I often write about the danger of the BDS movement. It has officially been going on for 16 years. It was started by Mahmoud Abbas (current leader of the Palestinian Authority), and Omar Barghouti. Abbas and Barghouti didn’t invent the boycott of Jewish people, products or inventions; they simply revived an age-old practice that was used in Europe in the 1930s. In my research and writing about BDS, I usually present a few ideas on how to fight that antisemitic concept. I have told people repeatedly that one of the best ways to fight BDS is to go to their website and buy and support the very products and companies they list as who should be boycotted. They did all the leg work for us, so let’s use their list.
Another way to fight BDS, and a very powerful one at that, is to educate those who are being fooled by its “social justice” agenda. We need to be informed about the real issues plaguing the Middle East and we need to be able to debunk the Palestinian narrative built on a false premise. Israel is not an apartheid state. It is the safest most productive place for Arabs to live in and work from. Israel is not committing ethnic cleansing since there a much more Arabs within the land today than there were prior to 1948 when it was reborn as a modern nation. Israel is not killing Palestinians indiscriminately, but carefully warning Gaza civilians about upcoming attacks on sites that Hamas specifically selected for their civilian population such as schools and hospitals.
Now, allow me to introduce you to one more way to fight BDS. Instead of just buying what BDS proponents say we should boycott–which is definitely a great start to counter BDS–we should seriously consider boycotting the boycotters. The principle is rather simple. Whichever company, organization, or personality supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement against Israel and the Jewish people, should in turn be boycotted by those who support Israel’s right to exist. It is simple in theory but requires three things: Sacrifice, commitment and integrity. Keep in mind that we should always pass everything through the very helpful “3D test” established by Russian refusenik and now in charge of Immigration to Israel, Nathan Sharansky. He posits that antisemitism can be defined by any combination of the three Ds: Demonization, Double-Standard and Delegitimization. He explains, “we must be clear and outspoken in exposing the new anti-Semitism. I believe that we can apply a simple test – I call it the “3D” test – to help us distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism. The first “D” is the test of demonization. When the Jewish state is being demonized; when Israel’s actions are blown out of all sensible proportion; when comparisons are made between Israelis and Nazis and between Palestinian refugee camps and Auschwitz – this is anti-Semitism, not legitimate criticism of Israel. The second “D” is the test of double standards. When criticism of Israel is applied selectively; when Israel is singled out by the United Nations for human rights abuses while the behavior of known and major abusers, such as China, Iran, Cuba, and Syria, is ignored; when Israel’s Magen David Adom, alone among the world’s ambulance services, is denied admission to the International Red Cross – this is anti-Semitism. The third “D” is the test of delegitimization: when Israel’s fundamental right to exist is denied – alone among all peoples in the world – this too is anti-Semitism.”
Now, let’s look at the need for sacrifice, commitment and integrity:
We all have a long list of products, companies and personalities that we support and enjoy. Imagine finding out that your favorite actor or musician supports BDS and shows some serious signs of being anti-Semitic. Maybe your favorite product that you have bought for years is making wrong choices about boycotting Israel. Now you have to decide, should you look the other way, or should you stop sending them your money? This is not a trick question, because I constantly ask myself the same question, and unfortunately, more and more recently.
Take for instance the recent decision by Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream to stop selling their ice cream to the Israeli settlements in Judea/Samaria (improperly labelled the West Bank), or all of Israel if they could. It is entirely within their rights to do so, but it is also entirely within ours to stop buying Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Is it possible to say that it is also our duty as bible believing followers of Yeshua and supporters of Israel to “defund Ben & Jerry”, to use a term that everybody can relate to? Now, apply that principle to other areas in your own life where BDS is infringing, and we can start making an impact by using the boycott principle where justified. I personally stopped eating their products last year when that went crazy against the police, and I kept it private, but I feel that now is the time to start spending our money more wisely. I could give you more examples of who to boycott, but I do not wish to unnecessarily be accused of character assassination by those who might miss my point. Instead, I will invite any of you to Google a specific brand, organization or personality with the word “boycott” or “BDS” and see the results. It is not complicated for anyone to find out who is against Israel. When in doubt, contact me privately. All this will require commitment on our part.
So, now that you have decided to boycott a product or a personality, you have to remain committed to that boycott, at least until they show that they have revised their position. We cannot boycott a TV channel on Monday through Friday, but look the other way on weekends because our favorite show is running at that time. We cannot boycott an actor or actress on some movies, but not others because they are part of our favorite movie list. We cannot boycott Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream except for one flavor because we cannot live without it. I get it, it would be a lot easier to boycott a brand of water and switch to another than to sacrifice and stop eating our favorite ice cream. We either boycott or we don’t, but there isn’t such a thing as a partial boycott. Once we commit, we commit. I have boycotted every single movie of one of my all-time favorite directors since 1988 when he directed a very blasphemous and offensive movie graphically portraying Yeshua in terrible sexual relationships. He has since come up with many movies that I would have loved to watch, but I am committed. Think before you commit or don’t commit because you will need to proceed with integrity.
A good definition of integrity from the Merriam-Webster dictionary is, “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values” or “an unimpaired condition” or “the quality or state of being complete or undivided.”
Integrity has to do with being consistent according to a set of set values. Taking it to an extreme, we could argue that Hitler had integrity because he was very consistent in following his code of ethics or values which happened to be the destruction of all Jews. To be fair, this is not the way we think of integrity today. It is more related to morality and character. The point of integrity is that once we make a decision based on what we think is the best course of action, we have to be consistent. When I look at those who support and promote BDS, I see a lot of hypocrisy. They are willing to sacrifice for what doesn’t really hurt them, but they absolutely will not boycott what they cannot live without. Let us not be too quick to judge, because we might be partially guilty of the same at times. The idea is that if you accuse Israel of being an occupier, colonizer and apartheid state, and that you call for its complete boycott, then it should be a complete boycott. It’s easy for anyone to stop buying Jaffa oranges or Sabra® hummus, but it is a different story to refrain from using technology that was invented or co-invented by Israelis like cell-phone technology, thumb drives or even the Intel® chip for computers.
Looking at sacrifice, commitment and integrity, we all come to the realization that boycotting is easier said than done. Let the BDS promoters be inconsistent, hypocritical and without integrity, but for those of us who claim to love Israel and the Jewish people, the time has come to sacrifice and boycott the boycotters. If you decide to do so, why don’t you let your Jewish community leaders and synagogues know that you are boycotting the boycotters? That is, of course, after you have taken a minute to email the organization or product that you are boycotting to let them know that they are losing customers and why.
Time to speak up, time to act and time to stop eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream!