The Methodist Church in the UK has created an on-line survey to ask for opinions on BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – a global economic, academic and cultural campaign to apply political pressure on Israel.
In a nutshell, supporters of BDS argue that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank since 1967 is brutal and contradicts international law. It must be stopped.
Israel’s advocates believe that this is a politically-correct truth, wrapped up in a lie. It is George Orwell’s newspeak at its most triumphant. After all: -
- Why is there no equivalent protest against the brutal occupation of Northern Cyprus by Turkey or against what is happening in Kashmir?
- Why do the BDSers not protest at the continuing Palestinian violence, against Israel civilians and against its own people?
- If so just, why has the appeal to international law never been upheld at the court in Hague?
- Why do BDSers not complain about human rights’ abuses in China (or elsewhere) and thus stopping buying goods from there?
I am not an expert of Methodism, which arose in the 18th Century as a response to perceived hypocrisy in the established Church of England. I do believe that any true religion does not look to generate separation, distrust and hatred. Rather it should be seeking to invest in co-existence at grass roots level. In the past few years, Israel has made the following advances towards working with Palestinians: -
- Contrary to BDS circulars, Israel helps to provide extra water and sewage solutions to the Arabs, inside and outside the Palestinian territories.
- President Peres recently invited the Barcelona football team to Israel, and great efforts were made to ensure that the players visited Ramallah.
- A new scheme has been launched to ensure that 500 Arab teachers are employed in Israeli schools
- Increasing numbers of Arabs – Christian, Muslim, female – can be found serving in the Israeli army
- The ‘Save A Child’s Heart’ campaign in Tel Aviv has saved the lives of hundreds of Palestinian children with cardiac conditions over the past two decades. (Actually, the team is currently involved in a unique project in Tanzania. Should that too be boycotted?)
All that is left for me to understand is what precisely the proponents of the boycott intend to achieve? Yes, they can put pressure on celebs like Stephen Hawkings not to visit Jerusalem, even though the very tools keeping the professor alive are powered by Israeli tech. Please note that Microsoft, Siemens, HP, General Motors, Facebook, R&D centres operating in Israel and turning out services for the whole world. Just check out on the internet re the levels of foreign investment in Israel. (However, I suggest caution before using Google, as it is co-owned by an Israeli.)
PWC estimates that Israeli exists in 2012 were valued at US$5.5 billion (mainly from overseas) and this figure will be topped in 2013. This year has already seen:
- IBM purchase Trusteer, which protects millions of bank accounts in the UK and America from computer theft.
- Communications giant, Cisco, add intucell to ten other Israeli acquisitions. These applications are found next to the television set and in the phones of billions globally.
- Facebook buy onavo to enhance its mobile app capability.
Should these deals be reversed, and why? Warren Buffet, French retailer Kiabi, health giant Prolor Biotech and so many more have upped their positions in Israel during 2013, effectively benefitting millions internationally.
So what is BDS really trying to say? If I refer back to the position of the Israeli advocates, they point out that one of the founders of BDS, Omar Barghouti, advocates for the total destruction of the Jewish state of Israel, even though he studied at the University of Tel Aviv.
I suppose this same Barghouti would boycott all the theories and the science of Albert Einstein, because the estate of this Nobel Laureate has been dedicated in its entirety to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This leaves many to believe that BDS is another name for the theory of relative hatred.