Readers of world news are bombarded with anti-Israel stories. It’s difficult to find two days in a row that are free of Israel-bashing. Mostly, it’s damn the Jews for this and damn them for that.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement works to build that road to damnation. Its assault against two Israeli companies--SodaStream and Teva—illustrates how this road-building works. But the attacks against these two companies also suggest something else. They suggest a way to end the damnation.
SodaStream is an Israeli company. It manufactures the ‘SodaStream Drinksmaker’. This device carbonates water. It’s popular. It sells.
BDS targeted SodaStream because, BDS claimed, the company’s principal factory was built on ‘land stolen from ‘Palestinians’ (‘The Case against SodaStream”, The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, August 12, 2014). This anti-Israel accusation recalls the first Rashi (1040-1105) Commentary on the very first word of the Torah. In that opening commentary, Rashi speaks of a time when the “nations of the world will say to Israel, you are bandits” (Rashi: Bereisheis, The ArtScroll Series, 2003, p. 2): Israel will be accused of ‘stealing’ land.
BDS did exactly that. It accused SodaStream of building a factory upon ‘stolen’ land.
The factory in question had been built just outside the city of Maale Adumim. That city is over the ‘Green Line’, which means that it sits on land Arabs claim Jews ‘stole’.
How did the Jews ‘steal’ this land? In 1967, Jordan attacked Israel as part of a larger war to destroy Israel. It lost. That’s how Israel ‘stole’ the land.
BDS now attacked SodaStream because of that ‘crime’. But SodaStream claimed its factory helped Arabs. It was a major employer of Arabs. It employed 500 of them. It paid them Israeli wages and benefits. Those wages and benefits were considerably higher than anything those Arab could have earned from Arab employers.
The factory was a good deal for Arabs. But BDS didn’t care. It held SodaStream accountable for Israel’s ‘apartheid’ policies (“SodaStream to close illegal settlement factory in response growing boycott campaign”, BDS, October 30, 2014).
Apparently, those higher wages and better benefits were clearly the true face of the ‘apartheid’ Israel. Just as clearly, those Arab workers were oppressed. BDS came to their rescue.
In the end, SodaStream did the right thing. It removed the factory from the ‘stolen’ land. It closed the factory. It laid off the 500 Arabs. BDS celebrated (“SodaStream to close…”, above, ibid).
Nevertheless, BDS was vigilant. It didn’t drop its damnation of SodaStream. A BDS spokesman explained that SodaStream’s decision to shut the one factory and build another one elsewhere will nevertheless keep the company implicated “in the displacement of Palestinians” even in its new location (“SodaStream to Remain Target of BDS Boycott”, The Tablet, November 11, 2014).
Why? Because the new factory that SodaStream is opening (to replace the one shut down) stands too close to a town Israel is developing for Bedouins. The town is controversial. Some—but not all--claim that Bedouins are being forcefully transferred to the new town against their will.
The accusation focuses on Rahat, a Bedouin city near Be’ersheva. It’s an existing city that Israel wants to develop to improve life for the Bedouin. Unlike illegal Bedouin villages, where most Bedouin live, this town provides access to water, electricity and services. The problem is, it’s a city. Bedouin don’t like living in cities. They’re desert people.
The city is poor. It has social and economic problems. BDS claims that SodaStream will benefit from those poor Bedouins. Doing that, BDS claims, will make SodaStream complicit in what BDS calls the “violation of [Arab] human rights”.
The main rights violation would be to bring jobs to a depressed population. It would bring economic opportunity. It would bring desperately needed money to poor Arabs.
BDS doesn’t care about that. It sees Israel as too evil to benefit Arabs. Israel is apartheid, don’t you know? It oppresses the Arab through ethnic cleansing, colonization, racial discrimination, and military occupation (BDS Homepage)--and manufacturing companies participate in this oppression (ibid).
BDS sees SodaStream as one of those human rights violators. It doesn’t matter where it goes. It keeps on oppressing Arabs. It keeps on hiring them.
The ever-vigilant BDS sees the apartheid game SodaStream is playing. It won’t be fooled by the company’s factory tricks.
Teva, the Israeli pharmaceutical company, is another exploiter. It, too, supports the ‘apartheid’ Israel. But in a way, Teva is worse than SodaStream: it gains profit from Israeli apartheid policies that create a captive Palestinian market for Israeli medicine (ibid).
These are serious accusations. But Israel can ease this oppression. There is a road away from damnation.
Here’s a Modest Proposal. It’s really quite simple. First, it aims to remove Arabs from being ‘captive’ to Israel’s medical marketplace. Teva, which makes and sells generic drugs, is one of Israel’s most profitable companies. BDS’s Homepage suggests that Teva oppresses Arabs by making those Arabs reliant on Teva’s drugs (ibid, “Who should I boycott?”).
To eradicate this oppression, the State of Israel should release Arabs from Teva’s (and Israel’s) medical captivity.
After all, if no generic drugs are sold to Arabs, and no Arabs are ‘in captivity’ inside Israeli hospitals, Israel can’t violate their ‘medical’ human rights. They’ll be free from captivity.
Next, Israel can address the economic oppression Arabs feel when they work for Jews. This is one important lesson from those 500 Arabs who were laid off from their SodaStream jobs: they’re no longer oppressed by the Jewish SodaStream.
To bring such freedom to all Arabs, Israeli companies employing/oppressing Arabs in Jewish-owned factories should henceforth free all Arabs from their factory-related ‘captivity’. That way, they’ll no longer be oppressed by their Jewish bosses.
Perhaps BDS is right. Arabs should be free.
This Modest Proposal should help.