What is so galling about the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement that targets Israel and its supporters is its utterly false and fraudulent foundation.
It is patently untrue that Israel is an apartheid state. Yet by brandishing that loaded term, the originators of the BDS movement – among them the clever Omar Barghouti – knew they would attract many idealistic youths to their cause.
Barghouti and his confederates claim Israel is an apartheid state because it occupies Palestine. The fact he has only ever defined this “occupation” in terms of all of pre-1948 Mandatory Palestine has never bothered the idealistic young people who shout his hateful, vile slogans at countless college rallies around the western world. Nor do his ardent champions seem to acknowledge, let alone care, that the BDS founders are opposed to two states – Israel and Palestine – living side by side. Barghouti does not believe the Jews are entitled to their own sovereign existence in the Middle East.
And yet, students and professors in North America and Europe flock to Barghouti’s extreme, anti-Israel mission like ravenous cicadas swarming a fruit tree.
This, of course, is the source of great pique and piercing sadness. We know the BDS movement exploits many well-meaning, if not always well-informed, students. Of course, there are true haters of Israel and disparagers of Jews who populate the BDS movement.
But they are not our concern.
Our concern is for the gullible and the easily deceived who wish, as caring individuals, to stand for justice, integrity and the sanctity of life. They are rightly opposed to actual “apartheid.” But they know so little about Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians that they’re unable to resist the social and other pressures that sweep them up in the zealotry of their good intentions.
So, we bring two recent stories that depict a different, more factual image of Israel.
• Earlier this month, Israel announced it’s donating a water purification system, the GalMobile, to drought-stricken Papua New Guinea. Approximately 85 per cent of the country’s six million people lack access to electricity and tap water. The vehicle is a mobile potable water-treatment, storage and distribution system that connects to any possible water source and produces safe drinking water at World Health Organization standards in less than 30 minutes, yielding approximately 8,000 cups of water per hour.
The Caesarea-based G.A.L. Water Technologies and Israel’s Foreign Ministry have been providing water-treatment systems to countries in Africa for more than 20 years.
• Last month, Israel embarked on a bold agricultural aid program in Senegal – a mostly Muslim country – to help change the future of the arid, food-starved nation of some 14 million people.
The project was conceived years ago and is known by the acronym TIPA (Technology, Innovation and Poverty Alleviation). Israel is partnering with local universities to provide training in rural agriculture technologies, specifically the drip irrigation system it invented. Drip irrigation tubes line the landscape, where small farms – each of about 1,000 square metres – are being built under Israeli-Italian-Senegalese auspices.
In all, Israel plans to help create and assist 4,000 small family farms to produce their own crops.
Former prime minister Aminata Toure, who advises Senegal’s president, praised Israel’s approach to aiding her country. “We would like to strengthen the agricultural connection with Israel,” she said, while Agriculture Minister Papa Abdoulaye Seck added: “[Israel] is in a difficult environment, but [it makes] the difference due to knowledge, technology and willingness to transform the environment.” Toure noted that more than 600 Senegalese have been trained in Israel in agriculture and other fields.
This is the news that BDS champions crave to suppress. It tells the deeper truth about the Jewish state. But truth is not in the BDSers’ interest. The proponents of BDS avoid the truth, because they know that if discovered, it might inspire a genuine curiosity about Israel among some BDS champions, who might then understand they’ve been exploited all along.