Time for financial Zionism / Op-ed: Defenders of Jewish state worldwide should counter anti-Israel boycott through their wallets (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Tal Brody Published: 06.13.12, 18:07)
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Many casual observers of contemporary Israeli affairs face a puzzling
dilemma when asked to think about the effects of the so-called BDS
(Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement. On the one hand, they hear
reports of ever-increasing accomplishments in the Israeli hi-tech
sector with Israeli corporations being purchased by international
conglomerates and increases in exports all over the globe. On the
other hand, they are being told that BDS is deeply hurting the
Israeli economy and is a force that needs to be combated with all the
intensity possible. Despite the seeming contradiction between these
two realities, the fact is that both are true.
Yes, Israel continues to hold remarkable influence over global
markets and Israeli corporations are able to report growing export
figures each year. But, when one takes a look beyond the mega-
companies and examines the sales reports of smaller Israeli
manufacturers and so called “mom and pop” commercial entities, the
effects of BDS are deeply troubling.
It is a phenomenon that cannot be trivialized because literally
thousands of Israeli jobs could be lost should the tide not be
Many abroad think that there is little that can be done to silence
the BDS movement. They rightfully assume that these campaigns are
being instigated by callous hate-mongers who are unwilling to
recognize Israel’s contribution to the world out of their ignorance
of the realities of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Those same people
think that it is best just to ignore BDS and it will go away; that
it’s a laughable attempt to disrupt Israeli commerce.
Perhaps this was a position that had some credence in the early days
of BDS, when it was just a fringe protest movement, with little to no
serious following. But no one can laugh any longer when we’re witness
to factories closing and hard working Israeli men and women forced
out of their jobs. Appreciating that BDS is a real threat is the
first step and I believe that more and more within the pro-Israel
community are waking up to that. But the question is what we can each
do about it?
Buy blue and white
Calling out Israel’s critics for the sheer absurdity of their claims
is one way to go and certainly should be done wherever possible.
Israeli innovation serves at the center of pretty much every
technologically-charged industry that drives our modern world. From
medicine, to computer engineering to entertainment, thousands of
different operations are only made possible because of the brain
power invested by Israeli developers. Before the critics power up
their computers, play with their entertainment devices or undergo a
medical procedure, they should be prepared to forego the experience
if they are truly honest about boycotting Israel. My guess is that
most of these BDSers wouldn’t be so prepared.
But there is a far more practical side to what can be done by
defenders of Israel and that is to defend our beloved nation through
their wallets. The concept of buying blue and white is not a new one
but it is becoming increasingly imperative that people recognize what
is at stake if Israeli commercial enterprises are abandoned.
The most fragile actors in any major economy are the little guys.
These are the small businesses without the financial resources to
overcome the loss of even a small percentage of their annual revenue.
When boycotters choose to publically call for the cessation of
purchases from Israel, they directly harm Israeli manufacturers at
the lower end of the production chain including small companies who
produce Israeli-oriented products like Judaica, souvenirs and crafts.
These companies are unable to overcome the hurdle imposed by a
significant drop in income and are forced to lay off laborers.
Perhaps it’s ironic but in many cases the boycotts hurt Palestinian
laborers just as much as Israelis because dips in employment in
Israel typically hurt Arab workers just as much as their Jewish
The response that we can therefore each take upon ourselves is to
make the decision to invest in Israel in some small way by going
online today and buying blue and white. This need not be a major
purchase but the collective financial strength of the pro-Israel
community around the world is surely far stronger than that of the
This is one way for us to all support Israel in a pro-active and
lasting way and show our enemies that we cannot be destroyed and in
so doing add “Financial Zionism” to the long list of ways we’ve shown
our love for the Jewish State throughout its remarkable history.
(Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet 06/13/12)
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