Wednesday, January 31, 2018

How BDS helps to destroy the Palestinian economy

The Palestinian Authority (PA) needs Israel--if, that is, the PA wants to create a viable state. The reason is simple: Israel can solve the problems that disable the PA. 

For example, the PA needs water. Israel is a water superpower. 

The PA needs a stronger food-supply system. Israel is a world-class expert in agricultural sustainability.

The PA needs modern, good-paying jobs. Israel is a high-tech superpower.

The PA needs innovative thinking to survive. Israel is ranked 10th in the world for innovation (Michelle Jamrisko, Wei LU, "The US drops out of top 10 in Innovation ranking", bloombergnews, January 22, 2018).

Israel is not selfish about its talents. It's willing to share--if, that is, the PA is willing to ask for help. 

Without Israeli help, the PA has problems gaining access to air and sea passage into and out of the PA. Without cooperation with Israel, the PA lacks access to world-class medical services. Without cooperation with Israel, the PA can't get enough water for its citizens.

Palestinians', however, don't speak of 'cooperation'. They speak of 'normalization'. The PA says, 'normalization' with Israel is forbidden.  

Forbidding normalization with Israel affects Palestinian lives at all levels, every day. Take, for example, going to the movies in the PA. In October,  2017, the PA held a 'Days of Cinema' festival in Ramallah, chief city and nominal capital of the Palestinian Authority. One film, The Insult, directed by Lebanese Ziad Doueiri, was scheduled to be screened. But it was banned ("Palestinian journalists come out against BDS movement, Ramallah Municipality for banning Lebanese director Zia Doueiri's film in Ramallah", memri, January 22, 2018). 

The film is about a legal dispute between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian refugee (ibid). The banning of the film had nothing to do with that theme. The ban also had nothing to do with the contents of or dialogue in the film. The film was banned because it violated a prohibition against  'normalization' with Israel.

The ban was put into place because the director was accused of maintaining relations with Israel that could be "classified as normalization" (ibid). The specific sin he had committed was that he had--G-d forbid--filmed a movie in 2012 in Israel

For its part, Israel had no problem with this filming. Israel allowed the man to do his film. Israel cooperated with him.

It's Palestinian leaders who have a problem with such cooperation. They'd rather ban a film because its director had once made another film in Israel than allow Palestinians see it. That's how horrible 'normalization' is.

The Palestinian ban against 'normalization' is no small issue. It's pervasive (Jonah Naghi, "Why is  normalization with Israel stigmatized in Palestinian society?", forward, May 30, 2017). It limits and restricts Palestinian life-choices on a daily basis, for good reason: anti-normalization advocates understand that the more interactions PA residents have with Israel, the greater will be the desire for 'normalization' with Israel; and the greater the desire for 'normalization, the more inclined PA citizens may be to ask the PA why it doesn't offer what Israel offers. 

Anti-normalization advocates fear such questions because such questions suggest that Israel isn't evil. Such questions suggest Israel has something to offer. They might also suggest that PA leaders may be failing their citizens.

The PA antidote to such questions is to follow a BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions)-led anti-normalization campaign. True, BDS anti-normalization efforts in PA territories don't have universal support (Asaf Romirowsky, "The anti-Israel movement's anti-normalization campaign", nationalpost, August 3, 2016). PA residents simply know too much about Israeli culture, entertainment and shopping opportunities to give universal support to BDS. But the BDS anti-Israel ideology is strong within the PA leadership structure. Hence, the ban on this film.

BDS certainly has a point here. How can you destroy your enemy when too many of your natural audience have no problem 'normalizing' with that enemy? 

BDS doesn't care what Palestinians want. It promotes only its 'struggle against normalization" (ibid). 

This 'struggle' is the key BDS value. It is not a struggle for peace. It's a struggle against the existence of Israel ("BDS is against the very existence of Israel", mizrachi, no date,  retrieved January 30, 2018). 

As a result of this 'struggle' to destroy Israel, the Palestinian people suffer. Because of the BDS campaign against 'normalization', even film-viewing is limited in the PA. 

Israel has much to offer the Palestinian Authority. Israeli skills could shrink PA poverty and build the kind of middle class a viable state needs in order to flourish. But those things won't happen for the PA. Anti-normalization will make sure of it. 

This BDS-driven campaign is not a recipe for communal survival. It's a recipe for a self-induced Palestinian disaster that will hurt Palestinians themselves far more than it will hurt Israel.

It will destroy the Palestinian economy.

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