Posts Tagged ‘BDS’
The official SANA Syrian news agency has announced its exports have reached $143 million this year, but the accompanying photo shows Israeli ZIM containers.
Does this mean Syria is renewing relations with Israel?
Or perhaps it means that the Boycott Israel movement missed the boat, so to speak, and should be picketing Syrian and not California ports.
In any case, according to SANA, “Textile exports have witnessed a considerable growth…and they were mainly exported to Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia and Italy.”
Lebanon? Beirut also is renewing ties with Israel?
The provost of Harvard University, with the backing of the university’s president, announced there will be an investigation of the decision made by Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) to boycott an Israeli company.
While this latest decision is welcome, the language of the university’s statement left room for the university to “investigate” and to redistribute a policy that should have prevented the boycott decision, but to do nothing more.
As explained in yesterday’s Jewish Press article, “Harvard Boycotts SodaStream (Despite Company’s Surrender)” some Harvard students complained about the presence of the Israeli company’s SodaStream machines in some Harvard university dining halls. The presence of those machines “might offend” Palestinian Arab students.
SodaStream’s main factory is located less than five miles from Jerusalem. It employs approximately 900 Arabs, but opponents of Israel prefer to force actions that will deprive those 900 Arabs of the best chance they have of making a decent salary in order to “punish” the Jewish State. SodaStream has already announced it is moving the factory away from the Arabs. Despite that capitulation, the Harvard students continue to support a boycott of SodaStream by the university.
After a few meetings with various administration officials and students, the managing director of HUDS, in consultation with the Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde, made the decision to remove the SodaStream label from the machines, sever the business relationship with SodaStream, and switch to different providers.
A Jewish student who is a member of two anti-Israel Jewish organizations, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and Open Hillel, attended the SodaStream boycott meetings. Rachel Sandalow-Ash gleefully commented for the Crimson on the boycott decision. She noted some students were disappointed that HUDS declined to issue a statement announcing its boycott decision, but she was glad the university “was receptive.”
The obsequious behavior by the administration (imagine removing the name of a company because some students simply could not bear to be in the same building with a machine bearing the name of an Israeli company!) may, it turns out, have violated Harvard policy.
Provost Alan M. Garber issued a statement about the matter. Garber wrote that he and Harvard University’s president Drew Faust only learned of the SodaStream issue on Tuesday. He informed the community that President Faust:
asked staff to get to the bottom of how these conversations started and to learn more about where matters currently stand. Regardless, Harvard University’s procurement decisions should not and will not be driven by individuals’ views of highly contested matters of political controversy. If this policy is not currently known or understood in some parts of the University, that will be rectified now.
So the university policy of not allowing procurement decisions to be driven by politics will be made known, presumably, to all with procurement responsibilities. That part is clear.
Decisions “should not” be made exactly the way the SodaStream boycott decision was made, according to those involved and as reported by the school’s newspaper.
But will the boycott decision be revoked and harvard’s business relationship with SodaStream revert to its pre-April status? Garber’s statement elides that point.
We’re still waiting for the answer to that question, which The Jewish Press posed to a Harvard spokesperson earlier today.
Earlier this month there was a corporate-sponsored event at Harvard University which included a panel advocating the virtues of the BDS Movement (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel). Now we now learn of a recent decision by the Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) to suspend its contract with the Israeli carbonated water machine company SodaStream.
This boycott of the Israeli company was described in an article in Harvard’s school newspaper, The Crimson: “HUDS Suspends Purchases from Israeli Soda Company.” It is sure to ignite the ire of any who believe the last thing a university dining service should get involved in is international disputes, let alone those who will be outraged that any part of Harvard University is boycotting an Israeli company.
That decision by some in the Harvard administration should give pause to the parents of the 6,400 students in each class who will be spending a total of approximately $240,000 to attend the college for four years, while the university condones and participates in a movement to financially strangle a company simply because it is based in the Jewish State.
SodaStream, you may recall, was targeted by the BDS movement because its main factory was located less than five miles from Jerusalem, in the town of Maale Adumim. This town is across what Israel-haters support as an Apartheid Line (the “Green Line”) beyond which no Jews should live, breathe, work or employ Arabs, the BDS crowd actively sought to boycott the company.
Put aside the fact – which is mentioned in the Crimson article – that SodaStream already surrendered to the hatred and will move its operation to an area in which it is still largely deemed acceptable for Jews to own property (ironically this move means the loss for many if not all of the company’s 900 non-Israeli Arab workers of their highest possible paying employment). Yes, put aside that fact. That is what Harvard did when it chose to boycott SodaStream because, in the words of one of the students involved: “the machines and their association with the disputed territory could be offensive to Palestinian students.”
That student, Rachel J. Sandalow-Ash, a member of Harvard University’s Progressive Jewish Alliance and the Open Hillel movement, explained why she believed the Harvard University Dining Services had to remove the Israeli company’s machines:
I think it is neither anti-Israel of anti-Semite [sic] to take [a] stand against the occupation. These machines can be seen as a microaggression to Palestinian students and their families and like the University doesn’t care about Palestinian human rights.
In other words, no matter what Israel does, even caving to the demands of the haters will have no impact on the strength of the protest.
Such a position might move one to refrain from taking any action to accommodate the pain of others, mightn’t it?
In addition to Sandalow-Ash, whom the Crimson identified as present at the meetings preceding Harvard’s decision to boycott Sodastream, also present were representatives from HUDS, Lowell House Masters Diana L. Eck and Dorothy A. Austin, Mather House Co-Master Michael Rosengarten and Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde.
Following the discussions, according to the Crimson article, the Harvard Dining Services “agreed” to remove SodaStream labels on the machines they already have and to purchase machines from other companies in the future.
Repeated efforts to obtain input from David Davidson, managing director of Harvard University Dining Services, Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde, Harvard University president Drew Faust and Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow were unsuccessful, as were attempts to obtain a response from rabbis at Harvard’s Hillel.
The big news coming out of the west coast this week seems bad for Israel. If you listen to or read the news as most people do, the gist of the story was that the University of California voted to join the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divest from and Sanction Israel) movement.
What actually happened was that 65 percent of the voting members of the union representing the teaching assistants, readers and tutors and other student-workers at the University of California voted to join the national BDS movement.
That union, the UAW 2865, has more than 13,000 members. Fewer than 2,200 voted. That’s less than 17 percent of the total membership which voted, and of that number, only 65 percent voted in favor of the resolution. That means only 11 percent of the UAW 2865 membership voted to join the BDS movement. And that’s in California!
Still, it was a democratic election and the Resolution passed.
What exactly does the UAW 2856 BDS Resolution entail? Will Israeli academics no longer be permitted to speak at UC schools? Will Israelis be barred from attending UC schools? Will SodaStream no longer be used at UC events?
Of the three scenarios posed, only the last one could arguably be an issue under the UAW 2865 BDS Resolution, but it’s unlikely anyone is using SodaStream at UC events anyway.
The Resolution actually does very little. It calls on the University of California to “divest from companies involved in Israeli occupation and apartheid; it calls on the UAW International to do the same; and it calls on “the US government to end military aid to Israel.”
In other words, UAW 2865 BDS Resolution simply allows a group of self-righteous Israel haters to join together to ask the University of California to do something it will not do.
As for the U.S. government heeding the call from this tiny group of rabble-rousers? Not bloody likely. Finally, it is simply astounding that the UAW 2865 International has not already taken the action sought in this Resolution. Shouldn’t the members be sharing their hatred at home, first?
So, really, energy should not be expended worrying about the effects of this BDS resolution.
However, a group of knowledgeable non-profit organizations joined together and asked a very good question: are these teaching assistant and other student-workers permitted to engage in teaching their viewpoint about Israel to the UC students, as the organizers promised to do?
The AMCHA Initiative and 11 other pro-Israel organizations (see the full list at the end of this article) sent a letter to UC PResident Janet Napolitano several months ago, when the UAW 2865 vowed to push for a vote on its BDS Resolution.
In that letter, the pro-Israel organizations refer to a UAW 2865 public pledge:
We have a responsibility as educators to both learn about and teach the social issues of our time, including pressing global struggles such as the struggle of the Palestinian people for liberation from settler-colonialism and apartheid.
Given that pledge, the concerned organizations called on Napolitano to explain how the university system was going to enforce its “UC Regents Policy on Course Content.”
In response, the provost for the university system, Aimée Dorr, explicitly reminded all the university chancellors that the Policy on Course Content prohibits the UAW 2865 graduate student instructors from promoting BDS and anti-Israel propaganda in the classroom.
That policy, Regents Policy 2301, explicitly states: “Misuse of the classroom by, for example, allowing it to be used for political indoctrination, for purposes other than those for which the course was constituted… constitutes misuse of the University as an institution.”
A poll of American Jewish voters carried out by the left-wing J Street lobby shows an overwhelming number of Jew support building in some Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
The results of the survey should be a wake-up call to President Barack Obama, who has surrounded himself with left-wing Jewish advisers and has given J Street a free pass to the White House while distancing traditional Jewish lobbies, particularly AIPAC.
J Street has been a consistent opponent of almost everything the Netanyahu government does, as reflected in President president’s holy ghost, otherwise known as the “Peace Process.”
A whopping 72 percent of polled American Jewish voters said they support construction in Jewish communities that are not outside the core settlement blocs. Twenty percent of that number back building for Jews in all of Judea and Samaria as well as Jerusalem.
Only 28 percent said Israel should freeze all construction in the same areas.
All of the respondents in the poll voted in last week’s mid-term elections. Nearly one-third of the respondents did not describe their affiliation with a stream of Judaism, while the breakdown for the others was 37 percent Reform, 20 percent Conservative and 10 percent Orthodox.
That means that the support for building in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria has deepened among Reform Jews, previously thought to be heavily left-wing and against a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria.
A majority of American Jews polled also said they have a favorable view of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, contradicting assumptions that most Jews in the United States oppose him and his policies.
The survey also verified other estimates that 69 percent of American Jews voted for Democratic candidates last week, another indication that President Obama cannot assume that Jewish Democrats back his and J Street’s view that settlers are “illegal” and “illegitimate.”
The Obama administration’s constant pointing fingers at Israel for allegedly blocking a peace agreement appears to be wearing thin on American Jews.
While 85 percent support an active role for the United States in the Arab-Israeli conflict, slightly more than half of the respondents “oppose the United States playing an active role in helping the parties to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict if it meant the United States publicly stating its disagreements with Israel.”
In answer to the question, “Would you support or oppose the United States playing an active role in helping the parties to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict if it meant the United States exerting pressure on Israel to make the compromises necessary to achieve peace?” 54 percent replied in the negative.
The poll also showed massive support for Israel in the Protective Edge counter-terror war with Hamas this past summer. The 80 percent approval showed how little J Street’s lobby against Israel has influenced American Jews.
Most of its influence seems to have been felt inside the White House, and anyone thinking of running for the Democratic presidential nomination in two years will pay close attention to the poll.
Hillary Clinton is the most highly favored candidate among the Jewish who were polled, winning support of 66-69 percent if Jeb Bush were running as the GOP nominee, and 70 percent if Rand Paul were the Republican candidate.
The poll also showed that only 25 percent of U.S. Jews support the Boycott Israel-BDS movement.
As usual, Israel was near the bottom of the list of subjects that concern American Jews, but more significant was that “terrorism and national security” were the number four issue, after the economy, health care and Social Security/Medicare.
The Islamic State beheadings of two Americans, one of the them Jewish, and an increasing number of Islamic-linked attacks on American soil have brought terror closer to home and brought all Americans to better understand Israel’s refusal to consider sponsors of terrorism “peace partners.”
Reflecting the overall mood of the United States, 57 percent of American Jews “feel things have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track” in the United States.
Nevertheless, Obama remains more popular among American Jews than among most other voting blocs. Fifty-seven percent either “somewhat” or “strongly” approve of how Obama is handling his job as president and 53 percent approved the way Congress is functioning.
SodaStream International, an Israeli firm, has announced a deal has been finalized to close its factory in Mishor Adumim – an industrial park in the Samaria city of Maale Adumim, ten minutes north of Jerusalem – and move to southern Israel. Negotiations have been in the works for months.
The company and anyone associated has been harassed unmercifully by the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement due to the location of the factory, which was built in an area developed by Israel after the 1967 Six Day War.
That includes actress Scarlett Johansson, who quit her post as a spokesperson for the far left Oxfam International nonprofit organization after being hassled for her ties to SodaStream.
But BDS activists somehow missed the point that the factory emphasizes co-existence in its even-handed approach to hiring some 500 Palestinian Authority Arabs as well as Jews.
With the closure of the factory, PA Arabs are the ones whose livelihoods will be hurt the most; many will find it difficult to replace their wages and working conditions (on-site mosque, etc) locally. Most may be unable to cross into pre-1967 Israel to replace their current jobs within a reasonable distance.
Even more ridiculous is the fact that SodaStream never should have been a target in the first place. Mishor Adumim was always seen as a place that would remain under Israeli control, according to the 1993 internationally-recognized Oslo Accords, signed both by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Nevertheless, the international BDS movement has been tracking and harassing SodaStream for quite some time and apparently, it intends to continue despite the disappearance of any reason to harass its target.
One would think activists with the group would be lifting glasses of the bubbly to celebrate SodaStreams move across the so-called “Green Line” into pre-1967 Israel.
But not so. Now the group is claiming it will continue its boycott because SodaStream will move its factory next year to Lehavim, near Be’er Sheva, in the “Naqab.”
The move will bring the company a savings of two percent, officials say.
But BDS insists the factory will displace Bedouin residents of the “Naqab” – that is, the Negev. How the construction of a factory in Lehavim, an existing town, will displace Bedouin residents in the vast expanse of a region that comprises literally 60 percent of Israels land mass, is anyone’s guess.
But somehow, the BDS people have managed to twist their logic around that pretzel.
Israel, meanwhile, is providing an incentive grant of $20 million for the new factory as part of its effort to encourage revitalization in the south.
Will SodaStream try to obtain work permits for its current Arab employees? Yes, says CEO Daniel Brinbaum, of course. He will welcome them at the new plant as well – but they will face a daily trip of up to 60 miles from the original work site.
Co-existence does not go out of style in a corporate culture simply because a factory relocates. It just may be that those PA Arabs who are unable to move south with SodaStream into pre-1967 Israel will end up being replaced by Negev Bedouin.
Jews and Bedouin in southern Israel have been living and working together for decades, BDS notwithstanding. In the south, Israelis have no reason to prove anything to anyone, least of all to activists with an agenda to stir up trouble without necessity. Survival is everyone’s main priority, first and last.