BDS – coming full circle

As the European–funded BDS movement loses steam and becomes merely a university campus annoyance, it is worth reminding oneself what this essentially ethno-racist anti-semitic political movement stood for.

Supporters of BDS today state that the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS against Israel” was a movement tied to human rights and international law.

BDS, in actual fact, is far removed from either of those two laudable aspirations.

Officially founded in 2005, its real roots were embedded in the outcome of the anti-Semitic NGO Forum held in parallel to the UN World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa, in August and September 2001.

That Forum’s final declaration described Israel as a “racist, apartheid state” that was guilty of “racist crimes including war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing.”

The resulting “Durban Strategy” promoted a policy of complete and total isolation of Israel as an apartheid state, the imposition of mandatory and comprehensive sanctions and embargoes and the full cessation of all links (diplomatic, economic, social, aid, military cooperation and training) between all states and Israel.

Consequently, the BDS campaigns were conceived as a form of political war to achieve Israel’s isolation where military Arab force in 1948–49, 1956, 1967, 1967-70, 1973 and 1982 failed to wipe out the Jewish state.

This does not take into account the 1987-93 first “intifada”, and additional major military engagements in 1993, 1996, 2002, the second Lebanon war in 2006, and large scale operations against Arab Muslim Hamas in 2012 and 2014.

Clearly, the BDS movement had little to do with “human rights and international law” than it did with ethnically cleansing Jews from the Levant and putting an end to the Jewish state.

Unable to defeat the IDF militarily or weaken the Israeli population through persistent terrorism, the extremist groups, Islamic terrorists and their European allies embarked upon a global effort to demonize and isolate Israel, casting it as a pariah state. Thus, the utilization of Lawfare, became the main component of the “Durban Strategy”.

With the use of Lawfare, the BDS boycott campaign unwittingly sowed the seeds of its future impotence and failure as we shall see further in this article.

Historically though, the boycott campaign actually predates the establishment of Israel. In December 1945, the newly formed Arab League formally declared that: “Jewish products and manufactured goods shall be considered undesirable to the Arab countries.” All Arab “institutions, organizations, merchants, commission agents and individuals” were called upon “to refuse to deal in, distribute, or consume Zionist products or manufactured goods.”

Seventy years ago, as today, the terms “Jewish” and “Zionist” were used synonymously where Arab strategy was always to isolate Israel from its neighbors and the international community, as well as to deny it trade that might be used to augment its military and economic strength.

Sixty years later, the call for the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) in Ramallah on April 6, 2004 was merely an old idea in new clothing. And just the 1945 initiative failed to cripple Jews and the (later) birth of the State of Israel, so too the 2005 BDS campaign has failed to quantitatively impact the Jewish State.

That the BDS movement was always destined to fail can be found in the words of its putative founder, Omar Barghouti who stated: “I am completely and categorically against binationalism because it assumes that there are two nations with equal moral claims to the land.” And if there was any doubt as to what Barghouti meant he further clarified that “The one state solution means a unitary state, where, by definition, Jews will be a minority.”

Lebanese Muslim supporters of BDS and Barghouti like Asad Abu Khalil put it even more baldly: “The real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel….That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. 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.”

The sentiments above have little or nothing to do with human rights and/or international law. This is because:

  1. Arab gays and battered women regularly flee to Israel from both Gaza and Judea and Samaria.
  2. No Jews are allowed to live in Gaza or Ramallah while Israel respects the rights of 1.8 million Israeli Arabs within its borders.
  3. Israel jails its security risks while the “Palestinians” shoot, hang and then drag mutilated bodies around the city chained to motorcycles.
  4. Jews have a legal basis for living east of the Green Line in international law. The 1920 San Remo Agreement and 1922 Mandate of Palestine clearly laid out the rights of Jews to live throughout There was no such thing as a “West Bank” which was a Jordanian invention during the 1948-9 Israel war of independence. The arbitrary line (which Israel and the Arab states all agreed was NOT a border) has no bearing on where Jews can and cannot live.
  5. There is no basis in law for “occupying” disputed territory. While the UN General Assembly voted to partition Palestine in 1947, the vote did not create the two states. This is because, in 1948, Jews declared the State of Israel. The Arabs declared war. Further, the Arabs rejected the partition, as they sought the entirety of the land. The land east of the Green Line (EGL) remains disputed and subject to various agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, including Oslo II (1995).
  6. International law uses the term “occupation” only in relation to a foreign force taking over another country, not disputed land.
  7. Lastly, international law forbids seizing additional territory in an offensive action, not as a matter of defense as was the case of Israel defending itself from Jordanian attack in 1967.

BDS has failed because it was created as a tool of hate and ethnic cleansing. It was founded on a lie which was always going to be exposed.

Consequently, both Muslim and non-Muslim nations realised that economic, cultural and academic boycotts deliver no political message and in no way influence political policy.

And so, in America, back in 2015, Barack Obama signed into law, landmark legislation combating the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in Europe.

In February 2015, Canada officially and formally condemned the BDS movement on the grounds it abrogated the rights of Jews to live safely within defensible borders in a Jewish state through the subterfuge of economic sanctions.

In early 2016, Spain denounced the BDS movement as discriminatory.

By mid 2016 in America more than half of the states were considering legislating aimed at countering the BDS movement.

On June 17, 2016, the Dutch Parliament passed a non-binding motion calling on the government to “end as soon as possible direct or indirect funding for organizations… [that] promote a boycott of Israel.”

In September 2016, EU President Frederica Mogherini stated: “The EU rejects the BDS campaign’s attempts to isolate Israel and is opposed to any boycott of Israel.

Significant Israeli trading partners India and China with a combined population of2.3 billion potential customers totally ignore and shun BDS as ever closer economic and cultural ties between them develop.

In 2017, Israel trades with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Jordan and Egypt.

In 2017, Israel has a strong economy, a large part of which is driven by a booming tech sector that houses a number of premier Western tech firms. It’s difficult to see how even a massive surge in BDS campaigns could destroy that dynamic. And so far, BDS’s successes haven’t prevented Israel from seeing a steep increase in foreign investment in recent years.

  • Overall, Israeli exports have grown from around $5 million in 1948, to more than $47 billion in 2014.
  • The total volume of trade with the U.S. in 2014 was $36 billion.
  • Israel’s trade with the EU exceeds that of the U.S.. Roughly one-third of Israel’s imports and exports are a result of trade with the EU. Moreover, total trade with the EU has grown from approximately $21 billion in 2003 to $37 billion in 2013.
  • Countries outside of the EU such as Denmark, Sweden, and Norway cotniue to enjoy a free trade agreement Israel and business with these nations remains robust.
  • While the central hub of the BDS movement is in England, total bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to a record $6 billion in 2014, an increase of more than 7 per cent from the previous year.
  • Israel’s trade with Asia, which overtook the U.S. as Israel’s second biggest export destination expanded exponentially in 2016.
  • China is already Israel’s third-largest trading partner where trade has increased 220% from $50 million in 1992 to $11 billion in 2014.
  • Total trade between Israel and Japan reached $2.3 billion in 2014.
  • Israel’s relations with India have been steadily improving, as evidenced by the 2015 visit of Narendra Modi, the first Indian prime minister to go to Israel. Bilateral trade has grown from $200 million in 1992 to $6 billion in 2013. Between Modi’s election in May 2014 and November 2014, Israel exported $662 million worth of Israeli weapons and defense items to India. This export number is greater than the total Israeli exports to India during the previous three years combined.
  • Israel’s discovery of a large reserve of natural gas off its Mediterranean coast has led to a $15 billion deal for Israeli natural gas with Jordan, and a $1.2 billion agreement with Egypt.

BDS failed for six reasons:

  1. BDS was never pro-“Palestine”; it was always anti-Israel
  2. BDS betrayed its anti-Semitic mandate because people finally recognized that BDS was modern-day anti-Semitism that sought the end of one state, at the expense of a 2-state solution
  3. BDS was consistently and effectively fought by the Israeli government and the international Jewish community
  4. BDS underestimated Israel’s desirability in the world’s eyes as a diplomatic and economic partner
  5. BDS leaders played into the Netanyahu government’s hands by blurring the Green Line for their own reasons, and by mounting a campaign against all Israeli entrepreneurs and scholars
  6. BDS finally came face to face with very same International and local Lawfare where legislation, resolutions and executive orders were (and continue to be) signed prohibiting state agencies from contracting with or investing in companies that boycott Israel

BDS unwittingly came full circle; it finally defeated itself.

And just to drive the point home on the economic (let alone cultural) front, here are only a very few instances of the failure of BDS in 2016 alone:

I-phone 8 hardware developed in Israel

Israeli scientists announce possible Alzheimer breakthrough

Bank of Ireland shuts down anti-Israel BDS accounts

Spanish High Court Rules against BDS

Samsung Open Branch in Tel Aviv

El Al Profits Doubled in 2nd Quarter.

It would, then, in the final analysis, be true to say that in the past 12 years, the BDS movement did have a profound impact on investment in Israel: it tripled.

Which is as it should be.

Kol Tuv.

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