Palestinian Arabs suffer from BDS

Who gains from BDS?

By Judith Bergman, Israel Hayom, September 7, 2015

BDS is a morally corrupt movement, which has only one goal on its agenda, the destruction of Israel, whereas the welfare of the Palestinians could not be further from its mind.

A poll released on Sept. 1 by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center, a Palestinian NGO, showed that support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is down among Palestinians.

“It was clear from the poll that there has been a distinct setback in the level of support for and practice of boycott campaigns of Israeli products in general,” the organization said. “The percentage of those who support the boycott of all Israeli projects dropped from 59.2% last March to 49.1% this August. Moreover, the percentage of those who support the boycott of Israeli settlement products only rose from 7.6% last March to 9.4% this August.”

The poll constitutes more proof, if any were needed, that BDS is a morally corrupt movement, which has only one goal on its agenda, the destruction of Israel, whereas the welfare of the Palestinians could not be further from its mind. If the people it is supposed to be helping do not even support it, the last fig leaf, as it were, falls to the ground.

It is wholly unsurprising that Palestinians are less than enamored of the BDS movement, since they are the ones who suffer the consequences. In a little over a week, SodaStream will be closing its factory in the Maaleh Adumim Industrial Park in Judea, east of Jerusalem, and moving into its new factory in Lehavim in the Negev. While SodaStream has repeatedly denied that BDS had any influence on the move and said that it was due to a company reorganization dictated by economic considerations, the decision, announced in November 2014, was nevertheless widely seen as being a result of BDS pressure.

Out of the 1,300 workers at the SodaStream factory, up to 600 were Palestinians, and when British newspaper The Guardian interviewed them back in 2014, they were not happy.

“We are against the boycott idea,” said one. “It would destroy us. Yes, this place is a settlement, but that’s normal. It’s easy to get here and it’s a good place to work.” Others agreed. “This is about our jobs. It’s not about politics here,” said a colleague.

However, Omar Barghouti, the founder of the BDS movement, could not care less and claimed at the time that BDS was “no coalition of lefty intellectuals” but was supported by Palestinians across the political spectrum.

If anything, this poll disproves that claim.

The Guardian interviewed one of the factory workers again a few days ago. Ali Jafar, who has worked for SodaStream for two years, said: “All the people who wanted to close [SodaStream’s West Bank factory] are mistaken. … They didn’t take into consideration the families.”

Most of the Palestinians working at the factory will lose their jobs now with its move to the Negev.

The trouble with the Palestinians’ wish to keep their jobs and go on with their lives is the large schism with their corrupt and deeply undemocratic leadership, which does not have their best interests at heart any more than the international community does. What the Palestinians want in terms of making a livelihood and providing for their families is secondary to those who merely champion their cause in order to have a stick with which to beat Israel.

Unsurprisingly, the results of this poll, interesting as they are, have not been published anywhere outside Jewish and Israeli media outlets.

The Palestinians clearly do not expect their leadership to change anything for the positive, as the poll also showed a setback in the level of those who trust PA President Mahmoud Abbas, dropping from 21.8% in March of this year to an incredibly low 16.1% in the latest poll. The level of trust in Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh also dropped from 14.1% to 12.5% in the same period.

Lack of support and legitimacy famously does not affect Abbas, who is in the 11th year of his four-year term in office. On the contrary, he is rewarding himself with a $13 million palace, which is going to be built over the next two years in Ramallah, as reported by the official website of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction.

It is easy to see who gains from BDS.

Judith Bergman is a writer and political analyst living in Israel.

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