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October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘BDS’

The Potential Impact Of BDS On American Jewry

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

A friend of mine posed an interesting question to me in light of a vote on a divestment resolution at the CUNY Doctoral Students’ Council several weeks ago:

What effect, if any, might BDS have on college credits issued by yeshivot and seminaries in Israel?

As I thought about it, I realized the boycott and divestment movement actually does have the potential to do considerably more damage to Jews in America than it does to Jews in Israel.

Consider a scenario where a few American colleges cut ties with Israel. In practice, this means they don’t allow Israeli lecturers to teach from their lecterns, bar Israeli research and researchers from their laboratories, and end study-abroad programs in Israel.

A likely consequence of the discontinuation of Israeli study abroad is that colleges that divest would stop accepting “yeshiva credits,” as they’re known colloquially.

If that happens, many young Jewish adults in Brooklyn and beyond will feel the effects of a forced change in trajectory.

Granted, we’re probably still a long way from that kind of thing happening, but it’s not all that farfetched a possibility.

In our hypothetical scenario, a group of students convinces another group of students that Israel is the devil. They stop doing research or business with Israeli universities. Next, the anti-Israel crowd moves up from doctoral students to the student senate. Suddenly, none of the student groups at CUNY wants to do business with Israel.

And while faculty members are often split on issues, it’s entirely conceivable that the faculty under these circumstances might approve some kind of divestment. And once the adults in the room decide they don’t like Israel, it’s only a matter of a few bureaucratic cycles before the entire university implements a boycott – bells, whistles, and no more seminary credits.

Now, I realize I’m “catastrophizing” here, as my father would call it. It’s not clear to me that the BDS movement is strong enough politically to convince ivory-tower movers and shakers to boycott the only democracy in the Middle East.

Nor is it a given that a standard BDS policy would, in fact, invalidate credits earned while studying in Israel. It is, however, a possibility that should be carefully weighed.

In a world where a gap year between high school and college would no longer earn a student between 26 and 30 credits of electives, an entire additional year of classes would be required to compensate.

For a college student like me, that’s a terrifying thought.

In communities where marriage during one’s early 20s is common and getting an education and a job is top priority for young people, the credits amassed in that gap year are extremely important. If universities were to stop accepting them as a result of backhanded politics, the educational – and, ultimately, vocational – progress of many young people would be unfairly delayed.

Although Israelis are, as I understand it, entirely confident the BDS movement will have no effect on Israel and its economy, American Jews need to consider the possible repercussions over here.

Depending on a student’s background, a full additional year at a university may have unintended and perhaps deleterious consequences. That extra year could delay marriages and families from being built. It could also result in an increase in the number of religious students who see their commitment to Judaism weaken in the diverse and secular environment of a college campus. There’s a good reason why many students fortify themselves spiritually by immersing in religious study for a year prior to college.

The CUNY Doctoral Students’ Council has postponed the divestment resolution vote, but it isn’t dead yet.

We should make it clear to elected officials, university administrators, and professors that we support Israel’s right to educate American Jews who choose to study there. Let’s talk to them and urge them to do the right thing: Say no to BDS. 

SWIFT Refuses to Suspend Israel, Russia

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) has announced it will not buckle to pressure to disconnect Israel – or for that matter, Russia – from its international transaction system.

“SWIFT regrets the pressure, as well as the surrounding media speculation, both of which risk undermining the systemic character of the services that SWIFT provides its customers around the world. As a utility with a systemic global character, it has no authority to make sanctions decisions,” the group said in a statement released on Monday.

“SWIFT services are designed to facilitate its customers’ compliance with sanctions and other regulations, however SWIFT will not make unilateral decisions to disconnect institutions from its network as a result of political pressure,” the communique said.

The international Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement has been trying to pressure the system – as well as numerous corporations and other systems – to boycott Israel in an attempt to destroy its economy. BDS supporters are hoping that through economic destruction, Israel will be forced to withdraw from territory it won in the defensive war forced upon it by Arab nations in 1967 – including numerous Jerusalem neighborhoods restored to the Israeli capital since that time.

Disconnecting Israel from SWIFT would isolate its economy from international trade. However, the Brussels-based SWIFT is incorporated under Belgium law, the system noted, blocking it from making such unilateral decisions.

“Any decision to impose sanctions on countries or individual entities rests solely with the competent government bodies and applicable legislators. Being EU-based, SWIFT complies fully with all applicable European law,” the statement said.

Last month, the SWIFT system transmitted more than 21 million financial messages per day between more than 10,500 financial institutions and corporations, in 215 countries, according to the RT news site.

Over the summer there were discussions among EU leaders on whether to consider disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT system as means of pressuring Moscow into backing away from the Ukraine conflict.

Video Exposes Massive and Violent Anti-Semitism on US Campuses [video]

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Jews on American campuses from coast-to-coast are trying to wake up Americans to be aware that violent anti-Semitism is spreading plague, but the students are a weak voice, living in fear and asking, “Never again?”

The Jewish Voices on Campus’ Aaron Goldenberg posted a video this week on the Legal Insurrection website that exposes widespread hate and violence that have become so common place that, in the words of one California student, “it is expected.”

The Jewish Press this past year has published dozens of reports of racist and violent anti-Semitism, including here, here, here, and here. The reaction of American Jewish leaders, let alone non-Jews, has had zero effect. Even worse, there is no lack of American Jews, totally detached from Israel and from Judaism, who throw fuel on the fires of hate by damning Israel for its very existence.

It is totally un-American even to suggest that the United States is not a freedom-loving country.

It is not acceptable to think aloud that Nazism could dominate America.

The American psyche, still imagining that God, Mom, and Apple Pie are the foundations of the country, cannot even consider that the radical Muslim revolution in Europe has sown its seeds of hate and anarchy in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Jews on campus are too afraid to be brave. The same goes for Canada, where a University of Calgary student says he is “paranoid” and sometimes “afraid to walk by myself” on campus.

“Being against Israel has become the cool thing to so,” according to Harvard University student Michael. [No last names were used in the video – ed.]

At Kent State University, a professor freely calls his students his “little jihadists” and teaches them that Israel is the spiritual heir to Hitler.

The same professor is on the terrorist watch list.

It is not very re-assuring to know he is being watched.

Violent anti-Jewish and anti-Israel rallies have sent dozens of Jewish students to hospitals.

Gideon of the University of Arizona relates that after he refused entry to his residence to someone whom he did not know and who had brought alcohol with him, he was faced a few minutes later with a gang of 20. “I was struck from behind and was unconscious,” he says. “I was in the hospital for three weeks…with a skull fracture and concussion.”

His conclusion is frightening: “It is sad to see,” he moans.

That’s it? Sad?

Anti-Semites, whites, blacks, Hispanics, Muslim – you name it – are cursing and physically attacking Jews and burning Israeli flags, and it is “sad?”

Is anyone listening?

Campus officials utter empty statements “condemning” violence. Jewish leaders rant and rave. And violence continues.

The Jewish Press reported this week that one university suspended the Students for Justice for Palestine group for one whole week for violating the civil rights of Jews. One week.

SJP was re-instated because it promised to behave nicely.

Put that in the “items to remember” folder.

Wllliam Jacobson wrote on Legal Insurrection, “We have posted many times about how the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, through faculty and Students for Justice in Palestine branches, has turned campuses and classrooms into political battlefields in the worst way.

“When Northeastern University SJP marches to the chant of “Long Live the Intifada,” they are celebrating the bloody suicide bombing campaign.

“When Vassar College SJP pickets a class and forces a professor to walk the gauntlet just because the course involved a trip to Israel, and anti-Israel students jeer Jewish students who spoke up for Israel, they are sending a message of continued conflict — so it was no surprise when Vassar SJP tweeted out a Nazi cartoon….

Woolworths Hits Back at BDS with Lawsuit Threat

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

The South Africa-based Woolworths retail chain is threatening to sue the Boycott, Divest and Sanction group over customer and staff safety.

“Our employees, of all faiths and cultures, are telling us that they are feeling increasingly threatened by the protests,” Woolworths spokesman Babs Diamini said this week, according to South Africa’s Times Live.

“What’s more, the families of our employees have reported being abused and sworn at by BDS. If this continues we will consider taking further precautions, including legal action against the individuals involved,” Diamini said.

Just as BDS has the right to protest, said Diamini, the chain’s employees have the right to work, and its customers have the right to shop without being intimidated.

She added that it is not clear why Woolworths is being targeted and other major corporations are not, because “more than 95 percent of our food is sourced locally [and] the government continues to authorize trade with Israel.”

Other companies with ties to Israel include Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Danone, Nestle and Motorola. But BDS activist Mohammed Desai made it clear the movement would stay focused on Woolworths, acknowledging the group could not tackle every target at once.

“For now, Woolworths is our target. They are making a grave mistake by ignoring us and if we go to all those retailers our campaign will be diluted.”

BDS activists have demonstrated at more than 40 protests targeting Woolworths around South Africa. The group says it plans to raise the pressure at the retail giant’s annual general meeting on November 26.

Woolworths Holdings Limited is a South African chain of retail stores and one of the largest in the country, modeled on Marks & Spencer of the United Kingdom. The Woolworths brand incorporates a series of food stores, some of which are attached to department stores, while others stand alone or are attached to Engen petrol stations in prosperous urban areas. Some branches include an in-store restaurant, branded as “Cafe W”. Woolworths goods are sold at 149 corporate stores, 51 international franchise stores throughout the rest of Africa and the Middle East and 69 South African franchise stores nationwide. The chain was named after the United States chain F. W. Woolworth Company but, because of the contemporary trademark laws, the name was legally used without permission. No financial connection ever existed between the companies.

ZIM Shanghai Unloads at Port of Long Beach, No BDS Problems

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

The ZIM Shanghai successfully unloaded its cargo at the Port of Long Beach without any delays or problems.

The Shanghai was unable to unload at its previous port of call, the Port of Oakland, after ILWU 10 union workers (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) refused to unload the ship. ILWU 10 claims that violent demonstrators intimidated and physically threatened the workers.

At least two groups were demonstrating at the Port of Oakland, “Block the Boat for Gaza”, and the “Stop Zim Action Committee”. Members of ISM, the “International Solidarity Committee” were also spotted at the protests.

At once point some demonstrators were reportedly told to leave their Hamas flags at home due to the bad publicity their support for the Hamas terrorists was generating.

The ship sailed on to the Port of Long Beach, which is the second busiest container port in the US, after the Port of Los Angeles which it adjoins.

ILWU 10 is currently in a contract battle with the Port of Oakland, and there are claims that the union tried to use the BDS protesters as pawns in their negotiations.

There are questions if ZIM ships will continue to try to use the Port of Oakland anymore. The loss of ZIM’s business would ultimately just hurts the workers and the local community.

Jon Banquer reported on Twitter that the ship experienced no delays at the Port of Long Beach and is now on its way to its next port of call in Russia:

Jon Banquer @JonBanquer ZIM Shanghai unloads/loads with no delays at Port of Long Beach. Ship now on its way to Vostochny Port in Russia #BlockTheBoat #stopzim fail

BDS protesters regularly try to stop ZIM ships from docking and unloading at ports around the United States, but the Port of Oakland is the only port where ZIM ships have had any real problems.

Port of Oakland Loses as ZIM Moves to Friendlier Shores

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

On Sunday night, after not being able to unload at the Port of Oakland over the weekend, the ZIM Shanghai decided to head to the friendlier Port of Los Angeles, where BDS protests are ignored and ZIM ships are unload, unhindered.

The ship will arrive there Tuesday.

On Saturday, ILWU 10 and 34 released a statement claiming they are not involved in the BDS protest against unloading Israeli owned ZIM ships at the Port of Oakland, and that their workers were physically threatened by the BDS protesters. They claim their leadership and management have no role in organizing the conflict.

ILWU statement on blockage of Zim vessel by protesters at Port of Oakland, Sept. 27, 2014:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: At 6:00 PM Saturday, ILWU Local 10 and 34 represented longshoremen and clerks dispatched to work the vessel ZIM Shanghai at SSA’s Oakland California Terminal were met with hostile demonstrators, effectively blocking all access to the terminal. Longshoremen and Clerks trying to report to work were threatened physically at some points of ingress and their personal vehicles were physically blocked. As such, all personnel stood-by outside of the demonstration perimeters for health and safety purposes. At approximately 8 PM SSA released all personnel from work.

As far as the union can ascertain, the protests are organized by a coalition of individuals and organizations that plan events and create action alerts under the name of “Block the Boat for Gaza” online.

The ILWU is not among the groups organizing the protests, and the leadership and membership of the ILWU have taken no position on the Israel/Gaza conflict.

The union released the statement after claims arose that some in their leadership were using the BDS protest to bolster their contract negotiating position with the Port. ILWU 10 workers are currently working without contracts.

The Port of Oakland is also the only port in the United States where BDS protesters have been able to intimidate and physically threaten the Longshoremen into not working.

Looking at photos of the individual protesters, it is kind of hard to imagine them physically intimidating any Longshoreman.

To their credit, some Longshoremen expressed their anger at the BDS protesters this week, cursing them, and one worker even tried to run past the protesters in their car through a back gate to try to get to work.

Members of the virulently anti-Israel ISM organization were also spotted at the BDS protest.

If union leaders were trying to use the protesters as part of their negotiations, as some claim, it appears they overplayed their hand.

The BDS protesters are looking at this as victory, but in reality, there are only losers in Oakland.

ZIM may not call on the Port of Oakland again, certainly not until the ILWU 10 has a contract and guarantees to unload ZIM ships. Other shipping companies wary of the port’s unreliability may also consider the same.

With an estimated 150 ZIM visits a year, that’s a lot of business and perhaps even jobs for the City of Oakland to lose.

Port of Oakland Under Siege Again by BDS

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

The Port of Oakland once again finds itself once again under BDS assault, as protesters try to block the unloading of ZIM ship.

Unlike other ports, ILWU Local 10 (International Longshoremen and Warehousemen Union), doesn’t have a negotiated contract in place with the port, and the BDSers keep trying to take advantage of that. That is also why the BDS protests have failed at every other port, where contracts are in place.

According to some reports, the Union leaders are actually using the BDS protesters as unwitting tools to negotiate a better contract for their union.

At least one angry workers tried to drive his car through a side gate on Saturday and get past the protesters and to get to work. Other workers are cursing the protesters.

Last time ILWU 10 recognized the long-term damage it was potentially creating for itself, and found a way to safely get around the BDS protesters – after all, workers want to have work.

AnarchoZionist tweeted that the BDS Jihad protesters were told to leave their Hamas flags home this time, apparently as it made the protesters look bad.

BDS protesters wave Hamas terrorist flags at Port of Oakland protest.

BDS protesters wave Hamas terrorist flags at Port of Oakland protest.

As a result of the protests, the Port of Oakland is getting a bad name, potentially ZIM and other shippers could decide to skip that port entirely and move to friendlier ports, and the economic hit Oakland would take would be noticed.

But once the ILWU has a contract in place, the BDS protests will find themselves emasculated, such as what happened in Tampa, Florida last week, where BDS protesters couldn’t even get the ZIM unloading delayed.

Its only a matter of time, before this Oakland protest fails again – but at what damage to Oakland?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/port-of-oakland-under-siege-again-by-bds/2014/09/28/

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