Calling the BDS Bluff

As an Israeli, I find it amazing that the BDS exists in intellectual strongholds like Columbia University, where 40 professors recently signed a petition to divest from companies which “supply, perpetuate, and profit” from Israel.

Granted, there are close to 4,000 professors at Columbia, rendering 40 signatures rather pathetic. But the real question is, do these professors and other BDS activists practice what they preach?

The obvious answer, of course, is NO.

Time and again, BDS activists boycott companies, individuals, and items which are replaceable.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my Soda Stream, but one can always go to the supermarket and buy seltzer in a bottle. Less environmental, but doable. Ditto oranges and avocadoes: there is always Florida, California, Spain, and Italy.

Musicians are also relatively easy to boycott. Rihanna, The Stones, Dylan, Alicia Keys, Elton John, and Paul McCartney (to name just a few mega stars) play in Israel? Forget them! After all, there is always Roger Waters, former member of Pink Floyd and a BDS darling, who even goes so far in his blatant anti-semitism as to stick a Star of David on the behind of his floating pig.

What BDS activists don’t boycott is those companies which “supply, perpetuate, and profit” from Israel and produce items which are irreplaceable.

Take, for example, Intel, which produces approximately eighty percent of the world’s computer chips. Intel has such an active presence in Israel that the company just directed an extra five billion dollars toward its Kiryat Gat plant. Since establishing itself in the country forty-four years ago, the company has invested approximately 17 billion dollars in its Israel operations.

Then there is Apple, which has invested 1.2 billion dollars in its Israel hardware development centres. Four years ago, the company also paid Israeli company PrimeSense 360 million dollars for its 3D sensor technology.

Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft all have strong R and D centres. in Israel. Additionally, Microsoft has recently purchased three Israeli security firms to the tune of millions of dollars.

And the icing on the cake: last year Intel purchased Israeli company Mobileye for a whopping 15.3 billion dollars, after the company developed the vision and driver assistance technology required for self-driving cars.

They don’t call Israel the Start-up Nation for nothing.

Our modern lifestyle depends on the above companies. And there is no denying that they all support the economic health of Israel, Jews and Arabs alike (if you think that Israeli Arabs employed by these giants are keen on the BDS, think again.)

And I won’t even get into the cutting edge medicine and medical devices researched and produced in Israel.

In short, BDS supporters, like the late Steven Hawking, are of a pronounced “do as I say, not as I do” ilk (he signed on to the BDS but then continued to use Intel-produced communication devices.) If they weren’t such hypocrites, they would all be tossing their mobile phones into the nearest rubbish bins, smashing their tablets and iPads, and abandoning their laptops. They wouldn’t be using the internet to promote their hateful cause (bye bye electricintifada.) Those forty Columbia professors would be requiring handwritten term papers (good luck deciphering the penmanship, and getting Millennials to sign on to THAT!)

When the self-driving car revolution arrives, BDS supporters should be seen riding horses and mules. And, of course, when they are ill and in need of medicine and medical devices produced in Israel, or by a company with Israeli ties, they should maintain a stiff upper lip, and suffer for their principals.

Which, of course, they don’t, and won’t – but it’s high time that they did.

So, if you are one of the BDS pious, go ahead and boycott Israel. But do it properly, lest someone comes along, and so very, very easily calls your bluff.

About the Author
Brynn Olenberg Sugarman was born in New York City. She graduated from SUNY Binghamton with a BA in Creative Writing and from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem with an MA in English Literature. She is the author of "Rebecca's Journey Home," an award-winning children's book. She is also the author of "Midnight at the Taj Mahal," and "Speechless." Brynn lives in Ra'anana with her family, where she teaches English to kids, and writes for them. She is passionate about Israel advocacy, travel, vegetarianism, animal welfare, the environment, archaeology, and children's literature, and is fascinated by the notion of time travel.
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