An Alternative BDS

Presenting a new idea to fight the campus campaign to divest from Israel: Donate Israel bonds to schools

A recent New York Times article declared, “When it comes to the Middle East on campus, the environment is increasingly uneasy and even hostile.“

The fact that Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) supporters have heightened efforts to fan the flames of anti-Israel/anti-Semitic activism on college campuses is unsurprising, particularly in light of the many setbacks the movement has suffered in its attempts to inflict damage on Israel’s economy.

This failure can be summed up by a June headline from “Israel Boycott Is Failing When Measured by Main Economic Gauge.

The article observes, “Signs (are) that an international movement to isolate Israel is gaining ground. Yet, an examination of foreign capital flow into the country shows the opposite trend — a steep increase [italics added]. Foreign investments in Israeli assets hit a record high last year of $285.12 billion, a near-tripling from 2005 when the so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement was started by a group of Palestinians.”

Additional setbacks have been noted even by Al-Jazeera, which, as we know, is not exactly a go-to source for pro-Israel information: “BDS advocates are facing a barrage of bills that condemn the movement as ‘anti-Semitic’ and bar state governments from contracting or funding entities that support boycotting Israel.”

Here is where they have met with a certain degree of success, for, as has been seen from the Vietnam War onwards, some college students and academics have protested against issues they perceive to be wrong or unjust. This has prompted BDS proponents to list college activity among the ‘successes’ posted on the movement’s website.

What can be done to push back? While it is true combating anti-Israel activity on campus in all its manifestations can be problematic, standing up to divestment is an entirely different issue.

At Israel Bonds, we have taken a firm, resolute stand against calls for divestment on college campuses, as can be seen from our new campaign, The Alternative BDS – Bonds Donated to Schools.

The Alternative BDS encourages Israel’s supporters to fight BDS on campus by making donations of Israel bonds to their school of choice, whether it be their alma mater or an institution being attended by a family member. Because the university must hold the bond(s) until maturity, it encourages the school to be invested in Israel for a sustained period of time.

Donating Israel bonds to universities counters BDS on two levels: it is a personal means of rejecting anti-Israel activism on campus; and, because proceeds from the bonds help build every sector of Israel’s economy, it is also a direct repudiation of the movement’s stated goal of damaging the country financially.

With college about to resume, BDS activists are gearing up to continue exploiting what they perceive as an important target.  Participating in The Alternative BDS campaign is a pointed means of categorically rejecting their efforts.

As an organization, Israel Bonds takes pride in the fact that BDS agitators have had no impact whatsoever on sales, whether it be from our loyal retail clients or institutional investors, including states, financial institutions, insurance companies and more.

Even as BDS activity has steadily increased, the Bonds organization has exceeded over $1 billion in annual U.S. sales each of the last three years. With nearly $800 million in 2016 domestic sales to date, we are on course for another exceptional year.

The significantly higher rate of sales in recent years – more than $4 billion domestically over the last four years alone – clearly shows many of our clients view acquiring Israel bonds – a direct investment in Israel – as a strategic means of saying “no” to the BDS movement.

Israel Bonds was founded 65 years ago to develop Israel’s economy.  Today, we take pride in the fact that it has proven to be among the most resilient in the world. As The Alternative BDS campaign shows, the Bonds organization stands ready to take action against those who seek to undermine one of Israel’s finest achievements – the building of a strong, durable economy.

About the Author
Israel "Izzy" Tapoohi is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Birthright Israel Foundation, the non-profit organization that raises funds in the US to support Birthright Israel trips. Tapoohi joined Birthright Israel Foundation after serving as President and CEO of Development Corporation for Israel Bonds from October 2011 - October 2016. Prior to Israel Bonds, Tapoohi held director positions on the boards of leading Israeli and international companies, including Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecommunications provider, and Africa-Israel Investments Ltd., an international holdings and investments group. He has been appointed to top-level advisory positions, including with the first and second Netanyahu governments, and has been involved with real estate and venture capital investments.
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