnbaum and the two women, the camera crews and microphone-holding reporters overlooked another young Palestinian woman standing nearby, fitting plastic valves into a large metal tray. Nahida Fares, 28, graduated Nablus’s A-Najjah University in primary school education. She began working for Israeli companies two years ago, when she could find no work in her field in Ramallah, where she lives with her husband and infant child.
“There are no job opportunities in the West Bank,” Fares told The Times of Israel. “Even the jobs that do exist pay no more than NIS 1,500-2,000 ($430-570) a month.” Fares now earns triple those sums.
See also Seeing SodaStream for Myself by HonestReporting’s Simon Plosker.
2. New York Times slams the anti-boycott law. Legislation recently passed in the State Senate bars state funding for universities that support academic boycott of Israel.
The New York bill is an ill-considered response to the American Studies Association resolution and would trample on academic freedoms and chill free speech and dissent. Academics are rightly concerned that it will impose a political test on faculty members seeking university support for research meetings and travel. According to the American Association of University Professors, which opposes the association boycott and the retaliatory legislation, there is already a backlash, including in Georgia where a Jewish group compiled a “political blacklist” of professors and graduate students who supported the boycott.
3. Matthew Kalman takes a good look at Oxfam’s connection to BDS and provides a glimpse at how settlements are perceived at the NGO and in the UK.
Oxfam’s fury at the settlements is so great that the reasonable doubt granted to partners in other parts of the world – or even on the other side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – goes out the window.
Oxfam has been campaigning against Israel’s West Bank settlements for years. Its personnel in Jerusalem were the driving force behind the successful campaign to label settlement goods from the West Bank, first in the UK, and now throughout Europe. They teamed up with British diplomats in East Jerusalem who told me that the isolation and economic strangulation of Israel’s settlement enterprise was a key aim of British policy in the region.
Other BDS-Related Content:
* New Zealand to grant entry visas to the Batsheva Dance Company despite a BDS campaign against the group. BDS activists urged the NZ government to ban the group in response to “Israel’s “unashamedly racist treatment” of its Arab citizens, its “brutal military occupation” of the West Bank and its “vicious blockade” of the Gaza Strip.”
The average, everyday individual who has been quietly fed up with this uncivil discourse is finally spurned to action.
Maybe this is finally the turning point. Maybe this is the beginning of something really big, when as a society we stand up to these bullies and declare that we reject this behavior.
* The New Republic published a primer about BDS for people who are encountering the term for the first time because of Scarlett Johansson. The view is balanced enough, and the conclusion about the movement is clear:
In practice, based both on the preferences of BDS supporters (including Barghouti, a co-founder) and the movement’s tenets, BDS’s success is most likely to involve the end of the Zionist project. And what this means is that any BDS supporter effectively advocates a one-state solution, even if, should you put the question to him, he would tell you he would prefer two states.
* EU ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, warned that Israel would face increasing international isolation if peace talks fail. EU policy will not be the cause of the isolation but rather ” the decisions taken by a myriad of private economic actors, be it companies, be it pension funds, be it consumers who will be choosing other product on the supermarket shelves.”* JNS publishes an open letter to British actress Emma Thompson on the topic of Israel boycotts.
* Journalist David Goldman takes a deeper look at Danske Bank, one of the Dutch banks that divested from Israel in recent weeks.
Danske Bank last week cut off banking business with Israel’s Bank Hapoalim on “legal and ethical grounds.”
What are Danske Bank’s ethics?
According to Wikileaks cables, Danske Bank helped finance Tanchon, a North Korean trading company that sold ballistic missiles to Iran:
Tanchon has been involved in financing ballistic missile sales from KOMID to Iran’s Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG). SHIG is the Iranian organization charged with developing Iran’s liquid- fueled ballistic missile program and is designated under UNSCR 1737 for an asset freeze.
* Former Knesset Speaker and current critic of Israel Avraham Burg defends BDS in Haaretz. He claims he personally opposes boycotts of any kind, then conflates support for BDS with support for all types of non-violent resistance, for which, he writes, Israel has no answer.
What will the politicians and soldiers of the racist separation do on Hebron’s Shuhada Street, which is closed to Palestinians, if a thousand kids come with their bikes, soccer balls and cameras and ask to play on the street in front of their homes – a basic right of any normal child on any street in the world?
It’s an interesting question, but it’s not related the issue of boycotts, divestments, or sanctions he’s writing to defend.
See yesterday’s Fighting BDS Roundup.