Stephen Spencer Bond-Ryde

To B or not to B…DS

Here in the UK, many of us find the BDS particularly irritating. Counter campaigns are run against them, but often these are outweighed by the profile and publicity that that the BDS themselves generate. However, for entertainment, join the Sussex Friends of Israel (on Facebook) and watch their continued teasing, challenging and counter protesting down in Brighton. If you have not followed them, you are missing a treat.

It is difficult to fathom how an organisation such as the BDS is funded and manned. I have long maintained that without some sinister sponsor lurking in the shadows these organisations could not exist to this extent. The BDS is not a charity, it does not sell a product, yet it has significant manpower and operates globally.

Some UN backed NGO’s clearly have much to gain from allegiances with the BDS and its anti Zionist strategies. Organisations such as Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) who recently received funding from the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) ($328,000) and from the PfP – Partnership for Peace ($470,000) which in turn could provide assistance to the BDS. NGO Monitor said in 2013 that CWP was a “leader in BDS and demonisation campaigns, and in sponsoring ‘Nakba Day’ activities that amplify the Palestinian narrative.”

When religious organisations turn their efforts towards the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be an excellent vehicle for targeting and promoting specific anti Zionist agendas. Funds can be transferred to highly politicised NGOs. These NGOs, instead of acting as neutral third parties, often involve themselves directly as actors in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The BDS campaign views these religious organisations as a key target for co-optation and promotion of their agenda.

Finally, there is the alleged funding from benefactors such as George Soros. But now, in a perfect ironic twist, the BDS is demanding the boycott of Soros because, putting profit over principle, he invested in Israeli companies.

So with all of this backing, what could be nicer than putting the sizeable investment to good use here in the UK. Perhaps by standing outside shop fronts day in day out with your mates shouting, making funky banners and models, spending time planning campaigns with coalitions that are thousands of miles away for a people that they may never meet and constructing research to justify protests and actions. If I didn’t have a mortgage to pay and kids to put through school, a responsible full time job and so on, I wouldn’t mind doing that too (though maybe for a more appropriate and worthy cause).

Surely those volunteers could put their time to other uses like a full time job, spending time with their loved ones, supporting the local needy such as the elderly or the homeless. And even if we ignore these more noble and selfless efforts, what about the more indulgent and traditional Great British pastimes such as going down the pub, watching football, DIY, taking the dog for a walk or discussing the weather?

One sector that the BDS has previously turned their attention to is the Israeli export of medical products. Many strange bedfellows are prepared to protest and demean Israel for its medical innovations, ensuring that the world is NOT a safer and healthier place. But the BDS may wish to focus its attention on the latest medical issue that Israel is offering to address.

The Ebola epidemic has caused a media frenzy that has completely eclipsed the British media’s usual preoccupation with Israel’s continued battle with terror (or as the British media like to call it, Israel’s continued occupation and brutality towards Palestinians).

Shocking to the BDS and its cohorts comes the news that Israel is exporting state of the art Ebola Detection and Protection Equipment.

And worse still, whilst Israel is getting daily attacks from Palestinian terrorists, whilst mortars are still being fired into Israel from Gaza, while Egypt has closed its borders and razed Gazan homes on those borders, it is Israel providing this technology to Gazan and West Bank authorities.

So BDS, what to do? Protest to the UK government, start a campaign? Yes, campaign against Israel for supplying state of the art Ebola detection and protection equipment throughout Gaza, the West Bank and other neighbouring countries. Yes, demand that citizens of Gaza suffer the terrifying pain of exposure to this virus rather than benefit from Israeli humanitarian aid and technology. Because permitting Israel to export any of its produce contravenes the BDS anti Zionist boycott?

And now the sinister end game starts to emerge. The BDS does much to harm the prospects of the average Gazan or West Bank resident. It takes away health and security. It removes opportunities for prosperity and normality. It protests without intellect or care from thousands of miles away. Could it be that the real purpose being served is to keep the lot of the Palestinians low and to keep the agenda of the hate high. Well by intention or otherwise, they are succeeding in that, at least.

One final thought. What would Hamas do if the shoe was on the other foot. Would they provide aid to Israel if roles were reversed? Or would they venerate the Ebola virus as a “just killer”, as they have venerated those who murdered innocent men, women and children in Israel in the recent car and knife terror attacks?

About the Author
Like many Jews in London, the intolerable bias against Israel and Jews at large drove Stephen to make his voice heard. As an Ordinary Londoner, people have taken notice and he has made a difference. He found his voice. He continues to speak out.