Another day dawns here in Israel as I sit on my hotel balcony overlooking the holy city of Jerusalem. We’ve just completed our annual Jewish Voice Israel Tour, and nearly 200 people joined with us to discover this land for themselves; many for the very first time.
They also discovered something else: While the news media leads us to believe Israel is dangerous, while on tour, you realize it is actually a land of peace. Only when people come here do they see the truth.
The same can be said for those who support “BDS,” or the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” movement. This movement calls for withdrawing support for Israel and for companies doing business in Israel and the West Bank. Further, they demand that the wall between Israel and the Palestinian territories be dismantled to allow Palestinians free access to the border of Israel.
BDS calls for such actions because its supporters claim that Israel is occupying Palestinian land, discriminating against Arab citizens of Israel, and denying Palestinian refugees the right of return to their homes.
I wonder how many of these BDS folks have ever been to Israel to witness whether what they’re saying is true. Because, if they actually looked into their claims, they’d likely be shocked, if not ashamed. I’d like to take a few moments to address their accusations.
The claim: “Israel is occupying Palestinian land, and this violates international law.”
The truth: According to international law, the only binding agreement regarding the land was, and remains, the 1922 Mandate for Palestine. This affirms the Jewish people’s connection to Palestine (Israel) for their national home.
More importantly, according to the Bible, Israel should be more than 10 times as large as it is right now (Numbers 34, for example). In other words, 90 percent of what rightfully belongs to Israel is being occupied by some of the very nations that accuse her of occupying their land.
The claim: “Israel discriminates against Palestinians and Arab citizens of Israel.”
The truth: Funny, that’s not what the Arab citizens of Israel say. They will gladly tell you that they – just like Jewish Israelis – have their own political parties and serve in the Knesset and the Supreme Court. A recent Harvard study showed that more than 80 percent of Palestinian citizens would rather live in Israel than in their own historical Arab countries of origin, where they would be discriminated against.
The claim: “Israel is denying Palestinian refugees the right of return to their homes.”
The truth: What right of return? The story goes that during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, thousands of Arab residents of Israel were forced out, becoming refugees, and it’s now time to right the wrongs of 70 years ago. It’s now time to quote the words of former Syrian Prime Minister Khalid al-Azm who wrote in his memoirs (published posthumously in 1973) that the refugee problem was caused by, “the call by the Arab governments to the inhabitants of Palestine to evacuate it (Palestine) and leave for the bordering Arab countries…We [emphasis mine] brought disaster upon a million Arab refugees by inviting them and bringing pressure on them to leave.”
Arab sources admit that they, themselves, are to blame for this problem. Yet BDS conveniently blames it on Israel.
If BDS is so intent on supporting the Palestinian cause, one must wonder why they’d boycott companies like Sodastream, which had a plant in the area. Perhaps BDS didn’t realize that many of the company’s employees were Palestinians? As a result of the boycott, Sodastream had no choice but to lay off 500 Palestinian workers. Was this a victory for BDS?
And, finally, the wall. Both BDS and the international community seem to be preoccupied with taking down the wall under the guise of allowing Palestinians to cross the border freely.
What few people seem to realize is that every day Israel allows more than 50,000 Palestinians to enter Israel in order to work. No one’s keeping peaceful Palestinians out. The wall is there so the terrorists won’t get in.
And, to quote Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “Ay, there’s the rub!"
Maybe that’s been the intent all along: To convince Israel to take down the wall – not to permit peaceful Palestinians to pass (they are already coming in legally anyway), but to allow terrorists access to destroy Israel once and for all.
Perhaps that is the real key to what the BDS movement is really all about.