Monday, December 26, 2011

And Even More BDS Fails

BDS Global Digest provides ongoing reports of BDS and BDS-related stories in the news. The last few weeks have seen some major BDS fails. For openers, Israel's economy continues to boom. Cornell University and Technion will partner to build an Applied Sciences campus here in New York City on Roosevelt Island. Apple Computers just acquired Anobit, an Israel maker of flash storage technology. Apple is also working on setting up a Research and Development Center in Israel, near the Technion. It will be Apple's first R&D site outside of the U.S. Apple will be joining Google, Microsoft, Intel, Motorola and Yahoo, who all have R&D centers in Israel.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Yet Another BDS Fail

Students at the University of Pennsylvania are holding a nationwide conference on BDS in February.  The University has issued the following statement distancing itself from the conference and reiterating its rejection of BDS (via Stand With Us).

Penn Statement on Planned BDS Conference

A campus student group, Penn BDS, is planning a national conference in February that will encourage boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

This is not an event sponsored by the University.  The event is being sponsored by a registered student group, as is permitted of any student group on campus.

The University of Pennsylvania has clearly stated on numerous occasions that it does not support sanctions or boycotts against Israel.  Indeed, Penn has important and successful scholarly collaborations with Israeli institutions that touch on many areas of our academic enterprise.

Penn has always supported free expression and the free exchange of ideas.  These are essential elements of a great university.  These principles apply to this event, as they would any other student event, whether or not we agree with or condone the message BDS seeks to communicate.

University of Pennsylvania
1 College Hall, Room 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6380

President Amy Gutmann

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Two More BDS Fails

Elder or Ziyon recently cited two very interesting reports.

Apparently goods made in Israel are very popular in Sinai and there is a flourishing smuggling business through the Gaza tunnels.   The "Made in Israel" label is actually a selling point.

Furthermore, in spite of a PA law banning Palestinian Arabs from working in the Jewish communities of the West Bank, 31,000 workers are doing just that.  Another 70,000 have jobs inside Israel's green line. So much for the call from Palestinian Civil Society.

Just sayin'

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Response to RC

I invited BDS supporters to engage in dialogue.  RC was kind enough to post something.  Below is his note and my response. 
Dear Barbara,

You relentlessly attack your political enemies, yet you post videos lauding Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu? You are a shill for the State of Israel. You have never once criticized Israel for anything. Most BDS supporters like myself condemn nationalism and chauvinism of all sorts. Neither Hamas nor Kach! You cannot claim the same objectivity, as you are a liberal in terms of your food choices, but a far-right-winger in your politics.

Dear RC-
Thank you for taking the time to respond.  I hope you will respond in kind to my comments.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Challenge to Peace Activists and BDS Supporters

I see that I got some attention from the BDS advocates. Our Park Slope Food Coop BDS promoters have finally noticed the difference between a "tenant" and a "tenet.".

So, I invite you guys who think BDS is a good idea for our Coop to engage in a discussion here. I will publish any reasoned statement, as long as it doesn't resort to profanity or name calling. Ok?

I will start with a few questions. At your Images of Palestine event, some of you said BDS will pressure Israel to end the occupation.
  1. When you say "occupation" do you mean the entire former British Mandate or only the territories beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines that were not controlled by Israel? 

  2. Do you believe that Israel has security concerns? If you say no, then please state why not. If you say yes, then please state how BDS addresses those security concerns.
Do I have any fans?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Minister and Me

The Communists in the Former Soviet Union hated religion. But they especially hated Judaism. It was illegal to teach Hebrew and Judaism. It was illegal to publicly practice Judaism. Jews experienced horrible discrimination and oppression.

In the late 1960's, here in the United States and Israel, Jews began to work to improve the condition of Jews in the Soviet Union. We worked to allow them to emigrate to Israel and to end the persecution. In the 1970's and 80's, when I was a teen and in my 20's, I spent many a Sunday at demonstrations and activities on behalf of Soviet Jews. With the support of Senators Henry "Scoop" Jackson and Charles Vanick, we successfully lobbied Congress to link Human Rights with trade with the USSR and other nations with controlled economies.

We were inspired by the young men and women who risked their freedom and livelihood by secretly teaching Hebrew and applying for visas to move to Israel. Many went to prison. One of them was Yuli Edelstein.

Yuli Edelstein was allowed to emigrate to Israel in 1987. He entered public service and today serves in Israel's Cabinet as the Minister of Information and Diaspora Affairs. On December 4, 2011, he visited the Park Slope Food Coop as part of the promotion of Buy Israel Week and to offer his support and encouragement to our anti-BDS efforts at the Coop.
This is the Minister and that is me with my back to the camera. I am reciting to him from the prayer for the State of Israel that we say in synagogues on Saturday - "Our Heavenly Father should send his Light and Truth to the leaders, ministers and advisers of Israels."

Just how effective has nearly 3 years of BDS efforts at the Coop been?  Well, if SodaStream sales are any indication, the BDS message is being ignored.   We are currently selling about 12 carbonators a week.  In addition, we are selling over 100 replacement CO2 canisters.  Then there are the extra bottles, caps and syrups.  I conservatively estimate current gross sales of SodaStream products be over $2,600 / week.  The current rate of canisters sales means a reduction of over 350,000 plastic 1 liter soda bottles from entering the waste stream.

What else are Coop members ignoring?  They seem to have mostly ignored the young man wearing the PFLP t-shirt who was giving out flyers for the BDS education event on Sunday.

What Kind of Coop Do We Want To Be?

What kind of Coop do we want to be? Do we want to be a place where people of all different perspectives and outlooks can come together and find common ground in their interest in healthy fresh food and their willingness to be part our collective enterprise? Are we to be a community where we can assume that each person who joins it will act for the good of the community as a whole and will not inflict damage on that community and pain on its members, even for a cause she believes in strongly? Or are we to be a place where anyone can promote any political agenda, and exploit the good name of our Coop?

The members promoting a referendum on joining the BDS movement claim “avoiding discussion on an important issue does not build unity – it builds anxiety and mistrust.” So they have imposed a discussion of the Middle East conflict upon us. They want the Coop to be “welcoming to everyone who would express themselves on this issue.”

But the discussion they offer is not an honest one. This group conducted a program in the Coop on Dec 4. It was attended by about 20 people in addition to the organizers and presenters. I do not doubt the presenters sincerely believe themselves to be advocates of peace. Yet, they appeared singularly unknowledgeable regarding certain facts, and in some case transmitted information that was outright wrong. Not everything expressed at this program was consistent with the true pursuit of peace.

What kind of peace activist wears a t-shirt with the emblem of the terrorist organization responsible for the 1974 murders of 17 Puerto Ricans, 1 Canadian and 9 Israelis at Lod airport? What kind of peace activist suggests that suicide bombings directed against civilians is justified? What kind of peace activist stays silent when someone says that, and will not unequivocally say “murder of civilians is wrong in all cases”? Is this the “expressions on this issue” we want to welcome at the coop? Or does it “build anxiety and mistrust”?

If you are a Coop member, please join me and more than 200 others in telling these “peace activists” to drop their BDS campaign at the Coop. The Coop doesn’t want or need this discussion. Send an email to