13 June 2013

BDS: a fringe movement and an abject failure

From AIJAC, 13 June 2013, by Ahron Shapiro:

The cult-like and self-aggrandising Boycott, Diverstment and Sanctions (BDS) anti-Israel campaign suffered another embarrassing setback this month when Facebook and Google wooed the Israeli content-savvy phone GPS app company Waze...
...Google sealed the deal on June 11 for US1.3 billion...
The high-profile takeover caught the attention of top business writers, who expect the deal to inspire more investment in Israeli tech companies, as Google's funds are parlayed into a new wave of spinoff projects.
...with the acquisition of Waze by Google, BDS activists will surely now be in the unenviable position of having to boycott the world's top internet search tools or be exposed for their hypocrisy.
(Google is currently used in 67 percent of internet searches. Its closest competitor, Microsoft's Bing which is used in 17 percent of all searches, is also BDS unfriendly, given Microsoft's substantial investment in Israeli R&D).
...The harmful effects of BDS to the Palestinian economy have been well documented, such as in this JTA story from February about how BDS threatens the livelihood of some 900 Palestinians from the West Bank and east Jerusalem who work for the Israeli do-it-yourself soda company SodaStream. 
...SodaStream has indeed been one of the prime targets for BDS campaigners in Australia and abroad.
On June 1, when a band of anti-Israel activists 
roamed through a mall in Brisbane, pulling Israeli products off shelves and creating a disturbance that required the police to clear, SodaStream was among a handful of products they targeted.
But how's that boycott going? Well, SodaStream beat earnings estimates once again in Q1 2013, posting "strong growth" in Australia and notably Europe. It has just raised its projected earnings for the year by about 10 percent. This, in spite of setbacks in Japan unrelated to BDS that have held back its Asia/Pacific sales totals for the quarter.
Investors continue to be bullish on SodaStream. The company's stock just hit a 52-week high, fuelled by rumours that the company may follow Waze as Israel's next big takeover target - this time by either Pepsi or Coke.
...The continued success of SodaStream - not by some subjective analysis but by the cold, hard sales figures that financial advisers depend on - is the most compelling evidence that BDS remains the fringe movement that it always was and an abject failure.
In light of this very obvious failure, there stands a chance that BDS organisers may rethink their focus on SodaStream as counterproductive to the illusion of growing success they are trying to create (much as Brisbane's BDSers appears to have removed a boutique shoe store that stocked an Israeli product from its "BDS Walking Tour" itinerary this time around after experiencing a backlash of overwhelmingly negative publicity that surrounded its bullying tactics on its last tour.)
BDS is a cowardly and duplicitous intimidation campaign that lies constantly about its so-called "victories" (often taking credit for things entirely unrelated to the boycott)...
Yet it also lies equally about its goals. While it claims to want to use the boycott to pressure Israel to improve its treatment of Palestinians and its promoters often obfuscate whether the movement supports a two-state or one-state outcome for Israelis and Palestinians, in private most of its prominent supporters freely admit the aim is to delegitimise Israel in order to undermine its very right to exist.
This goal behind BDS was most recently driven home by Palestinian Red Crescent official and activist Mona El Farra in a lecture before Palestinian supporters in Perth on June 4.
BDS' push for a one (Arab) state to replace Israel was on display at the fourth annual BDS conference in Bethlehem last weekend, when leader Omar Barghouti demanded, among other things, a Palestinian "right of return" to pre-1967 Israel as a precondition for "peace", espousing the extreme Palestinian position which asserts that Israel should be forced to demographically undo its Jewish majority and become, in essence, a Palestinian state.
While BDS activists like to present themselves to the media as "peace activists", this is also meaningless doublespeak, as Barghouti also made clear that his movement rejects negotiations with Israel, even if Israel renewed a freeze on construction in its West Bank settlements and agrees to withdraw completely to its pre-1967 boundaries. He makes it abundantly clear that he sees delegitimisation of Israel through BDS as an end in itself, not a means to change Israel's policies.
The only way to ensure the Palestinians secured all their rights is through the non-violent "resistance" of a full boycott of Israel.
BDS is also a campaign that has often crossed the line between anti-Israel and anti-Jewish activity.
Last year, BDS activists in Melbourne planned a protest in front of a prominent synagogue. The organisers were eventually shamed into cancelling the protest.
More recently, BDS activists have harassed Jews attending synagogue in Boulder, Colorado as AIJAC's Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz has blogged.
These are hardly exceptional examples. As an incident with an Australian BDS Facebook page illustrated last month, while all BDS supporters are not antisemites, its fair to say that nearly all antisemites are BDS supporters.
Given the preponderance of evidence that BDS harms, and not helps the chances for peace by weakening moderates, BDS activists have found the need to resort to deception in their attempt to market their ideology to the mainstream.
It hasn't been easy for them. BDS activists crave validation that their methods are working in order to build morale and recruit more supporters. When the evidence says otherwise, they naturally seek to create an illusion of success. It's impossible for them to make the case that their campaign has made even the slightest dent in SodaStream. For this reason, it stands to reason that sooner or later, they will be compelled to shift their focus and prey upon far poorer performing companies - or more likely, bully more small businesses - in order to maintain this deception.