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Entries in Protest (1)

Monday
Mar262012

What Is BDS?

What Is BDS?

You know, I really didn’t know myself until Rabbi Aaron Raskin invited a group of us to come counter demonstrate against a picket of a store selling Israeli goods.

We were taken to a small store a block over from his Chabad house in Prospect Heights. A little store called Rickies. There was a police car that sat in front of the store. Protestors picketing store selling Israeli products

We gathered, about 10 of us. Soon a Jewish man came over to us and began accusing us of causing Palestine Occupation. He told us he was Jewish, but that is where the ID ended.

He was soon joined by an Arab man with a video camera who kept a careful eye on us. We figured out later that this was their “insurance” in case we got “uppity” over their crude insults against Jews everywhere.  A number of other Arabs pretended to “just be passing by”. They looked like cool young people who first made friends with the Jews then said “bye!” and changed sides.

Young men and cool looking women. 

We were dealing with real pros although we didn’t know it, we were to soon find out.
 
They might have been cool and pros, but they didn’t count on Jews to fight back.

They expected a typical non-religious Jewish area where the Jews would hide their heads in the sand hoping they and their obnoxious comments would go away.

But we didn’t and we weren’t going anywhere.
 
We were supposed to put our heads in the earth and play “ostrich” like all the other neighborhoods around the world that they terrorize.
 
For the next 2 hours they waved Palestinian and American flags harassing Jews who walked by or anyone going into Rickies.
 
They chanted anti-Semitic remarks, claiming only to be against products produced in the “occupied” parts of Israel.  We chanted, sang and screamed back.
Each person who walked into the store they booed and harassed. We cheered and sang.
 
This is how it went and while we seemed to win somewhat, after looking on the Internet to find out who they are, I realized we had lost.
 
Since then, they have hit this store at least six times.Rabbi Aaron Raskin of Brooklyn Heights Congregation B’nai Abraham battles picketers of a store in Brooklyn Heights selling Israeli Products - Sept 29, 2010 Picture courtesy of “The Brooklyn Paper”
 
The owner actually likes it. It seems it gives him extra sales and publicity! For Jews though, each place they hit around the world (and they are partners with another group called “Code Pink”) they leave Jews hiding and frightened.
 
Both groups, BDS and Code Pink collaborate and sponsor: “Israel Apartheid Week” on campuses across the US and Canada.  
 
They have a mission.
The mission is to pressure and terrorize American Jews into pushing Israel to give up more land. This is where the problem is in defending Jews against their terror tactics.
 
The problem is that ADL is Pro-peace.
Israel is also Pro-peace.
In fact, Israel doesn’t actually disagree with the BDS “land for peace” premise.
Not only do they not disagree with it, but AIPAC actually promotes it.
 
To complicate things further, BDS (believe it or not) is not Illegal in Israel.
 
Since February of 2010, there has been a fight going on within the Knesset over a bill that would make it illegal and impose economic sanctions on countries and organizations within Israel that support Boycott of Israeli products.
 
Those who oppose the bill argue that it infringes on free speech. Others are upset that it is not inclusive enough of all the boycott groups. Both are joining to either change or dump the bill, in short, the bill is going nowhere.
 
As such, the bill the might have an effect on indirect Israeli governmental support for BDS has been tossed back and forth for over two years.
 
Nothing has happened with it expect to make its provisions less specific to satisfy pro-peace groups and other groups afraid of repercussions on the peace process and “what will the world think”. 
 
To counter Israel’s lack of ability to do nothing, Israel officially tells people to ignore BDS as if this is doing anything but making it worse.
They are hard to ignore.
They are run by pro’s and look for forums to express their public message. 
They invade any “Support Israel” lecture anywhere.
Israel finds it hard to condone BDS and similar boycott groups. If they do, then it opens a can of worms questioning where BDS comes from.  The questions all have answers and the answers all inevitably point to Israel’s continued push to give away land.
 
Land for peace appears to be the fuel on which the BDS and other sanction groups feed on.
A point on which Israel totally agrees with BDS.  It is just that Israel would like to do the giving, on Israel’s terms which are: a demilitarized Arab state.
 
A complete unreality in the turbulant Middle East. Yet talks for peace continue based on this premise.
A complete contradiction in terms for the logical thinker and for Israel’s military experts, but not for her politicians.
So Israel can’t fight BDS without looking in its own backyard and finding that the real source of Israel Boycott groups are Israel itself. Something politicians wish to avoid as it points to a liability for the whole mess. Something uncomfortably too close to home for Israeli politicians as all fingers point back to Oslo and the stark phenomenon of increased terror that seems to grow out of each inch of land given.
 
You can google BDS and you will see what I mean.
 
Best,
Raanan Isseroff 
Gush Katif Museum - Jerusalem
visit our website: www.gushkatifmuseum.org