Driving past east Jerusalem, one happens quickly upon a gleaming suburb, Ma’ale Adumim. Home to a thriving community of Israelis, Ma’ale Adumim is also hugely controversial, especially for the opponents of the “settlements.” It’s said that the community is an impediment to peace, yet the truth is quite different.
Among other things, Ma’ale Adumim helps provide economic relief for…Palestinians. As Abe Foxman wrote recently in the Huffington Post:
“What undermines the defamation of SodaStream by these entrenched anti-Israel activists is this booming global company’s humane and practical commitment to true Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.
“The rallying point for BDS-ers is that one of SodaStream’s 22 manufacturing facilities is located in an industrial park in the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, and they accuse the company of ‘profiting from the occupation.’”
Such is the confused worldview of BDS (Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions) proponents, most of whom have a bone to pick with Israel on any subject. Advocates of the boycotts of Israeli companies (including those who do business in the disputed territories, such as Caterpillar) seem unaware that if it weren’t for Israeli companies employing Palestinians, hundreds of Arab families would go hungry.
Alex Margolin, social media editor for HonestReporting, is active in the “counter-campaign” to make people aware of the realities of the BDS efforts.
“We believe that BDS is primarily a media issue, because the economic effect has been minimal, but the damage to Israel’s image has been significant,” he said.
“BDS activists use the media to get their point across to the public. They target well-known celebrities because they know they will get media coverage for it. That gives them a platform to promote their hostile views about Israel.”
Happily, influence can be felt in reverse, such as the recent decision by actress Scarlett Johansson to continue acting as a spokesperson for SodaStream. Another indirect help for Israel is the decision of many artists (such as Paul McCartney) to perform for Israeli audiences.
In short, the BDS efforts appear to be not only misguided, but also…increasingly ineffective. Margolin realizes though that constant vigilance is needed in order to oppose this effort to marginalize Israel further in the international community.
“We are trying to inform people about the real goals of BDS – that it’s not about ‘ending the occupation,’ as some media claim. It is about ending Israel as a Jewish State.
“Our Fighting BDS Facebook page serves as a resource for people who want to join the fight. We post a roundup of BDS-related news every day.”
In a world in which a multitude of attacks are used against Israel, it is a bit jarring to hear Margolin give the BDS movement such a prominent place, yet the sheer relentless nature of its activists suggest he is right when he says:
“BDS has become the central organizing principle around which almost all anti-Israel activity now revolves.”
Not surprisingly, the BDS movement has been a factor since the 2001 Durban Conference, in which Israel was chillingly derided as a fiendish interloper in the international community. According to Margolin:
“BDS is a comprehensive, international strategy that seeks to present Israel as a pariah state analogous to Apartheid South Africa. Designed to isolate Israel politically, economically, militarily, academically and culturally, many of its member organizations aim to delegitimize the Two-State Solution and promote one state for both people, effectively replacing Israel with an Arab-majority state in all the territories of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.”
This demonstrates clearly that the BDS campaign is about much more than criticizing companies that do business in Israel. It is a worldview that seeks the destruction of Israel. All this makes the work of the HonestReporting team absolutely critical. The HR website has a plethora of resources available:
BDS – An Introduction (PDF)
BDS – A Hostile Campaign, StandWithUs
BDS and Non-Governmental Organizations, NGO Monitor
The BDS Movement Promotes Delegitimization of the State of Israel, ReViews, June 10, 2010, Reut Institute (PDF)
For the latest news on BDS, check out and “Like” HonestReporting’s Fighting BDS Facebook page.