London is said to be one of the global hubs of the international delegitimisation and BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions) campaigns, but right now the British Israel-Boycotters face multiple blows to their efforts.
The first blow comes from statistics. This year, bilateral trade with Israel reached £3.75bn, a huge 34% increase on last year! The Jewish Chronicle this week reports these figures gleefully as “…putting firmly in its place the campaign for a boycott of Israeli goods.” The article, headed “Boycott, What Boycott?” goes on to say that Israel is now Britain’s largest trading partner in the Near East and Africa. Matthew Gould, Britain’s ambassador to Israel, said, “There is a lot of noise around boycotts but these figures show that it is just noise, and the trade relationship speaks for itself.”
The second blow this week came on Wednesday in London, with the first meeting of the “UK-Israel Tech Council”. Co-chaired by Universities Minister David Willetts and Israel’s Chief Scientist Avi Hasson, and including top level business leaders from both countries, the Council is linked to a new initiative at the British embassy in Israel, the “UK-Israel Technologies Hub”. The two groups between them are creating a strategy for much closer UK-Israel tech links; the world’s “start-up nation” and the UK’s solid academic and manufacturing history – a winning combination.
The third blow to the BDS campaign came on the return from a trip to Israel of Culture Minister Ed Vaizey. Having visited the Hub at the British embassy mentioned above and signed trade agreements, Mr Vaizey said that the BDS movement “…does not have deep roots in the UK. Of the hundreds of universities in the UK, only a handful have taken this stance.” He is also quoted (again in the Jewish Chronicle) as saying that “Britain should pursue partnerships with Israel in hi-tech and creative industries in open defiance of the boycott movement.”
Israel is not only the only free and liberal democracy in the Middle East, it is a world leader in hi-tech manufacturing and export. These blows to the efforts of the BDS movement in Britain show clearly that the British Government and British businesses know when they are on to a good thing and the good thing is called “more trade with Israel”.
The BDS campaigners can disrupt our shopping trip while they make a fuss about goods produced in Israeli settlements, but the real mega-bucks are still being made at higher levels as trade links and strategies between Britain and Israel continue to improve and expand. The British anti-Israel boycotts campaign is losing battle after battle and is showing itself to be completely ineffective in its goals to isolate and delegtimise the Jewish State.