Asking questions, bringing balance, confronting predjudice

Fighting back against BDS

A boycotter at a BDS rallybds_100The supposedly pro-Palestinian BDS movement frequently makes the news with its aggressive and counter-productive antics in stores and on the streets, but supporters of Israel, both Jewish and Christian, are fighting back.

It’s a common joke in the pro-Israel community that there are less and less things that BDS supporters can eat, use or be treated with without infringing their own “never buy Israel” mantras. BDS purists have (or should have!) banned themselves from using mobile ‘phones, receiving the best heart treatments in hospital or enjoying the delights of cherry tomatoes or Medjool dates (both of them yummy as well as healthy and produced in Israel)!

Just so BDS supporters can check themselves on their way to go shopping, there’s now an app for that! “Am Israel Buy” (a play on the Hebrew phrase “the people of Israel live”) is a compendium of Israeli-sourced foods, cosmetics, clothing and even books about Israel; most of which can be ordered online from your ‘phone (oops, sorry Mr BDS, you shouldn’t be using your Smart Phone with its Isaeli-invented voicemail and SMS).

The Am Yisrael Buy app is available on most mobile platforms, so go buy!

While we’re talking apps, canny supporters of Israeli products can use the software boycotters themselves use as they avoid the same items! www.buycott.com is the home of the “Buycott”, app, which allows you to scan barcodes with your phone to detect products you want or don’t want to buy.

Campaigns you can join include avoiding Chinese potatoes and Johnson’s Baby Powder (no, I don’t know why either) and, of course, a good number to either avoid or buy products form Israel or the settlements. Buycott is also available on most mobile platforms.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) is one of the largest of the Christian pro-Israel organisations and hosts Israel’s biggest annual tourist event, the Christian Feast of Tabernacles. At this year’s event, attended by some 4,500 international delegates from 80 nations, ICEJ launched “The Israel Buyer’s Guide”, an annual publication in print or as a pdf download,  in conjunction with the Israel Manufacturer’s Association.

At the launch, ICEJ Executive Director Dr. Jürgen Bühler said,

“In spite of all the challenges which Israel faces, it is rightly known today as the ‘Start-Up Nation’, making immense contributions to the world in the fields of medicine, science and technology, and serving as a major engine of the digital age… Through our new ‘Israel Buyer’s Guide’, we want to better inform Christians on how they can find and purchase Israeli goods and innovations abroad while also bolstering the Israeli economy.”

Dr Bühler also highlighted the Buyer’s Guide as a counter to the BDS Movement’s attempts to strangle Israel economically by persuading people to boycott Israeli products. The Guide can be downloaded here.

On another front HaTikvah Film Trust, a British Christian media organisation that makes documentary films, has just launched a 23 minute expose (here on YouTube) of Britain’s betrayal of the Jewish people by abusing the mandate given to her to encourage Jewish settlement in Palestine after World War One.

Today’s media is very happy to employ the “International Community” as a club to beat Israel for almost every statement she makes or action she takes. In the post WW1 era, however, the international community was clearly represented by the League of Nations, which made itself responsible for alleviating and organising the international mess left by four years of fighting and death.

The League formally enshrined into a legal document the controversial “Balfour Declaration” of 1917, ratifying Britain’s approval of the concept of a “Jewish Homeland” in Palestine and effectively telling the British government to get on and do it!

There is a move by Israel’s detractors to denigrate and even apologise for the Balfour Declaration, but they cannot escape the fact that the League of Nations mandate to Britain superseded the Declaration and expressed the clear desire of the international community of the day for maximum Jewish immigration and settlement in what has become today’s state of Israel.

Besides demonstrating Britain’s betrayal of the mandate given her by the League of Nations, HaTikvah’s film brings a welcome balance to those who would decry Britain’s part in the creation of modern Israel. In truth, she resisted the will of the international community of the day by not encouraging more immigration to Palestine by Jewish settlers.

The aggressive and unpleasant BDS Movement continues to play on emotions rather than face up to solid facts and reasoned debate. The complications of the sad situation that exists between Israel and the Palestinians will not be solved by apps, but there is a desperate need to bring some balance to the conversations about the rights and wrongs of the conflict.

The products mentioned above will not bring the BDS campaign to its knees but they do demonstrate convincing evidence of some of the many positive things to come out of Israel as well as evidence of the atrocious way she has been treated since even before the creation of the modern Jewish state.

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