How BDS is Failing-Naomi Klein’s Theory and its Collapse
In its seventy years of existence, Israel has seen and witnessed it all. Full scale wars, small-scale wars, bloody terrorism, hatred and attempts at isolation, and sure enough, boycotts. The boycott of the early years of the state was the most concentrated Arab effort to strangle the young state economically, after the war of aggression initiated in 1948 failed to achieve exactly that through the use of force. It failed, as the combination of legal means practiced in many countries, diplomacy and the resilience of the Israeli economy rendered it irrelevant. So, as we are told by Naomi Klein, one of the main ideologues of the global anti Israel movement, in a seminal article in the Guardian on 9 January 2009, a new strategy was adopted. In July 2005, a huge coalition of Palestinian and other anti Israel groups laid out plans to create the type of global movement that put an end to Apartheid in South Africa.
We are now thirteen years later, enough time to assess the results of the campaign, which Klein, a noted Left Wing Canadian activist and her comrades launched against Israel. Here are some facts, not fiction, about the Israeli economy these days. In 2016, Israel’s economy was ranked the 3rd most stable economy in the world. Israel secured a top-10 ranking in Bloomberg innovation index, and also in 2017, Israel was ranked as one of the world’s 8 great powers for that year. In the start of 2018, the Israeli Shekel is one of the three strongest currencies in the world, and the GDP per capita is 44,000$US, higher than that of France and Britain, and all this without the impact of the newly-discovered natural gas, whose full production as of the next couple of years, will lead to another dramatic rise in the GDP. So, all these are facts, and they have all occurred while the boycott movement known as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions[BDS], is in full force, with the stated aim of achieving exactly the opposite results. A colossal failure, yet another one in the long list of failures of the enemies of Israel. So, where was Ms. Klein so wrong? Let us go back to her article in the Guardian and see how loose is the connection between her Left Wing theories and actual reality. She claimed, that ‘’economic sanctions are the most effective tool in the non-violent arsenal’’, and sure enough, the comparison to South Africa was made, because ‘’the relevance of the South African model is that it proves BDS tactics can be effective when weaker measures fail’’. Why , asked Ms.Klein, ‘’single out Israel when the US, Britain and other Western countries do the same things in Iraq and Afghanistan?’’, and she answered with so much certainty, ‘’the reason the strategy should be tried is practical. In a country so small and trade-dependent , it could actually work’’. Finally, the Canadian Nostradamus told us, that boycotts do develop dialogue, rather than the opposite. A bizarre conclusion, but not for her, as she told her fascinated readers, that she published her master piece the Shock Doctrine in Israel, but by a Left Wing anti occupation publisher, and what a surprise, so much discussion and dialogue ensued between her and… well, here is where she is so detached from real life, from the Israeli realty. She became very popular among the 0.0001percent of the Israelis who are even aware of the Publishing house she chose to publish her irrelevant book. But while this may be just an episodal note, here are some other, more important reasons, why her entire ideological edifice collapsed like a tower of sand, and there is so much sand along the Mediterranean.
Let us take African countries which rush to resume diplomatic relations with Israel. Yes, Kenya, for example,whose President is the son of the great freedom fighter Jomo Kenyatta, somebody who did a little more than Ms.Klein and her entire fan club to fight for African freedom and rights. It is because Kenya needs agricultural, medical and technological support, which it can get and gets from Israel, and not from Leftist theoreticians. There are so many more African states which follow the Kenyan example. Let us see India, whose poor villages need the Israeli water purification technologies, rather than Progressive sermons. Let us see Mexico, where Israeli rescue unit did wanders in saving and rescuing lives after the recent earthquake, something that can happen by actions, not by BDS preaching. We can go on and on, and yes, there is also Israeli military technology which is very popular in many countries, not something to hide, as Israel was forced to specialize in military technology in order to survive in face of the onslaught against its very existence, launched by those, that Ms. Klein is so much fond of. The overall Israeli exports, however in 2017 which surpassed 100 BN US$, consists mostly of civilian products which improve the quality of life of so many needy people in the world.
It was in 1967, when General De Gaulle imposed the unilateral embargo on military supplies to Israel, the one event which signaled also the beginning of the ‘’do it yourself Israeli strategy’’, which can be considered the start of the Israeli economic turn around. Boycotts, Ms. Klein, ‘’somehow’’, seem to have the opposite effect on Israel than what ideologues like you believe in. Even in South Africa, there are those who understand it, and while the ruling ANC party wants to downgrade the diplomatic relations with Israel, the water crisis in this country led to an approach to Israel to come to the help of the suffering people there, but on condition of secrecy, lest the South African masses will know who can really help them in their moment of distress.
That said, I, for one, have no obligation to allow the Kleins of the world to continue to spew their hatred, and to do it in the Guardian, for example. What a coincidence-the great British mouthpiece of anti Israel propaganda is on the verge of bankruptcy, and went tabloid in recent days. Klein’s ideas are surely bankrupt, but the Zionist project is going from strength to strength, and BDS is becoming yet another example of the futile campaign against Israel.