February 20, 2014 15:31
by Alex Margolin
Proof that the SodaStream episode is helping change the conversation about settlements: a writer for the Independent went to visit the factory in Maale Adumim and realized that something was missing from the BDS analysis of the situation:
Not only are the anti-SodaStream campaigners barking up the wrong tree, they’re not even in the right forest. Apart from posing no threat to Palestinian nationhood and employing said Palestinians in large numbers, the reality of life in Ma’ale Adudim blows the case for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) to smithereens.
That 80% [of settlers] isn’t just geographically entwined with Israel, but economically too. Contrary to the assertions of many activists, boycotting just the West Bank and not Israel itself simply isn’t feasible. Beyond that, it’s morally wrong. The people who live in places like this aren’t criminals or fanatics, but Israeli citizens. As our visit demonstrated, they are quietly, and independently of the politicians, learning to co-exist with their Palestinian neighbours. This process will take a very long time and may yet fail, but it is palpably happening.
Meanwhile, a group from the Presbyterian Church, which has been deeply critical of Israel in the past, decided to forgo a boycott against Israel after making its own visit to the SodaStream factory.
Cinematic Strings renounces support for BDS: “we now consider the aims of the BDS movement to be extreme and counterproductive.”
Australian columnist Andrew Bolt wrote that the incident between Cinematic Strings and an Israeli Jew denied a student discount because he’s an Israeli Jew makes it “increasingly hard to tell the difference between the Greens-backed Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement and old-fashioned anti-Semitism.”
Deutsche Bank denies reports it was boycotting Israeli banks because of their branches in the West Bank.
“We wish to make it explicitly clear that Deutsche Bank is not boycotting any Israeli company,” Deutsche Bank told Haaretz, adding, “we have many funds that invest in Bank Hapoalim and many other Israeli companies.”
Other BDS-Related Content:
* Anyone looking to launch a boycott campaign can refer to this handy call for boycott against nine Israeli companies, starting with SodaStream for its “role in perpetuating the occupation of the West Bank.”
* The Jewish Museum in New York has come under criticism for hosting Judith Butler, a pro-BDS academic. The museum defended its decision to give Butler a platform, saying she was invited for her expertise on Franz Kafka, not her politics. But would Butler herself support hosting an Israeli academic because of a particular expertise without concern for national origin?
* David Bernstein looks at what a real analogy between Israel and South Africa would look like – and the Palestinians would be the ones having to answer for their failures. Meanwhile, Stephan Davis says it’s a mistake to dismiss BDS impact because the economic effect has been hardly felt. The real impact boycotts and sanctions had on the white minority in South Africa in the late 1980s was psychological:
Sanctions with the biggest bite were the smallest in pocketbook terms: the international sports boycott, for instance, or visa restrictions. These were blows to whites’ self image as part of a global community. The psychological impact of being labeled a pariah proved powerful. Just one year after the survey, the political environment had shifted enough that President F.W. de Klerk could release Nelson Mandela into a peaceful transition to democracy.
* Shurat HaDin, the Israeli Law Center, warned Oxfam that it may be sued over indirect ties to terror groups. According to the Jerusalem Post:
The letter alleges that Oxfam “provides financial aid and additional forms of material support to the Union of Health Workers Committees (UHWC) and the Union of Agricultural Workers Committees (“UAWC”), instrumentalities of the terrorist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (“PFLP”) in the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority.”