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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Boycott’

Crush Economic Terrorism

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

“Israel’s captains of industry fear boycott,” announced a front-page headline this week in the newspaper of the nation.

At first glance it seemed simply foolish: by warning of a boycott, they are actually encouraging one. But quickly enough it became apparent that this was part of an organized campaign to pressure Netanyahu to accept the demands posed by the Palestinians and John Kerry.

To ensure the message gets across, Ynet explains that this was “a tough message for the prime minister” from the elites attending the economic summit in Davos: “The conflict hurts citizens in the pocket. If we want economic stability and growth, it’s urgent we reach an agreement with the Palestinians.” According to the site’s editors, “not only John Kerry is urging Netanyahu to reach an agreement with the Palestinians,” but so are the top players in the Israeli economy. The list includes prominent names: Dan Proper of Osem, Ofra Strauss, Meir Brand of Google Israel.

The headline featured a round number so readers would remembering it better. In the meantime, though, one of these leaders fell out: Rami Levy, whose chain of supermarkets includes stores in Gush Etzion and the Binyamin region. After the social networking sites—including his own Facebook page—filled up with threats to boycott him, Levy lost no time arranging an interview with Erel Segal and disclaiming any part in the initiative.

One wonders how many others were unknowingly recruited by the campaign.

Money—No. Manpower—Yes.

If, heaven forfend, the Palestinians were to accept what the Jewish businesspeople are trying to give them, it would be a victory for terrorism and violence. Since the businesspeople are so very wary of the Arab boycott, perhaps they should be shown that there is another side to the dynamic, and surrender to the boycott carries its own price. Most of their customers, after all, are Jews. Ergo those Jews who do not agree with them can come together, initiate their own boycott, and refuse to consume products made by the companies whose officers were parties to the demand.

Yes, precisely: a counter-boycott boycott. Not nice, you say? On the contrary, it is both nice and just—and imperative as well. The business leaders’ demand did not come in a vacuum. It was part of a carefully coordinated campaign aiming to defeat Netanyahu precisely at the critical point of the negotiations. Thus two days later, another headline suddenly announced that the president of Ben Gurion University in Be’er Sheva was concerned by the prospect of an academic boycott of Israel. Those commenting on the article were quick to point out the university’s well-known political orientation, but the damage was done.

I wonder whether there was a hidden hand behind the campaign. Surely enough, Itai Reuveni of NGO Monitor ascribed the timing to close cooperation between the many leftist organizations involved in the matter. In the way that only an avowed opponent can be, he is impressed by their ability to unite in a common struggle.

I pour some cold water on his enthusiasm: “There’s no shortage of foundations abroad giving them all money. There’s no need for them to fight each other.”

Advocates of the boycott include Israeli organizations, such as the Coalition of Women for Peace, which was lavishly supported by the New Israel Fund and foreign foundations. One way they pursue their vision of “peace” is by carefully keeping track of Israeli economic enterprises and systematically listing them on their website. They engage in goal setting just like in the army, targeting, for instance, major Israeli banks and security companies such as Elbit and G4S. Even cosmetics company Ahava has been ravaged by the amazons of the “peace”-mongering coalition. Foreign organizations simply go to their website and put the intelligence gleaned to work.

Are the Arabs in on it, too? Certainly. They haven’t disappeared, I was told by an intelligence officer who follows the field—they’ve simply become more sophisticated. There are indications that they are funding the European organizations. While the main actors in the stratosphere of the boycott industry are international organizations, under the surface there are hundreds of Palestinian and Arab cells and groups, such as the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refuge, near Rachel’s Tomb.

Why, then, hasn’t the army been ordered to put an end to the farce by closing the enemy office and stopping money transfers to it, as was done in Jude and Samaria in the past? After all, this activity is barred by the Oslo Accords, as well as by various laws that forbid discrimination and racism. There’s no doubt that Shai Nitzan and General Mandelblit, who has Netanyahu’s ear, could find even better legal cause. However, they haven’t yet gotten around to enforcing the Knesset’s law regulating Israeli NGO’s.

So what is to be done? There’s no substitute for civil society. The Israeli public, which finds itself on the defensive here, lacks the financial resources of those who would defeat it. But we have far more volunteer power. We need to create task forces to adopt different organizations. Even countries: Israelis from a given country can lead a public relations campaign for Israel in that country. Thousands of volunteers are needed for the task.

In the end, the government will wake up and adopt the campaign as a state effort in the same way that Israel fought against the Arab boycott. True, the assignment is bigger this time, but the population also is bigger, as well as more aware. A combination of establishment and volunteer forces can defeat the new enemy that threatens Israel’s security and growth.

Fighting for Israel from Seattle

Monday, January 13th, 2014

It’s no longer the hardship it once was to make Aliyah. This being the case, it takes a lot for Jews in America to convince me of their sincerity and love for Israel. Mike Behar is one of the few who managed to win me over.

He did so during quick Facebook chats about his latest work on behalf of Israel during breaks from my own work at Kars4Kids and later on during longer conversations by phone. His quiet work on behalf of Israel shines in a region of the U.S. shrouded in darkness by its overt hate for the Jewish State. It takes fortitude to hold an unpopular view in the face of the overwhelming anti-Israel sentiment of the Pacific Northwest. Mike has fortitude in spades.

He works behind the scenes, going to meetings where Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) activists hold forth. He talks to activists that might be amenable to hearing a different, more truthful pro-Israel view. He writes letters to the editor of the local Jewish newspaper to protest the slanted coverage against Israel. As such, I see Mike as every bit a warrior for the state of Israel as those of us who live inside the Jewish State.

Michael Behar, age 51, has lived in Seattle all his life. His grandfather was the cantor and spiritual leader of Congregation Ezra Bessaroth, a synagogue founded by observant Jewish immigrants from Rhodes, Greece. “EB” is still at the center of Michael’s family life.

A product of the Orthodox day school and Yeshiva system, Michael studied in Israel at Yeshivat Beit El post high school in 1981-1982, during the evacuation of Yamit in the Sinai and the beginning of the first Lebanon War. These seminal experiences strengthened his love for Israel and the Jewish people. Michael married Carole in 1990 and the couple has four children.

Varda: Mike, in Israel we are hearing a lot about anti-Israel sentiment in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. There are the reports from Hen Mazzig, and your blog, The Mike Report. We have heard about the Jewish Voice for Peace JVP (an anti-Israel protest group), Linda Frank, BDS 101, and more. Why is it like this in Seattle?

Mike: There are two factors that make the Pacific Northwest a hotbed of Israel hatred: the universities, and the progressive culture of this area.

Seattle is a college town. College environments tend to be incubators of radicalism. Still, the University of Washington campus has historically been a “serious” college with a relatively subdued extremist contingent compared to other West coast campuses.

60 miles South of Seattle in Olympia, on the other hand, is Evergreen State College. Evergreen has been a center of radicalism for years. During the Iraq war, local activists shut down the port of Olympia to prevent supplies from reaching the US military. In March of 2003, Evergreen State College student Rachel Corrie was killed after standing in front of a moving army bulldozer during a military action in Gaza. Her death provided anti-Israel activists with the local connection they needed to connect a faraway conflict to the “Israel is evil narrative” they had attempted to peddle for years.

In the Puget Sound area, Corrie is considered a martyr, a glowing angel sacrificed in the cause of peace. Once Corrie’s name is pulled into the debate, open discussion is quashed. Corrie’s parents, Craig and Cindy Corrie stoke the coals of hate with ceaseless efforts to demonize the Jewish state. Corrie did not create the anti-Israel movement in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) but her death supercharged the anti-Israel movement here, especially on college campuses. Radical groups active on college campuses include International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER-UW), Students for Justice in Palestine, and Jewish Voice for Peace.

Anti-Israel Resolution Passes Preliminary MLA Vote

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Delegates to the Modern Language Association’s annual convention upheld a resolution accusing Israel of keeping Palestinian academics from entering Judea and Samaria, but rejected another expressing solidarity with academics that boycott Israel.

After an hour or so of acrimonious debate in Chicago on Saturday, the MLA’s delegate assembly in a 60-53 vote approved a resolution calling on the U.S. State Department to “contest Israel’s denials of entry to Judea and Samaria by U. S. academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities.”

The resolution goes to the MLA’s executive committee for consideration next month. If the executive committee approves it, it goes to the full membership.

Another resolution referred to a vote last month by the American Studies Association to boycott Israeli universities, and its aftermath, in which over 180 American universities have rejected any such boycott.

That resolution, defeated 59-41, “condemns the attacks on the ASA and supports the right of academic organizations and individuals, free from intimidation, to take positions in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against racism.”

The resolution did not specify what intimidation the ASA had suffered as a result of its vote.

“Academic freedom guarantees the right of academics to debate issues with passion,” said Geri Palast, the director of the Israel Action Network, which helped lead pro-Israel activities around the conference. “Statements made in the public sphere attracting public debate and controversy is not the equivalent of attacks and intimidation.”

The MLA convention this year featured, among about 800 events, a panel of scholars who favor the boycott; another panel opposing the boycott, convened too late to be included in the official program, was held in a nearby hotel.

The Israel Action Network and the Israel on Campus Coalition organized the pro-Israel panel.

Rihanna Plays for 50,000 in Tel Aviv, Shunning BDS Campaign

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Rihanna sang before a crowd of 50,000 in Tel Aviv at Israel’s largest performance venue, Yarkon Park.

Fans paid $100 and up for Tuesday’s show, part of the pop star’s “Diamonds” world tour and her second performance in Israel. She played Israel three years ago.

Rihanna came to Israel despite a campaign by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to convince her to cancel her performance.

She arrived early Tuesday afternoon, six hours later than scheduled, after performing in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. She participated in a photo shoot at the Dead Sea.

Rihanna was expected to leave Israel immediately after the concert.

Jewish Voice for Peace on ADL’s Top 10 Anti-Israel Groups

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

The pro-Palestinian campus group Students for Justice in Palestine and the far-left Jewish group Jewish Voice for Peace are included in the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) report on the top 10 anti-Israel organizations of 2013.

Joining those groups on the list are ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), American Muslims for Palestine, CODEPINK, Friends of Sabeel-North America, If Americans Knew/Council for the National Interest, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Neturei Karta, and the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

“The Top 10 anti-Israel groups are the most significant players in the domestic anti-Israel movement today,” Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director, said in a statement. “The groups are fixated on delegitimizing Israel and convincing the American public that Israel is an international villain that deserves to be ostracized and isolated.”

ADL said it considered the endorsement of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigns against Israel, as well as tactics such as using anti-Semitic motifs in programming, while compiling its list.

How Jerusalem’s Arabs Act Against Their Own Interests

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

As Israelis prepare to cast their ballots in the municipal elections next week, tens of thousands of eligible Arab voters in Jerusalem will once again boycott the democratic process.

In the past few days, the Palestinian Liberation Organization [PLO], Hamas and several other Palestinian organizations have called on the Arab residents of Jerusalem to stay away from the ballot boxes.

These organizations maintain that Arab participation in the municipal election would be interpreted as recognition of Israel’s decision to annex the eastern part of the city in the aftermath of the 1967 Israeli-Arab war.

As such, the vast majority of the Arab residents have since been boycotting the local election, mainly out of fear of being dubbed “traitors” by various Palestinian organizations.

But if anyone stands to lose from the boycott it is the Arabs themselves.

First, the boycott has done nothing to undermine Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. Some would even argue that Israeli dominion over the city has never been as strong as it is these days, especially in wake of the Arab residents’ failure to take part in crucial decisions concerning their neighborhoods and villages.

Second, the boycott has severely harmed the interests of the Arab residents, who have been denied the chance to have representatives in the municipal council who would fight for better services and the improvement of their living conditions. The Arabs make up 25-30% of the city’s eligible voters, which means that they could have 7-8 representatives in the 31-seat municipal council. The boycott has denied the Arabs the opportunity to be directly involved in the planning of their neighborhoods.

While it is true that some Arabs boycott the municipal elections for ideological reasons, there is no denying the fact that many are also afraid of being targeted by extremists if they present their candidacy or go to the ballot boxes.

A few Arabs who in the past dared to challenge the boycott have faced death threats. One of them was newspaper publisher Hanna Siniora, who back in 1987 announced his intention to run in the municipal election. Siniora’s car was torched by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a move that forced him to retract his candidacy.

Eleven years later, another Arab, Mussa Alayan, defied the boycott by running at the head of an independent list. He received fewer than 3,000 votes and did not make it to the city council. Alayan could have probably become the first Arab council member had he and his supporters not faced a brutal and violent campaign by Palestinian activists.

Yet while Arab residents are boycotting the election, most of them continue to deal with the same municipality which they are not supposed to recognize. They even continue to pay taxes and fees to the municipality.

The Jerusalem Municipality has more than 1,500 Arab employees, and its various departments continue to provide many services to the Arab neighborhoods and villages in the city. These activities are taking place despite the Arab boycott that has been in effect since 1967.

Arabs who complain about lack of municipal services often seek the help of representatives of left-wing parties in the municipal council, such as Meretz.

Today, many Arabs in Jerusalem are not afraid to declare openly that they prefer to live under Israeli rule, and not under that of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. The problem remains, however, that the overwhelming majority is still afraid of the radicals.

What is needed is a strong Arab leadership that would not hesitate to stand up to the radicals and question their goals. Such a leadership would have to make it clear that there should be a complete separation between the political issues and the day-to-day affairs of Jerusalem’s Arab population.

Until such leaders emerge, the Arabs in Jerusalem will, by boycotting the municipal elections, unfortunately continue to act against their own interests.

Roger Waters Open Letter Calls on Musicians to Boycott Israel

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

British rocker Roger Waters published an open letter calling on fellow musicians to join a boycott of Israel.

“I write to you now, my brothers and sisters in the family of Rock and Roll, to ask you to join with me, and thousands of other artists around the world, to declare a cultural boycott on Israel,” Waters wrote in the letter dated Aug. 18. The letter was previously drafted in July.

The former Pink Floyd front man said he was inspired to release the letter after British violinist Nigel Kennedy at a recent promenade concert at the Albert Hall in London called Israel an apartheid state. The BBC said it would remove his remarks in rebroadcasts of the concert.

Waters, who has been active in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement for at least seven years, referred to the boycott of apartheid South Africa, saying that first a trickle of artists refused to play there, leading to a “flood.”

He singled out Stevie Wonder’s canceling of a performance for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces as a recent success story. Wonder quit his participation in the December fundraiser at the last minute under pressure from many corners.

“Please join me and all our brothers and sisters in global civil society in proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in Israel and occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights,” Waters wrote.

Waters recently came under fire for using at in his concerts a huge inflated balloon in the shape of a wild boar with a prominently visible Star of David, as well as a hammer and sickle, crosses and a dollar sign, among other symbols. It is a gimmick he has used for several years.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/roger-waters-open-letter-calls-on-musicians-to-boycott-israel/2013/08/20/

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