web analytics
July 26, 2016 / 20 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Divestment and Sanctions’

As US Anthropologists Reject BDS Resolution, Israeli Economy Thriving Despite Boycotts

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

On Tuesday, the 10,000-member American Anthropological Association announced the results of a vote on its proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions: the call to boycott failed. After many who are close to the organization had predicted the measure would pass, it lost by 2,423 to 2,384 votes.

The failure of the boycott proposal came as unexpected relief to people like Ted Gup, a professor of journalism at Emerson College, who wrote on the eve of the vote in The Chronicle of Higher Education that it is “misguided, counterproductive, and sure to damage both the association and the Palestinian cause.” He added that “it also puts at risk any network of scholars by inviting similar future reprisals.” Also, he warned that “the boycott will harm the very people it is intended to help and embolden those whose hardline policies the AAA disdains.” But “beyond all this,” Gup, who is Jewish, noted that “the boycott itself is irreparably flawed and discredited by the historical and contemporary context that produced it.”

It also appears that the boycotts have had no influence at all on Israel’s economy, which today is the fastest growing in OEDC, according to a Bloomberg News report citing a steep increase in foreign investments in Israeli assets, which last year hit a record high of $285.12 billion, “a near-tripling from 2005 when the so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was started by a group of Palestinians.”

“We don’t have a problem with foreign investment in Israel — on the contrary,” Yoel Naveh, chief economist at Israel’s finance ministry, told Bloomberg.

According to people from the entire spectrum of the market: money managers, economists and government officials, “Israeli assets are an attractive alternative to weak performers elsewhere.” And even though Israel’s economy has slowed down in 2016, it is still growing faster than the economies of the US and Europe and its interest rate is higher.

Interestingly, Bloomberg also reported that the business community rejects the fabricated accusations against Israel perpetrated by the BDS activists, “that investing in Israeli innovation and natural gas violates Palestinian rights, and that Israel’s misdeeds are so exceptional that they justify singling it out for censure.”

Bloomberg quotes data collected by IVC Research Center which suggests that even with an appreciating shekel, Israeli startups have raised $3.76 billion in 2015 from foreign investors, their highest annual figure in ten years. In 2015 Israeli industrial high-tech exports rose 13% from 2014 to $23.7 billion, and in 2016 Israel’s economy is expected to grow 2.8%, compared with the US (1.8%) and the EU (1.8%).

Or, as the Torah put it, back in 1248 BCE: “But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread, and the more alarmed the Egyptians became.” (Exodus 1:12)

Back to the failed BDS vote at the AAA, there’s a point Ted Gup was making in his thoughtful article which suggests the more Israel makes itself known to the world, the less would anti-Semitic NGOs be able to feed off its flesh. “In the summer of 2015, with the support of a Fulbright, I taught at the University of Haifa, in Israel’s third-largest city and one of its most secular and progressive urban centers,” Gup related. “The university boasts a student population that is one-third Arab. It is common to see student-soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces, rifles slung over their shoulders, checking alongside their Arab classmates the same class announcement boards or discussing homework. Nor is it unusual for heated debates about Israeli policy to arise between Jews and Arabs in the classroom — and even more commonly, between Jews and Jews.”

Then he made a most cogent point, coming as it does from a leftwing perspective: “So how does a learned society like the AAA justify punishing the likes of the University of Haifa or see doing so as an effective message to the Israeli government? Many of my colleagues on the Haifa faculty openly criticize that government, as do their students. A wholesale boycott of academic institutions applies the same indiscriminate standard of punishment that the association says it abhors. The AAA would argue that you don’t bulldoze a house or bomb a block in Gaza because of one attacker. How then do you justify cutting off relations with all Israeli academic institutions based not on actions but on geography?”

JNi.Media

Comprehensive Anti-BDS Campaign Launched at UN

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Over 1500 Anti-BDS activists bridged political, geographic, religious and generational divides to pack the UN General Assembly Hall for an anti-BDS summit hosted on Tuesday by Israel’s Mission to the UN. The event kicked off a larger initiative aimed at consolidating efforts to contend with the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, fittingly entitled “Build Bridges, Not Boycotts”.

The day-long event grew out of a dawning realization that the State of Israel, world Jewish communities, and the numerous groups attempting to mount a response to BDS on their own, must join forces if inroads are to be made against the organization that has been attempting to pressure businesses, artists, and academics to blackball Israel for eleven years.

“YOU are the Iron Dome of the State of Israel,” Danon announced from the podium. “If we stand together, we can do this. One day you will tell your children – I was there when they stopped BDS.”

The call for unity was echoed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a pre-recorded message and reiterated by a roster of keynote and workshop speakers that included Israeli Supreme Court VP Justice Elyakim Rubenstein; World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder; ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow; Son of Hamas author Mosab Hassan Yousef; CEO and vice president of World Jewish Congress Robert Singer and Soda Stream’s Daniel Birnbaum, as well as Frank Luntz; David Suissa; Emily Neilson-Winkler; David Sable; Alan Johnson of Bicom UK; actress Noa Tishby, and founder of Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, Bassam Eid.

“I’m here today to get informed”, said Flo, president of student government at Brooklyn College, “we’ve had some issues on campus”. The 22 year old related the divisive effect that BDS can have on university life, “We have students who get riled up, and students who feel unsafe”.

For many of the students present the highlight – and the hero – of the day was reggae artist Matisyahu. The Jewish American singer had his own run-in with BDS last summer when was abruptly uninvited from Spain’s Sun Splash music festival following his refusal to discuss his views on Israel. After an ensuing uproar where the World Jewish Congress reached out to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the festival apologized, reinstated Matisyahu, and revealed that BDS strong-arming had been behind the decision to drop him.

When Matisyahu finally took the stage in Spain in front of a decidedly unwelcoming crowd, he belted out the song Jerusalem. The performer, who did an encore of Jerusalem at the UN on Tuesday, has since become a vocal anti-BDS activist.

“When you see someone like Matisyahu, who is so much bigger than you, and he’s standing up for what you believe in, it makes you feel like there’s someone behind you. You’re not alone”, said Rambam Mesifta student Naftali, at the UN for the day with friends from his Lawrence, New York high school.

Although so far the teens have so only encountered anti-Semitism on social media, they say are preparing for the day it will become face-to-face, which they consider all but inevitable. The boys are also fans of their host for the day. “I admire Ambassador Danon because he uses his power to take a stand and make a difference, instead of just having power for the sake of it”, explained Eli, another Rambam Mesifta student. Along with the rest of the participants, each of the friends left with a copy of A Guide for Combating Modern Day Anti-Semitism.

After a moving speech by Justice Rubenstein, who closed his remarks by proclaiming Am Yisroel Chai, several attendees were overheard expressing doubt that the BDS situation would ever improve. 62 year old New Yorker Sol was more optimistic. “Don’t give up, even miracles can happen,” he reminded those nearby.

As if to help Sol make his point, not 10 minutes later in the UN General Assembly – not normally the most embracing environment for Israel – 1500 voices could be heard singing the Israeli national anthem, HaTikva.

Stephanie Granot

PayPal Doing the Right Thing, Deleting French BDS Account

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

PayPal on Monday blocked cash transfers to the French account of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) group. According to the Jerusalem Post, users who wanted to give money through the French BDS website’s link to PayPal, received the message: “The recipient is currently unable to receive money.” Eventually, the website deleted its link to PayPal altogether. But PayPal did not state their position regarding the account, saying, “We can’t confirm or deny any limitation of a specific account.”

In 2003, French Jewish parliamentarian Pierre Lellouche, a member of the Republican Party of former President Sarkozy, introduced the so-called Lellouche law, which amended the laws against racism to include discrimination against countries. Since then, the BDS movement is, essentially, illegal in France.

The spokeswoman for PayPal did confirm that “compliance with all local laws is something we take very seriously. PayPal has dedicated significant resources to combat the use of our secure payment platform for illegal activities and works collaboratively with law enforcement agencies around the world to support both the detection of crime and the conviction of criminals.”

She added, “We have 184 million active customer accounts and regularly screen their activities to make sure they respect the laws, and if they don’t, per our user agreement, we then suspend, limit or close them. PayPal encourages anyone who has information about the potential unlawful use of our service to contact us.”

Accordint to the Jerisalem Post, BDS’s PayPal accounts have already been closed in Germany and Austria; earlier this year the French bank BNP Paribas discontinued a BDS account in its subsidiary bank in Gernmany; also this year, Austria’s Erste Group closed down a BDS bank account. Altogether, four BDS bank accounts have been closed this year in Europe.

David Israel

16 International NGOs Condemn Israel’s Refusal to Support BDS Founder’s World Travels

Monday, May 30th, 2016

Earlier this month, Israeli authorities refused to renew the travel documents of Omar Barghouti, a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Barghouti was born in Qatar, grew up in Egypt and later moved to Jaffa and then to Acre in Israel as an adult, but he insists on counting himself as part of the indigenous people, as when he told the AP back in 2007, that the “Palestinians cannot possibly observe the same boycott guidelines as asked of internationals” and that the “indigenous population” is entitled to all services they can get from the system.

After marrying his wife, an Israeli Arab, Barghouti, was granted permanent residency in Israel, which he has enjoyed for the past 23 years. He holds a master’s degree in ethics from Tel Aviv University, and is pursuing a PhD. A petition drew more than 184,000 signatures asked the university to expel him, but he was never expelled.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) has threatened to revoke Barghouti’s residency on the grounds that “he is using his resident status to travel all over the world in order to operate against Israel in the most serious manner.”

Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) called for a campaign of “targeted civil elimination” of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence.

Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Information Gilad Erdan (Likud), who is in charge of the fight against the BDS, said that activists including Barghouti should “pay the price” for their work.

Well, the Israeli system this month decided to deny the BDS leader one vital service: they will not renew his travel papers. Barghouti told the Arab press in response: “I am unnerved but certainly undeterred by these threats. Nothing will stop me from struggling for my people’s freedom, justice and peace.”

They could take away his Internet connection, of course.

Sixteen organizations from American, Asian, and European countries are demanding that Israel make it possible for Barghouti to travel around the world to sabotage Israeli commercial and national interests. But rather than addressing Israel’s foreign ministry (which is currently headed by PM Benjamin Netanyahu), these NGOs sent their protest to the foreign ministers of 14 countries and international organizations, including, naturally, John Kerry of the USA, Federica Mogherini, High Representative for the European Union, Margot Wallström of Sweden, and Charles Flanagan of Ireland.

After relating Israel’s repressive attitude against its enemy within, the NGOs demanded that the foreign ministers “use the power and influence that resides in your office to impress on the Israeli government the absolute necessity of ceasing its repressive measures against Palestine’s civil leaders, and in particular to permit Omar Barghouti to play his full role, both inside Israel and without, in representing the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

Incidentally, any one of the 14 countries addressed by those NGOs could offer Omar Barghouti residency or citizenship and travel papers galore. There must be a reason why they haven’t so far.

David Israel

New Report: 22 Israeli Academics in the Service of BDS

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

In recent years, an increasing number of academics and student organizations throughout the world have been promoting the academic boycott of Israel. The goal of this boycott is to halt the cooperation between Israeli academics and academics abroad, an act that would cause significant harm to Israeli research as it heavily relies on international cooperation. This phenomenon could pose severe implications on the Israeli economy, and would significantly harm Israel’s standing in the world.

A new report from Im Tirtzu reveals the level of involvement of Israeli academics in the encouragement and promotion of the international effort to impose an academic boycott on Israel. The report focuses on the Israeli Anthropological Association as a case study that reflects the significant influence of Israeli academics in promoting the academic boycott on Israel. The report highlights how prominent Israeli professors, who receive salaries provided by the Israeli taxpayer, encourage, legitimize, and often promote boycott efforts, including boycotts that directly harm the institutions in which they work. It is important to note that a 2012 resolution passed by the Israeli Council for Higher Education explicitly rejects boycott efforts:

“The Council for Higher Education views the call for academic boycott on Israel by members of Israel’s institutions of higher education as an undermining action to the foundations of Israel’s higher education system” and thus “calls on institutions to consider the matter, and to formulate ways of dealing with it.”

As stated above, this report focuses on the Israeli Anthropological Association as a case study and examines its involvement with the advancement of the academic boycott on Israel, which began to intensify in 2013 after the American Anthropological Association (AAA) began to discuss the possibility of boycotting Israeli academia.

On May 31, 2016, the 10,000-member AAA will conclude its vote on a proposed resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions, regardless of where the institution is located within Israel.

The Israeli Anthropological Association has sent a letter to the AAA in August 2014 advocating against this anti-Israel initiative and calling it an unprecedented and unjustified act of boycott against Israeli academia. But while the Israeli Anthropological Association was trying to block this attempt to harm the State of Israel, another group of 20 Israeli anthropologists, many of whom teach in publicly funded Israeli institutions, sent a petition to the AAA praising this effort and urging them to continue pressing for an academic boycott on Israel. These professors grant legitimacy to the academic boycott of Israel, and to the BDS movement against Israel as a whole.

In 2015, a task force sent by the AAA to “investigate” the situation in Israel produced a biased report filled with distortions and lies against Israel. The report repeatedly quoted anonymous Israeli academics as a means of attaining legitimacy to the baseless accusations raised in the report. These Israeli academics served as the “voice from within” who “verified” all of the anti-Israel charges in the report.

Several months prior to the publication of the report in July 2015, the Israeli Anthropological Association sent another letter in which they demonstrated a complete capitulation to the amounting boycott pressure. This letter condemned and severely criticized Israel for its prolonged “occupation,” urged Israel to rehabilitate Gaza, and called for a solution for the Palestinian refugees. At the end of the letter, however, they once again urged their colleagues at the AAA to refrain from academic boycott.

Like clockwork, this second letter by the Israeli Anthropological Association was also followed by another letter – this time from a group of 22 “anonymous” Israeli anthropologists – that contained an unequivocal call for academic boycott against Israel:

“We urge all members of the AAA to join in supporting the academic boycott resolution on the spring ballot.”

Im Tirtzu’s report emphasizes that all the Israeli signatories on the first petition sent to the AAA in attempt to foil the Israeli Anthropological Association’s effort to halt the boycott are activists in radical Left organizations, which are backed by copious amounts of foreign political funding and operate within Israel against the state and against the soldiers of the IDF.

In addition, the report notes that most of the Israeli signatories do not currently reside in Israel, and the vast majority of them are directly connected to other foreign agent organizations or to the international BDS movement. These facts substantiate the claim that Israeli organizations and individuals represent the head of the spear of the BDS phenomenon and often produce the initial efforts to boycott Israel.

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg stressed that the phenomenon in which a radical minority operates from within Israel in order to impose international pressure on Israel is not merely a display of ungratefulness, but an act of shamelessness. The challenge posed by the advancement of boycotts from within forces decision-makers to formulate a fitting response to this phenomenon: “Decision-makers and presidents of Israeli universities look to combat the international BDS movement, but completely ignore the boycott phenomenon from within Israel that is being led by Israeli academics. It is sad to see that those leading the boycott are cutting off the branch on which they are sitting and are working behind the scenes in order to mortally wound the future of Israeli academia.”

Peleg added that “The BDS movement is driven by blind hatred towards the State of Israel and is equipped with tremendous resources. Faced with the consistent attempt to harm the Israeli public, we as citizens need to mobilize against it. The State of Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and the only country in the region that preserves human and civil rights.”

Peleg stated that “The Im Tirtzu movement will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to fight against this theater of the absurd in which Israeli academics are playing the leading role.”

JNi.Media

Exclusive Interview: Danny Danon to Kick Off Anti-BDS Initiative at UN with 1500 College Students

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

In an interview Monday with The Jewish Press, Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon outlined a plan of action aimed at leveling the playing field against the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement.

In less than two weeks, Jews around the world will start getting some much needed back-up in the battle against BDS, as Danny Danon, Israel’s envoy to the UN, rolls out a plan of action designed to unite, organize, and train those on the front lines.

“Young people are being effected by the propaganda,” said Danon, “if we don’t counter it, it will become their truth and reality. We have to stand, fight back, and show the world the real face of Israel”.

The initiative’s inaugural event, entitled “Ambassadors Against BDS”, will take place on May 31st when Israel’s Mission to the UN will host 1500 students, organizations, and agencies from around the world at a summit aimed at cultivating a cadre of able young ambassadors who will carry the message back to their campuses, armed with practical advice and the resources to take on the toxic atmosphere created by BDS.

“The goal of the event is to empower students from around the world – not just from the US – by giving them the tools they need to fight back. By doing it at the United Nations, in the General Assembly, we send a clear message that we will not be silent. We are a strong nation and we will overcome this wave of incitement against the State of Israel,” explained Danon, “We can win, but in order to win, we – the State of Israel and world Jewish communities – have to work together in order to be strong and effective.”

Although the initiative is being spearheaded by Israel’s Mission to the UN, other Israeli government Ministries are also behind the trailblazing effort to which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allocated record funding last summer. “The Israeli government is very aware of the threat posed by BDS”, said Danon, “the Prime Minister takes it very seriously”.

Representatives from several Ministries will be arriving from Israel to take part in the May 31st event. The day will open with a plenary session in the UN General Assembly Hall and be followed by a series of professional panels, where experts from fields such as law and public diplomacy will work with students to hammer out guidelines and provide them with “Ambassadors Against BDS” kits to help implement a new cohesive plan of action.

BDS has been operating for almost 11 years. Its attempts to delegitimize Israel by pressuring businesses, intimidating academics, bullying artists, and the spreading of lies and messages of hate against Jews and Israel on college campuses, have seen more success than previous boycott attempts due to their centralized organization. “I see the work being done by the other side, the way they are organized on college campuses. I know that we can, and we must, be united as well. It’s crucial to understand that this needs to be a joint effort in order to be effective”.

Danon knows there are some people in Israel and here in the United States who think it’s best to ignore BDS, but he’s not one of them. “We cannot and should not ignore the BDS movement, it will not go away. We cannot sit idly by and watch an organized group bashing Israel, in the process of actively trying to delegitimize the State of Israel. Our economy is strong, but we can’t ignore the chilling effect of companies that think twice before investing in Israeli businesses. I don’t think we should wait until the moment when we see the numbers going down, we need to tackle it in advance”.

Although “Ambassadors Against BDS” kits will be available online after the summit, Danon is urging all college students that face anti-Semitism on campus to attend the summit on May 31st. “Registration is free and still open. I encourage all students who can, to participate, to make the effort, to come for one day to the UN. Together, we can proceed with structure, and move forward”.
To register for Ambassadors Against BDS click here.
 

Stephanie Granot

NJ State Senate Unanimously Rejects BDS for Pension Fund

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

The New Jersey State Senate has unanimously rejected the Palestinian Authority-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

A bill requiring the state’s public worker pension fund to divest from companies that boycott Israel was approved in a 39-0 vote, NJ.com reported Monday.

The State Assembly must still vote on the measure (S1923), however. Under the legislation, the state Division of Investments would be unable to invest the public workers’ $68.6 billion pension fund in companies that support the boycott.

Those funds already invested with such companies must be removed within the next 18 months, except for companies providing “humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people through either a governmental or non-governmental organization (NGO) unless it is also engaging in prohibited boycotts.”

New Jersey has one of the largest Jewish populations in the United States. But the state also prohibits its pension fund from investing in businesses with ties to Iran, Sudan and Northern Ireland.

“New Jersey cannot support such biased practices as those of the BDS against our sister state,” state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) said in a statement.

“Israel has long been a vibrant trading partner, ally and friend with our state, and making sure that we are not investing in any company that seeks to hurt the interests of Israel or its people through boycotts, divestments and sanctions will send a clear message that we stand against this kind of veiled discrimination.”

“I think this bill sends a very clear message to our friends in Israel that New Jersey has your back,” State Senator Jim Beach (D-Camden) added.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/nj-state-senate-unanimously-rejects-bds-for-pension-fund/2016/05/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: