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Today’s Top BDS Stories:
1. UK Prime Minister David Cameron: We oppose boycotts.
To those who do not share my ambition, who want to boycott Israel, I have a clear message. Britain opposes boycotts, whether it’s trade unions campaigning for the exclusion of Israelis or universities trying to stifle academic exchange.”
He said: “Delegitimising the state of Israel is wrong. It’s abhorrent. And together we will defeat it.”
Prior to the speech, Stephan Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, noted that Cameron was visiting Israel in order to broaden business relations.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel makes a lot of noise. Twitter is awash with #BDS tweets, implying that the extremists who demand that the West stop buying goods produced by Jews are in the ascendancy.
The reality is rather different.
Bilateral trade between the UK and Israel is booming to an extent never before imagined. Last year it was estimated by the FCO at £5.1 billion. Growth is accelerating every year.
2. Two Jewish communal leaders give their advice on how to defeat BDS.
Experience and research demonstrate that what works best with these audiences — mostly made up of political and religious progressives — is not an all-good-vs.-all-bad characterization of Israelis and Palestinians. Instead, a more nuanced narrative is the one that is likely to defeat the one-sided and hostile stance of those seeking to delegitimize Israel.
This means honestly conveying the situation’s complexity, expressing empathy for suffering on both sides (without implying moral equivalency) and offering a constructive pathway to helping the parties move toward peace and reconciliation based on two states for two peoples.
Whether we are dealing with a boycott of Israeli academic institutions adopted by the American Studies Association or an attempt to remove Israeli products from a Brooklyn food co-op, the most effective opponents of these initiatives are the people who travel in those circles.
3. Columnist defends the Maryland legislation barring state funds in response to academic boycotts.
The bill before the legislature is not aimed at stifling debate or curtailing speech. It rather simply states that if Maryland has a Declaration of Cooperation with another country (any country, not just Israel), our public institutions of higher education may not use public funds to pay for membership, travel, expenses or reimbursement to organizations boycotting academia in that country.
4. Library information service changes classification of BDS from “anti-Jewish boycotts” to simply “boycotts.”
See yesterday’s Fighting BDS Roundup.