An Update from CUFI Action Fund
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Last week, Omar Barghouti, the founder of the anti-Semitic movement to Boycott, Divest from and Sanction (BDS) Israel, informed the world that while he supports a boycott of Israel, if the Jewish state develops a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, it’s ok to use that vaccine. In this week’s Action Update we delve into the bigotry, hypocrisy, and failures of the BDS movement.

Hoping to Destroy Israel

The goal of the BDS movement is to end the existence of the world’s only Jewish state. As Barghouti himself once said, “Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.”

Likewise, leading pro-BDS activist and professor of political science at California State University, Sanislaus As’ad Abu Khalil once noted, “The real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel….That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject.”

In the mind of the BDS activist, Israel is uniquely worthy of ire. In the eyes of those who would seek to boycott the Jewish state into oblivion, no other nation is worthy of such a fate. Make no mistake, this is a movement that singles out Israel for demonization while ignoring actual human rights abusers around the globe. The BDS movement is an anti-Semitic effort to wipe out the world’s only Jewish state – nothing more.

BUT The Vaccine is Kosher

The BDS movement rests on a foundation of duplicity and hypocrisy. They lie about Israel’s actions, and they seek to boycott Israel, but only when it suits them. This goes well beyond Barghouti’s aforementioned seal of approval of a potential Israeli vaccine for Covid-19. Barghouti actually holds a graduate degree from Tel Aviv University – which he acquired while simultaneously calling for an academic boycott, among other things, of the Jewish state.

Moreover, proponents of BDS often seem to find themselves using Israeli technology and innovation. For example, according to the Times of Israel, Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s personal website was created using – “an Israeli company that creates tools for building internet sites.” We may not agree with your policies, Rep. Tlaib, but the site is nice. Mazal Tov.

Truth be told, BDS activist or not, one would be hard pressed to avoid Israeli technology in their daily lives. Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals is the world’s largest maker of generic medications. Thumb drives wouldn’t exist without Israeli technology, and your Windows NT and XP operating systems were primarily developed in the Jewish state. Upon learning this, BDS activists may want to switch to Apple, but they’d have to avoid the latest iPhone which also includes technology developed in Israel.

From the medications that could save your life and agricultural innovations that are helping feed the world, to the technology on the device in your pocket and the one sitting on your desktop, Israeli innovation is all around us.

Microsoft, “Hummus Gate,” and two Cautionary Tales

That puts the BDS activists in a bit of a pickle (not developed in Israel, but still often kosher). So they lie.

Recently, Microsoft decided to end all minority stakes in companies that develop facial recognition technology. The company Microsoft had invested in happened to be Israeli. So the BDS movement claimed victory. The problem of course is that this wasn’t about Israel at all. Microsoft has a host of investments inside Israel, has a large and critical research and development facility in the Jewish state, and the company announced earlier this year plans to “establish the company’s first cloud region in Israel.”

It’s not just large corporations that the BDS movement treats this way. In February of 2018, a UK university’s BDS advocacy group claimed victory when the university stopped selling Sabra hummus. The trouble is that, according to the university, “Coincidentally, and unconnected to the student representations, the shop has recently moved to a new supplier which does not have this product [Sabra hummus] in its range. The decision to go with another supplier is in no way related to the student campaign.”

The list of the BDS movement’s fake claims of victory is far too long for any email, so let’s focus on their two notable “victories.”

In November of 2018, Airbnb de-listed Israeli-owned properties in the West Bank. We found this bigoted and objectionable, so we fought back. Six months later, Airbnb reversed its policy. Airbnb made a mistake, and then they corrected it. Some may not, but we forgive them. Other companies considering acquiescing to the BDS movement’s rank anti-Semitism would do well to learn about this short-lived effort before making a decision.

But if public outcry isn’t enough, boardrooms should consider this other cautionary tale: SodaStream is a popular Israeli brand that allows you to carbonate beverages in your home. They had a factory in the West Bank that employed Palestinians and Israelis side-by-side. Under pressure from the BDS movement, the plant was moved inside Israel proper. The Palestinians who worked at the shuttered West Bank plant lost their jobs. SodaStream continues to sell its products all over the world. As Palestinians went home to tell their loved ones they lost their jobs, the BDS movement claimed victory.

The BDS movement seeks to do with boycotts what terrorists have failed to do with bombs. And the casualties of this vile effort are innocent people, coexistence, and truth.

CUFI Action Fund Team

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