Washington Post: Boycotts of Israel Will Never Work

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TEL AVIV – Boycotts of Israel, such as those by “naïve academics” in the U.S., don’t work and are mostly “noise and hot air,” an editorial in the Washington Post claimed.

The editorial, published on Sunday, asserts that BDS – the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement spearheaded by Palestinian organizations – will not achieve its goals, simply because people are not willing to give up basic necessities, luxuries, and their health, which are cornerstones of so many Israeli exports.

The article outlines the goals of the BDS movement, which include ending Israel’s “‘occupation’ of lands claimed by the Arabs,” dismantling the security fence that prevents terrorists from entering Israel, and enabling the Palestinians to return to the land they lost when the Arabs lost the wars they imposed on Israel.

Even though the BDS movement claims to be nonviolent, many demonstrations – particularly those in Australia and South Africa – have spiraled into violence. In addition, the BDS movement has not condemned any terrorist attacks against Israelis and Jews in the Diaspora.

The Washington Post article quotes Adrienne Yaron, a lawyer who posed a series of questions on how far people would go to stand up against Israel. “Would anyone with AIDS or HIV [infections] boycott the best HIV medications available? Or that diabetics will boycott the easiest and most painless insulin administrators, or the newly developed artificial pancreas? Will blind people really refuse to use technology that describes the world to them in real time because it was engineered by an Israeli?”

The Post also notes that former U.S. president Jimmy Carter still uses Israeli-manufactured medications despite being famously anti-Israel.

“The list of the latest vaccines, therapeutics, and medical treatments invented and produced in Israel is a long one, and anyone who needs them would find it difficult to find a substitute. It’s unlikely that many people with cancer, even dedicated anti-Semites, would prefer a shortened life rather than avail themselves of serums and treatments produced by Jews.”

The boycott will never impact the Israeli economy significantly, mainly because most of Israel’s exports are industrial-grade goods, like water technology software, that are sold through governments. Of the top ten exports coming out of Israel, only two can be purchased by individual consumers, and since they belong to the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries, even those cannot be effectively boycotted.

The Post concludes, “Goods and services are more difficult to produce than hot air, despite all the huffing and puffing. That’s why boycotts are mostly noise that can annoy and irritate. But it’s hard to strike mortal blows on a free economy.”


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