Is The U.S. “Enabling” Israel ?


What is BDS?

Wikipedia states:

“Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is a global campaign which uses economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with the stated goals of the movement: The end of Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian or Arab land, full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and respect for the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

“The campaign was started on 9 July 2005 by 171 Palestinian non-governmental organizations in support of the Palestinian cause for boycott, divestment, and international sanctions against Israel.  Citing a body of UN resolutions and specifically echoing the anti-apartheid campaigns against white minority rule in apartheid era South Africa, the BDS campaign called for ‘various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.’

“There is considerable debate about the scope, efficacy, and morality of the BDS movement. Critics argue that the BDS movement promotes the de-legitimization of Israel.  BDS supporters argue that both the movement (and criticism of the movement) are similar to the earlier boycotts of South Africa.”

Recently, the 1.76 million-member Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) became the largest religious group to divest millions of dollars from a handful of major corporations that pro-Palestinian activists have said contribute to violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In a close vote at its annual assembly in Detroit on Friday, the church voted 310-303 to divest $21 million from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions.

(Update: The Ford Motor Company also sells Ford F350s to the IDF border patrol unit).

An interview with Dr. Nahida Gordon by Democracy Now! illustrated the problem.

Gordon:  “Caterpillar, I don’t know…most people have seen these very huge D9 bulldozers, which are weaponized—they have machine guns on them, and I believe some of them are electrified—destroy houses with just one simple swipe. We’ve seen them uproot olive trees. On May 19th, they used bulldozers to destroy, we believe, between 1,500 and 2,000 fruit trees at the Tent of Nations farm. They build the roads into the West Bank, which are for Israelis only. They have been used in building the separation wall, which goes deep into the West Bank into Palestinian territory. And they help build the settlements.

“Now, Motorola Solutions produces fuses for bombs that the Israelis use against the Palestinians. As you well know, they bomb Gaza almost regularly. They also produce surveillance equipment for illegal settlements. These are illegal under international law, and they’re throughout the West Bank.

“And Hewlett-Packard produces biometric—amongst other things, produces biometric scanners, which the Israelis use in checkpoints, which are throughout and inside the West Bank. There are—a few of them are on the border between Israel and the West Bank, but the majority, the large majority, are checkpoints within the West Bank.”

Technically, The Presbyterian Church has stated it is not affiliated with BDS, though its actions seem to be in line with the movement.  Also, the Presbyterian Church is not the first big group to divest, though it’s one of the biggest and most influential.

The Friends Fiduciary Corp., which coordinates investments for 250 Quaker groups, divested from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Veolia Environment in 2012.

Last year, the Mennonite Central Committee decided to not “knowingly invest in companies that benefit from products or services used to perpetrate acts of violence against Palestinians [and] Israelis.”

The United Methodists’ General Board of Pension and Health Benefits decided to sell its stock in G4S, a British prison and security services company, after members asked questions about its work in Israel and the Palestinian territories.  The Methodist board, which manages an investment portfolio of $20 billion, had $110,000 in G4S shares, church officials said.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also announced the divestiture of G4S.  Apparently, it had a $167 million stake in the company.

Divestment is a tool used against companies in order to promote a certain type of behavior, and it can affect their stock price.  It has been used on a host of issues such as child labor and tobacco advertising. In the 1970s and ’80s investment institutions across the country sold off stocks in companies that did business in South Africa.

Noam Chomsky, while he does not agree with BDS in its entirety, states:

“The road ahead leads not to South Africa, but rather to an increase in the proportion of Jews in the Greater Israel that is being constructed. This is the realistic alternative to a two-state settlement.”

“As long as the United States supports Israel’s expansionist policies, there is no reason to expect them to cease.”

According to Larry Derfner:  “Israel…gets $3 billion dollars a year in arms, along with ‘unbreakable’ political support, as Obama likes to say, from the world’s greatest superpower.”

Is it time for the U.S. to stop “enabling” Israel and support BDS ?,_Divestment_and_Sanctions


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