Sherwin Pomerantz

BDS is Just an Excuse for the Real Goal: Our Destruction

According to news reports US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said earlier today that while the United States opposes all efforts to impose boycotts on Israel or delegitimize the Jewish State, the job of fighting such efforts is made much more difficult by the current stagnation in the peace process.  Shapiro made the comments in interviews with both Israel Radio and Army Radio.

Amb. Shapiro’s statement:  “We staunchly oppose any effort to delegitimize or boycott or sanction Israel. We will never support this. We will fight together with Israel against all these efforts……however, we are in a period without negotiations and there is not even a possibility of launching negotiations in the near future. Negotiations have always been the most effective tool to defeat all of these efforts. This is also the best way to advance toward a solution of two states for two peoples.”

And then he added: “If there are no negotiations now, and most of the world does not believe that there will be any anytime soon, how can we still, first of all, fight against boycotts and sanctions and delegitimization, and how can we preserve the two- state solution as a realistic option?”

Really?  Is he really saying that unless there is an active peace process in place the United States of American cannot fight BDS?

How does the lack of a peace process affect the fact that Israel was created by a UN resolution that had nothing to do with the peace process, a resolution which our Arab neighbors refused to accept and over which they went to war so many times?

How does the lack of a peace process make it right to boycott Israel when there is no call to do anything at all about the slaughter in Syria, the beheading of Christians by ISIS, or the capture of four Arab capitals by America’s latest friend, Iran?

How does the lack of an active peace process justify calling for sanctions against Israel when our so-called peace partners have walked away from every opportunity to make peace in the last 67 years?  Does Shapiro really believe this?

My guess is that given his background, his knowledge and his commitment to his faith (our faith) and his people (our people); he is simply parroting the official line emanating from Foggy Bottom in Washington.  The President said virtually the same thing two weeks ago at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington and in his interview with Ilana Dayan earlier this week.  I won’t say we have an enemy in the White House but we don’t have a friend either.

Clearly, we are losing the battle when it comes to fighting BDS worldwide.  Thankfully the government earlier this week recognized the seriousness of the problem and has put it on the front burner.  But the question remains as to whether the current leadership here in Israel knows how to deal with the problem?  Given the age gap between our senior leadership and that of the people on campuses worldwide where the battle needs to be fought, my guess is we won’t get it right.

Ari Shavit in today’s Ha’aretz said it well when he opined:  “To overcome the BDS movement we need a two-pronged strategy; we need to be generous with the Palestinians while telling Israel’s impressive and just story; we need to acknowledge the right of our neighbors to self-determination, while denouncing anyone who denies our right to live as sovereigns in our historic homeland.”

And he continued:  “The profound failure of Israel’s public diplomacy over the past generation is not technical or coincidental. It stems from the fact that most of those fighting for Israel do not speak the language of human rights, and those who speak the language of human rights are not fighting for Israel. This has to change immediately. Only if we return ourselves to the right side of history can we sustain ourselves within history and ensure the future.”

And how do we return ourselves to the right side of history?  Martin Luther King said “Those who stand up for justice will always be on the right side of history.”  The BDS people and those who support them, and de facto, governments who ignore them as well are simply on the wrong side of history as their cause is not justice but rather the destruction of Israel.  Our job is to stand up for justice but we must do so in the language of human rights, ours, because no one else will do it for us!

About the Author
Sherwin Pomerantz is a native New Yorker, who lived and worked in Chicago for 20 years before coming to Israel in 1984. An industrial engineer with advanced degrees in mechanical engineering and business, he is President of Atid EDI Ltd., a 32 year old Jerusalem-based economic development consulting firm which, among other things, represents the regional trade and investment interests of a number of US states, regional entities and Invest Hong Kong. A past national president of the Association of Americans & Canadians in Israel, he is also Former Chairperson of the Board of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and a Board Member of the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce. His articles have appeared in various publications in Israel and the US.