Can you boycott trade with Israel?

BDS is an international movement that purports to  act solely against Israeli activity based in what is called the West Bank. On the other side, there are many that claim and with a wide amount of justification that the campaign is really a euphemism for the deligitimisation of Israel as a whole.

BDS activity is particularly active in the UK and has gained the support of the Church of England. So it is with some irony that London was the host in June for a major conference featuring 40 Israeli start ups. Stats reveal that bilateral trade has shot up in 2012, despite the European recession. And despite being a country of under 8 million people, Israel features over 40 companies on London stock market listings.

What caught my eye about the conference was the list of high profile attendees. Aside from the politicos, “Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, Brent Hoberman of lastminute.com, Errol Damelin of Wonga, Jimmy Maymann of the Huffington Post, Mark Read of WPP, Dov Moran, founder of M-Systems, which invented the USB flash drive” were all present.

So if BDS is all about boycotting, what could they try to stop in the next few months?

Well, how about banning the import of all Intel chip based products, which continue to feature prime Israeli r&d. Without being too flippant, one suspects that the BDS movement is using such computers themselves.

Next, the BDS supporters will have to avoid coming in to London during the Olympics and probably after that. Traffilog, a software house located outside Tel Aviv, has secured an order to help control vehicles in the British metropolis as well to identify suspicious objects.

And if the BDS team wants to inform each other of this potential logistical restriction, they can no longer use BT appliances. The “international communications giant British Telecom has chosen Israel‘s Cyber-Ark Software to monitor and secure its accounts.” And if that is not enough, they must also be aware of which mobile tech they use, as many phones these days contain Israeli based tech, such as the GPS systems.

I could mention Richard Branson’s latest joint venture to distribute Israeli water coolers. How about the desire of Dell Computers to take on more Israeli technology partners? As I wrote, trade is booming.

I am forced to ask a delicate but direct question: What is BDS all about? Boycotting trade? Maybe at the margins but as I have detailed, globalisation shows that this is a pretence. Human rights? Not really, because these people seem to care little for the daily murders in Syria or the fact that Saudi women have only just been allowed to represent their country at the Olympics. The question begs to be answered.

I looked at the home page of the BDS website. With all the politically correct prose it can muster, the BDS technical writers compare their campaign to the boycott of South Africa last century. However, they omit to say that the same campaigners of old wanted to see the country remain on the geopolitical map, only under a proper democracy. Maybe a truer equivalent is with an earlier European boycott that offically commenced in Nuremberg in 1935?

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