Boycott – Sanctions – Diversification: Another Weapon Against Israel
Poster of BDS activists. Such posters are seen around the world. Without substance or truth, they are used as poisonous ammunition against the Jewish state.
By Shira Sorko-Ram
BDS is the latest reincarnation of anti-Semitism, a syndrome which first appeared some 3500 years ago when Pharaoh ordered all Hebrew male newborns to be killed.
This epidemic of anti-Semitism is spreading – first devised 10 years ago by the Palestinian Authority together with the PLO Negotiations Department. It’s called the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) drive – and it has lately exploded to become a popular movement spreading across the four corners of the world.
It is the offspring of the Arab League Boycott, in existence since the birth of the modern state of Israel. Until today, every product imported to the Arab Muslim countries must be accompanied by a “negative certificate” verifying it did not come from Israel.
The PLO, with more than 100 diplomatic missions, coordinates activities and funds for the movement even though there is no such registered organization anywhere or even a bank account for the BDS.
Nevertheless, massive amounts of capital from the Gulf States, especially Qatar, are funding the anti-Israel propaganda. Saudi Arabia is another huge donor. (www.ynetnews. com; link: goo.gl/cdGl8h)
Enter the far left activists in the U.S. and European universities with a passion for “justice for the oppressed.” And who are the most oppressed people on the face of the earth? Palestinians. Of course. And who is the oppressor? Who else? Israel.
Irrationally, the radical left has teamed up with Islamics who are the antithesis of human rights and have created what the late Robert S. Wistrich – considered the foremost scholar of anti-Semitism – called a “culture of hatred” that is “sufficiently radical in tone and content to constitute a new warrant for genocide.” (Washington Times, 26May2015)
How many times have we thought, “How could the educated, enlightened Germans – not to speak of people throughout most of Europe – have executed the most horrific cleansing of an ethnic group ever?” Yet today we are observing the creation of another world-wide hate movement focused once again solely on Israel and the Jewish people.
Miraculously, the latest manifestation of anti-Semitism, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, has not yet been able to damage Israel economically, but it is rabidly demonizing and delegitimizing Israel in universities and public forums across America, South America and Europe. It is indoctrinating masses of young people on college campuses – the leaders of tomorrow – as an investment in the future of Jew-hatred.
Every year, some 200 campuses now host a multi-day hate-the-Jews Fest, its malignancy encapsulated in its title: “Israel Apartheid Week.” There are constant violent incidents: Jewish college students and pro-Israel activists are mocked, punched and hit in major universities even to being hospitalized. Israel Independence Day festivities were blocked and shouted down by anti-Israel demonstrators at the University of California. Jewish students and pro-Israel activists now admit intimidation to such a degree that many are afraid to publicize their pro-Israel political views. (www.mosaicmagazine.com; link: goo.gl/OeOomc)
In South Africa, the former apartheid nation, the Durban University of Technology has actually called for the expulsion of Jewish students, especially those who do not support the Palestinian struggle. (www.campus-watch.org; link: goo.gl/tFd7qX)
Students are not the only targets. In many universities today, charges of Islamophobia can wreck a professor’s career. But so can supporting Israel. At Connecticut College, a quietly pro-Israel professor of philosophy has been maliciously singled out and hounded as a “racist,” a campaign instigated by Palestinian activists and endorsed by numerous faculty members. (Ibid)
And so, in simple words, only 70 years after hatred for the Jewish people cost 6,000,000 of their lives, anti-Semitic blood thirst is back and metastasizing at a frightening speed.
The label has changed a bit. It is now anti-Zionism. It is no coincidence, of course, that this name has been chosen by the spirits of this world because Zion, another name for Jerusalem and also God’s coming Kingdom, happens to be God’s chosen resting place and future world capital.
IS ISRAEL PERFECT?
Is Israel perfect? How absurd! A more sensible question is how does it compare with other democracies. Very high! (www.en.wikipedia.org; link: goo.gl/d6udFO)
Compared with all of the Arab countries in the Middle East, it’s a no-brainer! Israel is surrounded by nations that practice the most violent and hate-filled religion in the world, constantly fighting even among themselves. They have only one goal in common: the utter destruction of Israel (except Egypt and Jordan, with whom Israel has peace agreements).
But Israel, this pint-size start-up nation with almost no natural resources not only exists, but prospers as no other nation in this oil-glutted region. It has also blessed the world with its greatest asset – the incredible talents and capabilities of the Jewish mind. And it’s all coming from a country the size of New Jersey!
Furthermore, the Arab population of Israel (20%) enjoys more freedom than is found in any other Muslim nation in the world. Israeli Arab students – Muslim, Christian and Druze – attend the country’s state-supported universities in large numbers. They prepare for professional careers and engage in intellectual affairs at a higher level than in most Arab countries.
There are no barriers to qualified Israeli Arab men and women studying sciences, mathematics or medicine here. And the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University, among others, are ranked among the best in the world.
Israeli Arabs enjoy freedom of worship and speech, cast votes, hold seats in the Knesset and sit on the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, BDS advocates slander Israel as “apartheid.”
They can live wherever they like, work – if qualified – wherever they wish and go wherever they want.
Stephen Schwartz, from the Middle East Forum, stated, “BDS battles are usually waged by academics and others outside the country [of Israel], distant from its realities and ignorant of the extent of Jewish–Arab cooperation in Israeli public life.” Armchair criticism helps Islamic radicals to paint Israel as a “racist” state.
THE PALESTINIAN ISLAMIC REGIME
On the other hand, the Palestinian conclave in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) is anything but a democratic entity (See chart). First and foremost, it is an Islamic society with 98% of its citizens Muslim. (Think of yourself as a Christian or Jew living in America or Europe with 98% of the population Islamic.) We know personally that evangelical Christians live precariously in the West Bank, constantly struggling to keep below the radar to avoid serious persecution.
Today’s ruler is 79-year-old Mahmoud Abbas who is an unelected leader. Elections were to be held in January 2009. But because the PLO leader knew that according to the polls Hamas would win the elections, he has simply occupied the office without elections. When he passes from the scene and elections are held, Hamas will take over the West Bank. If Israel were to pull out of Judea and Samaria, Hamas would then have almost 200 miles of border with Israel from which to attack the soft belly of the Jewish nation’s main population centers – from Nazareth to Netanya to Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to Beersheba.
Hamas’ Charter can be found on the Internet with a click. It clearly lays out its plans to destroy Israel and replace it with a Palestinian state – meaning, of course, an Islamic state.
BDS’ ULTIMATE PURPOSE
When will the BDS’ activism be completed? When will they know they have accomplished their mission? Are you ready? It is when they have destroyed the Jewish state.
“The real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel,” California State University anti-Israel professor As’ad AbuKhalil, a self-professed anarchist and atheist, has said. “There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.” (www.en.wikipedia.org; link: goo.gl/BqUKHr)
Another pro-BDS radical professor declares, “I think the BDS movement will gain strength from forthrightly explaining why Israel has no right to exist.”
The success thus far of BDS is particularly impressive because it is a movement that uses the language of rights. But how do the educated elites not get it? The lack of justice in their thinking is mindboggling. BDS denies the Jewish state’s right to exist, but accepts the existence of numerous Islamic states.
How does the BDS plan to bring Israel down? It starts with the Muslim students on campuses throughout the west. “Anti-Semitism has undergone a process of growing ‘Islamicization,’ linked to the terrorist holy war” against the Jewish people “with truly lethal consequences,” said Dr. Wistrich. “ This ‘new’ anti-Semitism,” he added, “targets Israel, the only state with a Jewish majority: the collective Jew.” (Washington Times, 26May2015)
While most Muslims do not support terrorism, Wistrich noted, “levels of anti- Semitism among Muslims clearly remain the highest in the world,” and Islamists who are mostly those committed to the establishment of a world caliphate “are the spearhead of current anti-Semitism.”
Disrupting business in a British supermarket.
Their next efforts have been to get businesses to divest from any commercial entity connected with Israel and to boycott any product made in Israel. One of the many companies targeted has been SodaStream because one of its factories is located in a West Bank settlement – which, incidentally, has given several hundred Palestinians secure jobs with equal pay and benefits.
Last October, in a decision hailed as a great victory by Palestinian activists, the company announced they would be moving their factory – and necessarily laying off the Palestinian workers – to the northern Negev industrial area in southern Israel. The new location is nowhere near the 1949 armistice lines (or what the Palestinians call the 1967 borders).
You would think that the BDS activists would say to themselves “job well done!” and go to something else. You would be wrong.
Last April, a group of BDS activists resumed their campaign to boycott SodaStream. “SodaStream is now moving onto land stolen from Palestinian Bedouins, who are also human beings,” said Anna Baltzer, national organizer of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
Baltzer, a California-born Jewish woman who has said her grandparents narrowly escaped the Holocaust, continued, “We support the rights of indigenous Palestinians inside Israel, including the Bedouins. We can’t end our boycott when SodaStream is simply occupying new land of Palestinians.” (26 May 2015, Haaretz)
Jewish participation – including even Israelis – is another phenomenon of the BDS movement. Because Jews tend to be on the left of social issues, standing up for the oppressed and helpless Palestinians fits neatly into their worldview.
Another typical example: Woolworth’s South African supermarket chain has insisted on importing bagels from Israel. The total value of foodstuffs coming from the Jewish state is a mere million dollars out of the chain’s 10 billion dollars in revenue. But the BDS activists are insistent – protesting and disrupting the stores’ operations, until Woolworths went to court and won. The BDS activists, however, have refused to concede. On Israel’s last Independence Day (called Nakba or The Disaster by Muslims) 10,000 students protested against Woolworths. (www.ynetnews.com; link: goo.gl/cdGl8h)
BDS targets companies large and small and identifies individual products to avoid like Israeli humus.
On the boycott list: AMAV toys, Ahava cosmetics, Eden water, Abadi Bakery, Jaffa oranges, Mehadrin Greek yoghurt, Jordan River dates, Stanley Black & Decker, Delta Galil Industries which supplies textiles to stores like Gap, J.C. Penny, Calvin Klein, Keter Plastics, Carmel Carpets, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Lithotech Medical, Max Brenner chocolates, Tescom Software Testing Systems, Discount Bank, Leumi Bank, G4S Security, Motorola Solutions and on and on.
Not a few artists and musicians booked for concerts in Israel are canceling under heavy BDS pressure. Every type of cultural and social exchange is being attacked. The goal is to strangle Israel economically, scientifically and culturally.
UK STUDENT’S UNION BOYCOTTS ISRAEL
Recently, England’s Canterbury Christ Church Student’s Union proposed that the UK’s National Union of Students join the BDS movement. The Union, which represents millions of students at British higher education institutions, passed the “Justice for Palestine” motion.
This same Student’s Union voted down a resolution last year to condemn ISIS’ operations, saying to do so would be Islamophobic! Can you believe what you are reading
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu angrily responded, saying, ISIS tramples human rights to the dust. It burns people alive in cages and the national student groups in Britain refuse to boycott ISIS and have boycotted Israel!
Another Israeli Knesset Member added: “I would expect students with intellectual integrity to act first and foremost against John the Jihadist (who beheaded American and British hostages on video) and the rest of the British citizens fighting with ISIS.”
The Board of Universities UK has courageously rejected the UK Student Union’s academic boycott of Israeli institutions, declaring it is firmly opposed to any academic boycott of Israeli universities.
But businesses and institutions everywhere are being pressured to suspend operations with Israel. BDS targets businesses by threatening to boycott them unless they boycott Israel.
Ynet journalist, Ben-Dror Yemini fears that even though support for Israel in the United States is at its peak, it’s an illusion. On campuses, at research institutes, and in media outlets, there has been a consistent, protracted, and dangerous erosion of support for Israel that will clearly manifest itself as these college students become the future government and media leaders.
It is already invading politics. Sidney Blumenthal was a senior advisor to Bill Clinton. His son, Max Blumenthal, has become a prominent and venomous campus activist against Israel’s very existence. The Blumenthals are Jewish.
Israel is enduring one of the most systematic attacks against its existence.
MAINSTREAM MEDIA SERVES BDS
The BDS movement is conducting a campaign for awareness on multiple fronts – on campuses, in workers’ unions, and in the media. And it is amassing troubling victories. Leading newspapers like The New York Times are providing a platform for boycott advocates. As a faithful accomplice, the leftist “mainstream media” gives them the coverage and validity they need to grow.
Jennifer Rubin of the conservative Washington Post remarked about the jaw-dropping hypocrisy of the U.S. media in virtually ignoring tens of thousands of children murdered in Syria by jihadists and President Bashar al-Assad while endlessly castigating not Hamas, but Israel, for the horrible but inevitable deaths of innocents in Gaza who were used as human shields for terrorists in order to ring up the death toll.
The mainstream media is not covering the Islamic phenomenon of killing children. They forget to mention the hundreds of children Hamas used as human shields. And what about the 160 Palestinian children who perished in Gaza while forced to build killer tunnels by Hamas? (www.washingtonpost.com; link: goo.gl/eMGtm1)
ISRAELI UNIVERSITIES VERY WORRIED
Israeli university presidents recently met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to tell him that the boycott of Israel’s academic institutions is threatening the very future of the country.
They presented the president with a report that confirmed Israeli researchers abroad are being denied promotions, periodicals refuse to publish articles from Israeli scientists, foreign lecturers are choosing not to come to conferences in Israel and international companies refuse to work with Israeli researchers. They expressed their concerns that if the BDS continues to attack Israel’s universities and research, it would be disastrous for Israel.
Ruth Arnon, president of the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities said, “The movement is heavily financed and extremely active in many universities working toward delegitimizing Israel and specifically Israeli academics.”
The Islamic states have not been able to destroy Israel militarily, but they believe they can economically. Israel’s government has become very alarmed. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has enlisted his government ministries to fight this war against Israel with all the agencies and stratagems at his disposal. A government official has for the first time contacted Maoz Israel Ministries to enlist us in this fight in the European arena.
The American congress is also taking measures to combat this unadulterated hatred towards the Jewish people. Republicans and Democrats have authored bipartisan measures to discourage America’s trading partners from discriminating against Israelis.
South Carolina’s governor has been the first to sign into law a bill to stop efforts to boycott, divest and sanction Israel. “Boycott, for the purpose of the law, is defined as the effort by companies to blacklist, divest from or otherwise refuse to deal with a person or firm when the action is based on race, color, religion, gender or national origin of the target person or entity.” Another eighteen states have already committed to introduce similar legislation in their next legislative cycle. (Jerusalem Post, 5Jun2015)
Also, Illinois has just passed an anti- BDS bill with bipartisan unanimity. “The significance of the bill cannot be underestimated,” wrote Eugene Kontorovich, a law professor at Northwestern University. “BDS is not like the civil rights protests, as its supporters love to claim, but rather more like the anti-Jewish boycotts so common in Europe in the 20th century and in the Arab world until this day.” European financial institutions that have become concerned about the risks – legal, economic and reputational – of doing business with Israelis will now need to consider the risks of refusing to do business with Israelis.
In Congress, additional measures are being proposed. For example, Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Republican, has introduced the “Boycott Our Enemies, Not Israel Act,” which would require government contractors to certify that they are not shunning America’s most reliable ally.
Bible-believing Christians could make a huge difference if they look for ways to fight anti-Semitism. First of all, talk to the young people you know – your children, your youth groups at your congregations, sports groups and any other youth events. Start one on one. The youth are the ones that are faced with these lies at universities and even high schools. First of all, they must be protected against being seduced by righteous-sounding BDS activists spouting phrases of injustice. With and with knowledge they can stand up to others plying this deception. There are many good websites that can give you information. To start with, check out www.stopbds.com and www.campus-watch.org or go to www.facebook.com/fightingbds
In the 20th century, anti- Semitism’s goal was a Europe without Jews. This century its goal is a Middle East without a Jewish state.
Every follower of the God of Israel and Messiah Yeshua needs to consider what he or she can do – just as in the 1930’s European Christians had to decide what they would do. Most did nothing. But some are now honored in the chronicles of Israel as heroes who risked their lives to save Jews. We are not yet at that stage, but we are racing toward the time when according to Zachariah and the prophets, all the nations of the world will come against Israel. Every Christian will have to make a choice of where he or she stands with the Jewish people.