Thank You BDS

The boycott of Israel, the economic warfare waged by our enemies in an attempt to strangle our country through financial instruments, cultural disenfranchisement and the threats to companies and individuals who do business with Israel is not, by any means, a new weapon in the arsenal of our antagonists.

Even before the creation of the State of Israel, goods manufactured  by Jewish owned companies and agricultural produce grown on kibbutzim and moshavim, were banned from entry into any Arab state. After Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, the Office for the Boycott of Israel opened its doors in Damascus, Syria and established partner offices all over the Arab world. Their reason for being was to threaten businesses and individuals who either visited Israel, donated to Israeli/Jewish organizations, performed in pro-Israel cultural events and/or movies or, who were simply Jewish.

After Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor converted to Judaism (Monroe when she married Arthur Miller and Taylor when she married Mike Todd) their performances were banned throughout the Arab world. The same ban held for, and I believe he was the first motion picture star so “honored”, was Kirk Douglas for his film, “The Juggler” which was filmed in Israel in 1949 and dealt with the tragedy of a Holocaust survivor who had lost his entire family.

Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Sammy Davis. Jr, Disney Studios, Sophia Loren, Peter Finch, Edward G. Robinson, Charlton Heston, Paul Newman, all banned from the Arab world-the list could fill an entire volume.  The attempts today to stop performers from having concerts in Israel is unending. However, I truly believe Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones haven’t lost a single minute’s sleep over their inability to perform in Damascus, Cairo and Beirut. Banned also were books by authors like Leon Uris, Herman Wouk, Phillip Roth and, of course, all Israeli writers as well. Oh, before I forget, it is still illegal to bring a Bible into Saudi Arabia-oh, Jews are forbidden to visit the country as well. The Saudis had to give a special dispensation for Henry Kissinger when he was the American Sec’y of State, but they did give him a copy of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

This boycott also affected corporations. For many years, one could not purchase any vehicle made by the Ford Motor Company-even though Henry Ford was a vicious anti-Semite, his son was a leading pro-Israel speaker later. The only foreign cars available in Israel for many years was either the Japanese Subaru and, as part of the German reparations agreements in the 1950s, Volkwagens and Mercedes-Benz vehicles came to the country.

However, there were some successes against the Arab boycott-I don’t think that Kirk Douglas and Liz Taylor lost any sleep about their movies not being shown in Beirut or Baghdad. In 1951, the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corporation, the largest American distributor of cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco, decided not to sell any of their products in Israel. The Jewish War Veterans organization in the US, along with partner veterans’ groups, launched an ad campaign urging their membership not to purchase any items distributed by Brown and Williamson and they took out full page ads across the country in newspapers and radio spots, identifying those items. The tobacco company relented after a short campaign that cost them millions of dollars because not only did people stop buying their products, supermarkets, candy stores, and other shops stopped stocking their goods as well. The same happened to Coca-Cola which did not do business with Israel. In fact, the largest Coca-Cola  bottling plant was in Cairo, Egypt and, until the Egyptian seizure of Jewish owned businesses and property, was controlled by a wealthy Jewish -Egyptian family-by the way, which is today in litigation to reclaim their property.

Delicatessens, supermarkets (some of which the largest chains were either owned by Jews or had many Jewish customers/stockholders), restaurants, diners and other places of business and/or entertainment like catering establishments, stopped buying Coke and all their associated products. There were even instances where truckloads of Coca-Cola were dumped altogether and also, an advertisement campaign was launched against the company. Well, even though Coke lost its business in the Arab world with its far greater population than Israel, they have consistently done more business in the Jewish state than in the other Middle Eastern countries.

Counter-boycotts do work. I was personally thrilled when the new Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked and the Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely, have made the BDS campaign, one of their primary targets in the fight to halt this insidious movement and the attempts to de-legitimize the State of Israel. Their are countries, like the USA, where it is against Federal Law to participate in the boycott against Israel. Their are legal modalities that can be employed, like lawsuits challenging practices like restraint of trade, unfair tariff regulations and even, where necessary, using civil courts in actions of libel and slander. Use the criminal courts to prosecute vandals who destroy Israeli products on market shelves, and charge demonstrators with everything from disturbing the peace to assault when they physically attack counter-demonstrators.

But, now I’m going to do something rather out of the ordinary. I am going to thank the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement for their, certainly unintended, support for Israel. Here are my 10 thank yous to the BDS proponents. Sarcasm is a sword that I believe should be used as a saber to cut and dismember this scurrilous opponent.

I want to thank the BDS folks all over the world for:

1) Providing Israeli products and services with millions of dollars of free advertising and publicity for identifying those goods, services and Israeli individuals, entertainers and cultural icons which might not have been known to the public at large and supporters of Israel can now demonstrate their love for the Jewish state by purchasing Israeli products, using Israeli services and paying for books, movies and theatre tickets of Israeli personalities.

2)Making themselves known to their local populations and across the media world for the anti-Semites they are and permitting those individuals and organizations dedicated to combating this evil hatred definite targets for lawsuits, counter boycotts and opening themselves up to the light of day when we know that the Sunlight is the greatest weapon against a virus.

3)By exposing their Jew hatred they have proven that anti-Semitism still exists and flourishes even  decades after the Holocaust thereby renewing interest in fighting this form of bigotry.

4)By proving that anti-Israel demonstrations are, and have always been, inherently anti-Semitic regardless of the sophistry to the contrary. In the BDS assault on Israel’s “right to exist” the denigration of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination in its ancient homeland, thereby classifying Jews as something less than other people, is, without a doubt, the same philosophy used the the Nazis that declared Jews as “sub-human.” The comparison of the BDS movement today and the Nazi anti-Jewish boycott of the 1930s is clearly evident.

5) By forcing the closure of Israeli companies’ facilities in Judea and Samaria thereby inducing these businesses to relocate within the 1949 armistice lines, increases the employment opportunities for the native Israeli Arabs, Christians, Druse, Baha’i and others who live in the areas where these industries will relocate like the Galilee and the Negev Desert, where the employment rate among Israeli Arabs will definitely increase.

6) The closures and relocations of these companies and their factories from Judea and Samaria, will lead to thousands of “Palestinians” losing their employment and with that, the loss of the benefits that they earned while working for Israeli concerns-their health insurance, pension deposits and their monthly paychecks. In a way, the very people that the BDS movement wants to help, will get hurt the worst. This will only increase the emigration of these people, now at the rate of 15-20,000 per year, as they seek employment and a better standard of living abroad. Thank you BDS for helping Israel solve the “demographic” problem.

7) By forcing foreign companies to cease their business with Israel will compel homegrown industry and technology to replace those items and services no longer available here. This will lead to a boost in Israeli creativity and further enhance the “Start Up Nation” to greater heights and bring in more venture capital thereby strengthening, not weakening, the local economy. in effect, the continuing boycott of Israel has created the very atmosphere of self-reliance and profitable risk taking that has made Israel into the “Silicon Valley” it is today. Israel is the third nation with the most companies listed on NASDAQ-more than the Arab nations combined-thank you BDS.

8) For creating a massive public movement among otherwise non-interested Jews in their identification with the State of Israel through the unbridled anti-Semitism of the BDS movement. By attacking the Jewish State, these insidious folks, have made millions of Jews all over the world become Israel conscious.

9) Many Jews, especially in Western Europe, are now seriously contemplating aliyah (immigration to Israel) as the BDS movement in their countries has also sparked a pandemic of outright Jew hatred and reminded our people of their tenuous and perhaps dangerous, existence where they find themselves today. As an example, the number of French Jews immigrating to Israel has TRIPLED since last year and aliyah conferences in France, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Norway, are filled to the rafters with Jews seeking to come home to Israel-thank you BDS.

10) Thanks to the BDS movement and its lackeys and supporters, the people of Israel have realized that only a right wing, nationalist government can provide the security and foster the self-reliance that we need to survive in a world that has never loved us and a world that would rather see us dead and gone.

On a final note, I haven’t mentioned the magnificent contributions of Israel in the field of medical technology and pharmaceuticals as that would take a far more knowledgeable  writer than myself-those advancements and accomplishments in the field of human health would, and does, deserve its own volume.

Therefore, to show that I do believe in standing firm on one’s principles and holding true faith to one’s personal ideology, I want to recommend and advocate that all the BDS supporters, wherever they live on this planet, hold fast to their beliefs and if they ever find themselves at death’s door, or suffering from an excruciatingly painful and agonizing illness, that they abjure from employing Israeli medications or the use of Israeli designed and/or manufactured diagnostic tools, machinery or surgical techniques, and suffer deeply and die in unbearable pain knowing that they held their beliefs to the last.

About the Author
Irwin was born in New York City and is now retired. He lives in Maaleh Adumim since making aliyah 7 years ago.