The BDS Movement began as an international civil insurrection against Israel following a series of military failures by combined Arab armies.
It was designed to inflict severe, even crippling, economic damage on Israel. International agencies were cajoled to join the global campaign to bring down the Jewish State and to isolate it diplomatically.
Despite all their hyper-active efforts this to has effectively been a failure.
If the raison d-etre behind their efforts was to improve the lot of the Palestinian Arabs, the results of this has been contrary to what they, perhaps, intended.
The prime example was the BDS high profile efforts to close down the Mishor Adumim factory of SodaStream, the Israeli-based company manufacturing the popular home soda machines. The brand carried the label “Made in Israel. This product is produced by Arabs and Jews working side-by-side in peace and harmony.”
This message infuriated the BDS Movement who set about a heavily-funded propaganda campaign to close SodaStream down. It happened at a time when the Israeli company was looking to expand its production facility due to increasing demand for its popular product.
Faced with its business needs and the rise of adverse publicity, SodaStream CEO, Daniel Birnbaum, decided to move its production to the Negev industrial area just north of Beer Sheba.
The result was the prime victims of the BDS anti-normalization efforts were over 600 Palestinians forced into unemployment after earning Israeli-scale wages and social welfare benefits.
The brand new factory today employs more people. The Palestinians have been replaced by the local Bedouin. SodaStream goes from strength to strength. It was taken over by globally-known Pepsi Cola. In November 2019, it was announced that a $92 Million expansion will enable the enlarged factory to employ a further one thousand workers. Had SodaStream stayed at Mishor Adumim, it would have benefitted the local Palestinians. Instead, BDS wrought significant financial damage on them.
Such is the bankruptcy of BDS efforts to inflict economic harm on Israel.
As a substitute, they have persuaded the European Union to introduce a labelling policy on Jewish produced products and services from Judea & Samaria in Israel, frequently called “the West Bank,” and used to called in diplomatic circles as “disputed territories.” In a unique policy, the EU are insisting that Israeli products emanating from Jewish towns, villages, and industrial areas can no longer be labelled “Made in Israel” but must designate some other description.
When the EU calls upon “international law” to back up its demands, its history, apparently, begins in 1967. Based on that false premise, it is a convenient leap of commitment to decide that Israel occupied “Palestine” in a corrupted retelling on history upon which they base their diplomacy, policies, their resolutions, and their false laws.
They ignore the fact that there is no Palestine yet. Palestinians seem to be doing their best to establish a state only when Israel has been annihilated and Jews banished.
The Europeans take no account of the fact that, prior to 1948, the so-called West Bank was Israel in territory that included Judea & Samaria, the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea down to Eilat.
They take no account that this was prescribed by the League of Nations (the forerunners of the United Nations) in 1922 in which they affirmed the 1920 decision of the Supreme Court of the League of Nations that “recognized the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.”
We need to question the European drift from the requirement to “secure the cooperation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national home” to a policy that id blatantly anti-Semitic.
As for the premise that Jewish products must be tagged as not being quite kosher, i.e., not made in Israel, but produced by Jewish labor and ingenuity in what are called “Jewish settlements,” the European framers of this discriminatory labelling policy would do well to consider Article 6 of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine which says the Administration of Palestine... “shall facilitate Jewish immigration” and shall encourage “close settlement by Jews on the land.”
How the Europeans go from there to an attempted blocking and limitation on Jews choosing to live where they are entitled, historically and legitimately, to live, and call that an obstacle to peace, is, again, blatantly anti-Semitic.
As for “Illegal occupation,” it is not illegal for a nation to defend itself. Nor is it illegal for such a nation to hold onto territory seized in a defensive war against a congenital aggressor as Israel was against Jordan, both in 1948 and in 1967, when it twice invaded Israel in order to annihilate the Jewish state and to banish its Jewish population.
Evidence of this is seen in Jordan’s brutal occupation of Jerusalem in which they destroyed all the ancient synagogues and physically expelled all the remaining Jews, those they hadn’t killed, from the Old City of Jerusalem. That was when Jordan occupied Judea & Samaria and the Jordan Valley, which became known as The West Bank (of Jordan) between 1948 and 1967.
Nobody cried about “illegally occupying Palestinian land” during that period. The Europeans had nothing to say about calling on the Jordanians to withdraw from occupied Israeli land. They were silent when Jordan joined with other Arab armies to “drive the Jews into the sea,” from their vantage positions on the high ground overlooking the narrow coastal plain of what was left of Israel since their initial conquest of Israeli territory.
The Europeans silently expected the annihilation of the Jewish State. They did nothing. They watched and waited. Many were disappointed by the miraculous victory of a determined people’s army against the British trained and equipped Jordanian army who were driven back across the Jordan River as Israeli soldiers liberated Jerusalem and drove the Syrians off the Golan Heights.
The Europeans have been supporting the proxy Arab cause, known as the Palestinians, ever since. They have silently acquiesced with Palestinian terrorism.
They have pressured and punished Israel while buying into the victim card played by a corrupt, violent, anti-Semitic Palestinian leadership in Ramallah who, according to all polls, do not represent Palestinian Arabs. That honor belongs to Hamas, the Palestinian chapter of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
They pump European taxpayer’s money into Palestinian Authority coffers that fund a multi-million dollars “Pay to Slay” policy. They continue to fund UNRWA, the iniquitous UN organization that perpetuates a growing Palestinian refugee population into their 4th and 5th generation, living in the exclusive civil and security control of the Palestinian Authority!
Am I the first to ask how it is possible to be a Palestinian refugee when you have been born and live as the 5th generation under the control of the PA?
But the EU decision to target some 700,000 Jews while referring to “population transfers,” yet failing to impose the same strictures on Turkey who transferred its population into the northern part of Cyprus it occupied in a war of aggression, Russians in the Crimea, China’s grip on Tibet and Hong Kong, not to mention European fishing in the waters of Western Sahara occupied by Morocco, is not just hypocritical.
It is a blatant form of discriminatory anti-Semitism.
Barry Shaw is the International Public Diplomacy Director at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism.’