Jonathan-Simon Sellem
Spin Doctor

BDS up in smoke: Tobacco from Bahrain sold in Israel

It is often said, in religion, that a convert is more “rooted in his faith” or “extremist” than a “native” of the religion. It is the same with hatred of Israel. If you are born an Israeli Arab, even though you can occasionally criticize the country in which you live, you still fully enjoy the rights vouchsafed by Israel citizenship to all citizens of all religions. If you are a Palestinian, you can enjoy the largesse of Israel in health care, you can work for better pay, you can get free electricity, and you can blame the incompetence of Palestinian governments on Israel. But nothing more. If you are an Arab or a Muslim in another country, you focus on Israel so you can close your eyes on your own dictatorship. But money is money, and when business is on the line, you go for it, even with Israel.

But if you are a small leftist from Europe, what do you do? You protest against the Jewish presence in Israel (it would be so much better without Jews, right?), you denounce the fact that a people can grow, develop and trade with the world. You go so far that you protest even in supermarkets to denounce “Zionists.” Worse, you even boycott culture and sports, the only vectors of communication without universal political goals.

Living in Jaffa, an Israeli city where Jews and Arabs coexist in brotherhood, I often have the opportunity to shop in Arab grocery stores and other shops. This was the case yesterday.

A bottle of milk, some bread, two Kinder chocolates and a pack of water bottles in hand, I arrive at the checkout. On the counter, packets of hookah tobacco (shisha) with Arabic writing. So far, nothing shocking: that language is one of the three languages officially used in Israel, along with Hebrew and English. But my eye is caught by a pack positioned on the back. And there, a real amazement: “Barhain Shisha Tobacco,” written in large and in English on the box. And because there’s nothing to hide, in addition to the reference, the country’s flag appears at the top left of the box.

And don’t tell me that our friends in Bahrain did not know that this product will be sold in Israel: the packaging is written in Hebrew! Thus, this is a product from an Arab country with no diplomatic relations with Israel, which is commercialized and sold in the Jewish state.

And on the right, another packet of tobacco, without any reference to the source in large print. But on one of the sides, in very small letters, you can read that this tobacco comes from the United Arab Emirates.

Here are examples of two countries that probably have secret links, both diplomatic and economic, with Israel. Two Arab countries that have realized that the best way to achieve peace is to start exchanging, sharing, doing business. Two Arab countries which, in the end, show once again that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign requested by the European petite bourgeois in search of romance is worthless and not even respected by the Palestinians’ “brothers. Note that 70% of Palestinian trade is made with Israel; therefore, a Palestinian BDS on Israel would mean the end of the Palestinian economy and of its dreams of independence.

About the Author
Jonathan-Simon Sellem is a French-Israeli spin-doctor. He specializes in Influence Strategies and cyber technologies. He is passionate about history without being a historian and has published several books in French and English on the history of Zionism and its leaders.