The annual Israeli Apartheid Week, dubbed “anti-Semitic hatefest” by Canadian author Howard Rotberg, is approaching again. As every year the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign will play a key part in this eighth edition.
A large conference of the BDS was just held in Bologna, Italy. The forum selected three areas on which to concentrate efforts in 2012: Israel’s arms industry, pharmaceuticals industry and tourism.
The choice of companies to boycott reveals BDS’ extremism and hatred for the very existence of Israel within any borders. The targets are the Jewish people and nation, not merely the communities of Judea and Samaria. Indeed, BDS is boycotting companies that just say “Made in Israel.”
Western universities are a primary target of the BDS campaign. Over the last weekend, a BDS conference took place at the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution in the heart of Philadelphia, where some academics taught US students how to demonize Israel “in every classroom.”
Several weeks ago Israeli writer Moshe Sakal was booted from an academic conference in Marseilles at the request of Palestinian poet Najwan Darwish, a major BDS supporter. Last September, an Israeli professor from Ariel University, Ronen Cohen, was expelled from a German academic conference in Berlin (he was later reinstated after a protest.)
A prominent figure of the Jewish community of Belgium, Jacques Brotchi, just resigned from the board of Free University of Brussels after denouncing several grave anti-Semitic incidents within the institution. The last one included the staging of an Israeli checkpoint on campus and the invitation of anti-Semitic French comic Dieudonné.
According to Brotchi, the situation at Brussels “is comparable to what is happening in other universities in Europe and elsewhere with the academic boycott of Israel campaigns, where anti-Zionism takes the form of anti-Semitism.” Elsewhere, Rotterdam’s Erasmus University recently hosted events in which Israel was equated with the apartheid regime in South Africa.
The Methodist boycott
BDS has also gained a foothold in the most prominent US Churches. The United Methodist Church, the major mainline Christian denomination in the US, is slated to discuss divestment proposals targeting Motorola and Hewlett Packard during the church’s General Conference in late April in Florida.
Notably, the Methodists boycott no other country; only Israel.
BDS’ maximalist demand - the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state - is hidden, but apparent to a careful examiner of the latest Bologna’s forum. BDS targets Teva, a company established in Jerusalem 47 years before the re-establishment of Israel, only because it is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies; L’Oreal, even though it is located in pre-1967 Israel; Delta Galil Industries, because it’s Israel’s largest textile manufacturer; and Sabra, because it is Israel’s second-largest food company and supplies food for the IDF.
As was the case with the Arab League, which used the boycott as a means for isolating Israel worldwide, BDS is not about Israel’s size – rather, it is about her very existence.
Giulio Meotti, a journalist with Il Foglio, is the author of the book A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel's Victims of Terrorism