Yesterday in The Times of Israel I published an explanation largely directed at Israelis of why we shouldn’t be overly threatened by BDS. OK, OK, I know, it would be better in Hebrew, but that can happen later.
Here’s the start:
Scarlett Johansson is the latest “undeniably cute” face of abject failure for the anti-Israel Boycott Disinvestment and Sanctions Movement (BDSM). She chose to endorse Israeli SodaStream and reject Oxfam. And now Secretary of State Kerry has told Israel it’s current condition is “not sustainable… It’s illusionary. There’s a momentary prosperity. There’s a momentary peace.”
Really? Kerry believes boycotting the products of factories that join Israelis and Palestinians together and normalise relations will help? He thinks EU policies of denying developmental funds or commerce to Jews is going to move Israel? He thinks if EU pension funds and companies avoid doing business with Israeli companies, Israel will lose out?
Boycott will fail and Israelis need to laugh at those misguided doomsayers telling them to fear the sky falling from an EU led boycott.
There is a small core of BDSM zealots who falsely conflate pluralistic, democratic Israel with apartheid South Africa. They’ve been doing this so long they’re drinking their own Kool-Aid. Their attempt to break Israel through an economic, cultural and academic boycott is doomed because the existence of a Jewish Israel is just and incomparable to the old South Africa.
So what do we in Israel face from an EU led attack on Israel’s economy?
The point I’m trying to get across is not that the BDSM doesn’t achieve anything or doesn’t have some impact. The point is not to be overly scared of it. It’s a pest, it needs to be swatted down and fought, but it’s not as serious a threat as, say, nuclear annihilation by Iran.
Of course BDS will have momentary victories here and there: this or that star will cancel or this or that shop will be inconvenienced.
But it isn’t going to bring down Israel unless stupid, deceitful people, like the ones who gleefully marched us into Oslo 20 years ago, think this is the burning bridge via which they can move Israeli public opinion.
In the end only the Israeli public can actually decide this and their grasp on control is tenuous when we can’t trust the people we vote in, but it’s the only hope we have.
I conclude at ToI:
Even if Thomas Friedman in the New York Times thinks EU led boycott calls will drive Israel to its knees, or John Kerry voices Godfather like offers Israelis can’t refuse, these tactics will all fail.
Israeli ingenuity will prevail and prosper and the world will beat a path to our door for our exports. And Israelis should understand this. Israel’s economic doom is not so easy to organise.
And so I’m trying to start an argument within Israel that counters the threats.
Now if someone wants to say this in Hebrew that would be handy.