BDS Equals Economic Warfare: Asaf Romirowsky & Nicole Brackman, Jerusalem Post, May 8, 2016— At the core of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS ) is economic warfare meant to delegitimize and marginalize Israel.
BDS Spreads Anti-Semitism Across U.S. Campuses: Noah Beck, IPT, May 12, 2016— Anti-Semitic incidents seem to spring up each week on college campuses throughout the United States.
A Jewish Voice for Peace? No — Just Another Hate Group: Ziva Dahl, Algemeiner, May 16, 2016— Who is the group called A Jewish Voice for Peace and why does it hide its funders from the public?
Colombia Unbecoming: Hate Week Comes to Latin America: Gregory J. Lobo, ISGAP, May 13, 2016— What is known in English as Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) has made it to Colombia in the form of the Semana contra el Apartheid Israelí.
Methodist Church Meeting Votes Down BDS Resolutions: Tamar Pileggi, Times of Israel, May 17, 2016
Anti-Israel Students at Connecticut College ‘Occupy’ Office of School President in Protest Over Investigation of Mock Eviction Notices: Lea Spyer, Algemeiner, May 16, 2016
Using the Language of War Makes Battling BDS Clearer: Jon Haber, Algemeiener, May 15, 2016
Asaf Romirowsky & Nicole Brackman
Jerusalem Post, May 8, 2016
At the core of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) is economic warfare meant to delegitimize and marginalize Israel. But the fatal fallacy of the movement is rooted in the fact that its proponents are hurting the very constituency they claim to represent. Daniel Birnbaum is the CEO of SodaStream, one of Israel’s greatest commercial start-up successes. The company (made famous in a 2014 Super Bowl advertisement featuring actress Scarlett Johansson) was a pioneer in economic inclusion, establishing a factory in the West Bank and employing both Palestinian and Jewish workers (among them a high proportion of women).
Due to the ongoing violence in Syria, SodaStream also went out of its way to offer employment to Syrian refugees – one of the only Middle Eastern companies to do so. Providing an avenue to job security in skilled labor is a fundamental tenet of refugee rehabilitation policy. Israel has been at the forefront of successful refugee resettlement and absorption since the state’s inception, with the integration of close to one million Jewish refugees expelled from Arab lands.
As Birnbaum underscored in a press release, “As the son of a Holocaust survivor, I refuse to stand by and observe this human tragedy unfold right across the border in Syria… just as we have always done our best to help our Palestinian brothers and sisters in the West Bank, the time has come for local business and municipal leaders to address the Syrian humanitarian crisis and take the initiative to help those in need. We cannot expect our politicians to bear the entire burden of providing aid for the refugees.”
But in October, 2015, nearly 500 of the company’s Palestinian workers lost their jobs. The reason wasn’t because the company no longer wanted to employ them. It was due – at least in part – to the efforts of the BDS movement to mount enough international pressure to close the facility. Though the company denied it was a factor, the tactic worked; many of the workers were thrust into unemployment. Notwithstanding that, SodaStream offered 1,000 positions to Syrian refugees at the company’s new facility in Rahat.
The BDS movement uses economic pressure to attempt to strong-arm the Israeli government into complying with its agenda. Its effects are wide-ranging, from political activism on college campuses to commercial guerrilla tactics like covertly placing stickers on grocery products to draw attention to their Israeli origins.
Much of the time, its claims are laden with anti-Semitic overtones and rely on emotional appeal rather than hard data. Such tactics have far-reaching – and very counterproductive – consequences, for example, the unwillingness of the French directorate-general for international security of intelligence to accept technology offered by an Israeli security company that “could have helped counter-terror agents track suspects in real time,” undermining the chance to avert the recent deadly terrorist attacks in Paris and Belgium.
Despite its aspirations, in fact BDS has had little economic impact on Israel. According to Forbes, “The impact of BDS is more psychological than real so far and has had no discernible impact on Israeli trade or the broader economy… that said, the sanctions do run the risk of hurting the Palestinian economy, which is much smaller and poorer than that of Israel.”
Israel’s centrality to US regional and global policy has not gone unnoticed; US Congress sought to cement Israel’s economic and trade ties to the US with a bipartisan bill – the US-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act – designed to counter the BDS movement and strengthen the two nations’ relationship. The bill “leverages ongoing trade negotiations to discourage prospective US trade partners from engaging in economic discrimination against Israel. It also establishes a clear US policy in opposition to state-led BDS, which is detrimental to global trade, regional peace and stability.”
The extremism that the BDS movement advocates highlights the group’s refusal to come to terms with the State of Israel, its recidivism and its ignorance in evaluating the landscape of greater Middle East politics. When Syrian refugees are being offered jobs in Israel at an Israeli company it is clear how removed the BDS reality is from that of the Middle East.
IPT, May 12, 2016
Anti-Semitic incidents seem to spring up each week on college campuses throughout the United States. According to a study, "The strongest predictor of anti-Jewish hostility on campus" is the presence of a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. The greater the BDS activity, especially involving faculty members, the more likely anti-Semitic episodes become, said the study issued last month by the AMCHA Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to investigating, documenting, and combating anti-Semitism on U.S. campuses.
One recent example occurred on April 15, when the City University of New York Doctoral Students' Council passed a resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israel, 42-19. Weeks earlier, a CUNY professor and BDS advocate claimed that the killing of Palestinians in Gaza "reflects Jewish values." On CUNY campuses, the New York Observer reports, Jewish students were harassed, with "Jews out of CUNY" uttered in at least one instance, and a professor who wears a yarmulke was called a "Zionist pig."
On April 21, two-thirds of a union representing about 2,000 graduate students at New York University voted to approve a motion to support a BDS resolution against Israel. The motion also urges the union and its affiliate, the United Auto Workers, to divest from Israeli companies. The resolution asks NYU to close its program at Tel Aviv University, claiming the program violates NYU's non-discrimination policy. About a month earlier, NYU's Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), one of the main organizing forces behind the nationwide BDS campaign, hosted Israeli academic Ilan Pappé, described by Benny Morris as "one of the world's sloppiest historians."
As reported by AMCHA: "Pappé blamed Jews, perceived historically as evil, for antisemitism stating, 'The [Jewish] Israelis…are responsible for bringing antisemitism back.' He denied Jews self-determination and demonized Israel stating, 'evil Zionism will come to an end – all immoral regimes do' as well as suggested rich Jews should leave Israel as a process of 'decolonization.' He further demonized Israel throughout accusing Israel of carrying out 'ethnic cleansing' multiple times. Pappé delegitimized Israel consistently referring to Israel as a 'settler colonialist project,' …[and] promoted BDS."
The Jewish Law Students Association at Harvard University and Harvard Hillel co-sponsored an event April 14 on "The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict & the U.S." During the question and answer session, Husam el-Qoulaq, an HLS student and head of SJP at the school, insulted Israeli Knesset Member Tzipi Livni by asking, "How is it that you are so smelly?… A question about the odor of Ms. Tzipi Livni, she's very smelly, and I was just wondering." The student's question resurrected the anti-Semitic stereotype of a "smelly/dirty Jew." Incredibly, some "progressive" HLS Jewish students later defended el-Qoulaq.
As BDS campaigns spread on campuses, anti-Semitic expression increasingly follows – from swastika-filled vandalism at UC Davis and Purdue University to student "debates" at Stanford University that implicitly dignify classical anti-Semitic tropes about Jews controlling the media and economy…According to AMCHA, 2016 already has seen 171 anti-Semitic/BDS incidents as of April 21. At this rate, 2016 will see a 36 percent increase in incidents over last year.
Faculty members have become increasingly active in BDS efforts and smears. During a talk at Vassar College in February, Rutgers professor Jasbir Puar accused Israel of harvesting Palestinian organs and conducting scientific experiments in "stunting" the growth of Palestinian bodies. Last month, 40 Columbia University professors signed a BDS petition. More recently, one pro-BDS professor even tried to link campus rape to Israel. As Rochester Institute of Technology lecturer A.J. Caschetta notes, "at a time when much of academe is jumping on the BDS bandwagon, there is little risk to academics who join the movement, whereas opposition to majority leftist positions often leads to a perilous path."
Indeed, academics who buck this trend may be endangering their careers. At Connecticut College, one of the few professors who defended Andrew Pessin, who hasn't been in his classroom for the past year after a hate-filled campaign miscast his comments about Hamas as a smear on all Palestinians, says his stance cost him a promotion. Manuel Lizarralde, associate professor in Ethnobotany, wrote in a faculty-wide email Jan. 26 that the college "acted like vigilantes and found the perfect scapegoat," in Pessin.
Within days, Lizarralde said, he was called in by the administration for a scolding. Noting that he was recently denied promotion, Lizarralde suggested in a recent email that this was payback for his support of Pessin. Connecticut College has "a sense of racism since we are Latinos, Jews and advocate for social injustice…[and we] are being punished [for such activism]."
Responding to the negative media coverage generated by the Pessin case, Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron published an email to the faculty March 28, in which she championed "the right of all its members to express their views freely and openly." She failed to explain how that principle applied to Pessin, who was hounded off campus for expressing his views, only to see them twisted and turned against him. She said that the school should promote "reasoned and informed debate about the most complex issues of our time," but Pessin's absence leaves the school with no pro-Israel voice. When asked about the contradictions between her email and the Pessin affair, she declined to comment.
Meanwhile, outrage against Connecticut College continues to build, with a petition to investigate the Pessin affair and revoke the school's accreditation now exceeding 1,500 signatures. Just as the character assassination targeting the only pro-Israel voice at Connecticut College appeared as a total surprise, BDS campaigns to influence student government votes across the country pop up with minimal notice, just weeks before the vote, giving the opposition little time to organize. That strategy helped secure SJP a BDS victory at the University of Chicago undergraduate student government in March. It failed to persuade the university's administration, though.
Who is funding BDS? Analyst Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies recently told members of Congress that former employees of Hamas-linked charities now work for the Illinois-based organization American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), which is "arguably the leading BDS organization in the US, a key sponsor of the anti-Israel campus network known as Students for Justice in Palestine." Schanzer noted that AMP provides money, speakers, training and even "apartheid walls" to SJP campus activists. More surprising, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund has given anti-Israel BDS organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center.
On campus after campus, the BDS movement has proven itself to be well organized and determined to poison the minds of impressionable students against Israel. It will take an equally concerted and sustained effort to oppose BDS in academia.
Algemeiner, May 16, 2016
Who is the group called A Jewish Voice for Peace and why does it hide its funders from the public? Don’t be fooled by the name. JVP is an organization of extremists masquerading as Jewish advocates seeking a just peace for all people in the Middle East. Using the language of human rights and claiming to be acting in accordance with Jewish values, JVP demonizes, defames and delegitimizes Israel, labeling it an “occupier,”“apartheid” and “racist,” while embracing the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS) which would result in the destruction of the only Jewish homeland in the world.
With 9,000 dues-paying members and 60 chapters, JVP’s stated mission is to dilute support for Israel in order to end the Israeli “occupation” of the “West Bank,” Gaza and East Jerusalem, to resolve the Palestinian refugee problem and bring peace to the Middle East. JVP attempts to convince Jews that opposition to Israel is consistent with Jewish values, professing, “We work to build Jewish communities that reflect the understanding that being Jewish and Judaism are not synonymous with Zionism or support for Israel.”
But JVP’s mission statement is a smokescreen, the old “bait and switch” – to lure volunteers by feigning devotion to Jewish values, human rights and social justice and then to propagandize them into warriors in the global anti-Israel war of words as lethal as a war fought with bullets and bombs. The only thing this “voice for peace” wants is the delegitimization of Israel. In its “Nakba Fact Sheet,” JVP characterizes the founding of Israel as a “catastrophe” and blames Israel exclusively for creating Palestinian refugees, ignoring the roles played by five attacking Arab armies and local Arab leaders advising them to leave.
During the deadly, random Palestinian knifings of innocent Israeli civilians in 2015, JVP posted a Facebook statement referring to the attacks as “Palestinian popular resistance,” and praising “a new generation of Palestinians…rising up en-masse against Israel’s brutal, decades-old regime of occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid.” JVP uses the Palestinian Authority’s false argument of the threat to the Jerusalem Al-Aqsa mosque to validate murder.
Although it accuses the American Jewish establishment of stifling dissent and McCarthyite actions, JVP itself has a history of attempting to shut down debate. It disrupted the Taglit Birthright reunion, joined with other anti-Jewish groups to disrupt a New York city council meeting discussing a Holocaust commemoration and participated in campaigns to “shut down AIPAC” and “skip the speech” — Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to Congress. Brandeis University Prof. Ilan Troen explains, “If you’ve ever dealt with the JVP, they themselves are a semi-terrorist group, promoting the disruption of free speech and the inability of others to conduct public discourse.”
In response to the January 2015 Paris terror attacks, JVP merely expressed concern about Islamophobia, saying, “Muslims are at greatly heightened risk…in the context of pervasive, systemic and long-standing anti-Islam bigotry.” This “Jewish Voice for Peace,” despite its stated opposition to bigotry, never acknowledged that the murder of shoppers at the kosher market was an anti-Jewish act.
The Anti-Defamation League describes JVP as one of the 10 worst anti-Israel organizations in America: “While JVP’s activists try to portray themselves as Jewish critics of Israel, their ideology is nothing but a complete rejection of Israel.” In February 2015, JVP acknowledged that they fully endorse and promote the global BDS campaign, joining other radical leftist groups in advocating for “ending the occupation of all Arab lands” — not just the territory captured in 1967 — and the “right of return” of millions of Arabs to Israel. BDS proponents acknowledge that their efforts will ultimately result in the dismantling of Israel as a sovereign Jewish state. Omar Barghouti, a BDS founder, stated in 2011, “BDS National Committee … sees JVP as an important ally in the U.S.” Barghouti admits, “Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish state itself.”
JVP partners with American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) which, according to recent congressional testimony, has at least seven individuals on its staff or working with it “who worked for or on behalf of organizations previously shut down or held civilly liable in the United States for providing financial support to Hamas.” In 2013, JVP supported an AMP campaign to post signs demonizing Israel as apartheid and in 2015 it joined AMP’s “No US Tax Dollars for Israel” rally in Washington, DC.
JVP has raised money for the International Solidarity Movement, linked to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. ISM members have hidden terrorists from the Israeli military, provided funding to Hamas and participated in the Hamas propaganda effort in Gaza in 2014. JVP publicly associates with organizations having ties to US-designated terrorist groups and yet won’t disclose its funders. Why? According to IRS 990s and audited financial statements, JVP reported 2014 total contributions/grants of$1,407,148. Since its founding in 1996, significant growth in funding has allowed JVP to become a player in the Israel delegitimization campaign…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Gregory J. Lobo
ISGAP, May 13, 2016
What is known in English as Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) has made it to Colombia in the form of the Semana contra el Apartheid Israelí. The “week” consisted of a 4 hour session on April, Friday 22, at a public university in Bogotá, featuring Palestinian, South African, Brazilian and Colombian speakers, and a 4 hour cultural event the next day, featuring music and poetry. In continental terms, it was preceded by the launch of a BDS campaign in Chile at the Universidad de Chile, which included five days of sessions and meetings (April 11-15).
I learned about the event in Colombia from one the country’s leading dailies, El Espectador (The Spectator), in which on Saturday, April 23, 2016, there appeared a brief interview with Kwara Kekana, a young BDS activist from South Africa, who was visiting Colombia to participate in the event. No doubt having a Black activist from the country that actually invented and implemented real, historical apartheid (an Afrikaans term meaning “separateness”) gives the impossibly self-righteous Israeli “Apartheid” Week the appearance of a moral ballast that obviates the need for even a minimal skepticism regarding its outlandish accusations directed at Israel.
In the interview, Kekana opines that there are similarities between what is happening in Israel today and what used to happen in South Africa before 1994. This is, of course, the reductive logic employed by BDS and IAW to short-circuit critical thought and reflection, and win adherents. Everyone’s against apartheid—or should be, right? But what’s that got to do with Israel, a genuine multicultual country where Arabs and Jews live together—sharing buses, universities, restaurants, seats in an elected government, positions in a judicial system, etc.—not apart?
Indeed, the editors of the newspaper were clear that Kekana was expressing “her vision” of the conflict. They had the good sense to use scare quotes in their headline—“apartheid israelí”—and in the questions they put to Kekana they demonstrated commendable journalistic integrity, at times. In one of them, they even prompted her to reflect on the “grandes diferencias” (major differences) between the two conflicts. The prompt, however—as might be expected—was ignored by the activist interviewee.
On the other hand, Colombia Informa, an avowedly non-neutral news agency dedicated to “making visible the struggles for a just and egalitarian society,” pre-reported on the event—billing it as one which would familiarize people with “the situation of segregation that the Palestinian people suffer.” It also reported that the Colombian Jewish community wrote a letter of protest to the Dean of the venue for the event, a public university in Bogotá. This letter prompted at least one further letter to the Dean, from the Boston chapter of the so-called Jewish Voice for Peace (a small but notorious anti-Israel organization, widely known as a hate group), supporting Colombia’s IAW.
Revealingly (if unsurprisingly), the Colombian Communist Party, the third oldest political party in Colombia, supported the initiative—said by the CCP to be part of a series of acts “rejecting the disgusting practice of apartheid by Israel against Palestine.” With friends like this, it should be clear that IAW/BDS has as much future as Communism in Latin America (or elsewhere)…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
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Methodist Church Meeting Votes Down BDS Resolutions: Tamar Pileggi, Times of Israel, May 17, 2016—The United Methodist Church has rejected several resolutions calling for the 12-million-member Protestant church to divest from companies engaging in business with Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.
Anti-Israel Students at Connecticut College ‘Occupy’ Office of School President in Protest Over Investigation of Mock Eviction Notices: Lea Spyer, Algemeiner, May 16, 2016— A group of anti-Israel students at Connecticut College is “occupying” the office of the school’s president in protest over an investigation into mock eviction notices they posted across campus accusing the Jewish state of a series of crimes.
How New York Can Help Stop Europe’s Rampaging Israel Boycotters: Benjamin Weinthal and Asaf Romirowsky, New York Post, May 10, 2016— In America, the odious boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targeting Israel remains largely confined to university humanities departments, leaving Europe as the main battleground in the economic war on Israel. And now a bill in the New York Legislature may be the key to blunting financial and political damage to Israel in Europe.
Using the Language of War Makes Battling BDS Clearer: Jon Haber, Algemeiener, May 15, 2016 — Complex and contradictory language surrounds our conversations regarding the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and how to stop it. “Delegitimization,” “antisemitism,” “hypocrisy” and “misguided” are all words used repeatedly by BDS critics, just as “human rights,” “international law” and “free speech” are phrases we can count on hearing from proponents of boycott and divestment activity.