No one is actually boycotting Israel. Not the Europeans. Not the American Studies professors. Not Saudi Arabia. Not even Roger Waters. There is not a single human being on this planet that has access to electricity and the Internet that actually boycotts all Israeli products. How do I know this? The same way you all know it: they all have cell phones, and there isn’t a cell phone manufactured today that does not contain Israeli hardware or software, or both.
In fact, the overwhelming majority of Israeli export products are simply not susceptible to boycott. Of Israel’s top ten export categories, only two of them consist primarily of consumer products: pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. Do you really think anyone with AIDS or HIV will boycott the best HIV medications available? Or that diabetics will boycott the easiest and most painless insulin administrators, or the newly developed artificial pancreas? Will blind people really refuse to use technology that describes the world to them in real time because it was engineered by Israelis?
The list of cutting edge, top of the line medical treatments, therapeutics, vaccines and medical equipment invented and produced by Israel is immense, and most of them have no viable substitute. You either use the Israeli product or go untreated. Do you think a lot of people would choose the latter? When the chips were down, even veteran antisemite Jimmy Carter used Israeli cancer treatments. Heck, how many people really exist that would even be willing to pay triple or quadruple the price, out of pocket, to avoid a generic antibiotic that was made by Teva? I would guess not that many.
The rest of Israel’s top ten export categories are all industrial or governmental-level products, which are not purchased by individual consumers. The industrial and government level products that Israel markets are, like Israel’s pharmaceuticals, generally unique, necessary, and irreplaceable. China, India, and Africa need Israel’s agritech and water technology products to feed and water their burgeoning populations. California has no choice but to employ Israeli companies to solve its drought problems.
Every country in the world that wants to protect its population from terrorist attacks must turn to Israel for the most state of the art security products. And of course, Israel’s high tech industry, both hardware and software, is thoroughly integrated into virtually all modern electronic products. Even most Arab countries either directly or indirectly use Israeli water, agriculture, and communications technology.
BDS’ own website only instructs its supporters to boycott “fresh produce, Ahava, and Sodastream.” Ahava and Sodastream are both great companies, but they hardly constitute a major percentage of Israel’s export sales. Moreover, these two companies probably benefit by increased sales from Israel supporters because they are the only two individually-named targets of the boycott movement.
As for “fresh produce,” this stopped being a major export of Israel decades ago. Fresh fruits and vegetables now constitute only about 3.6% of Israel’s total exports. More importantly, the overwhelming majority of Israel’s fresh vegetable market is to Russia — a nation that has shown little interest in the boycott bandwagon and a lot of interest in feeding its population. Both India and China have also been steadily growing their market share for Israeli produce, and there is little doubt than any sales drop in Europe will be outbalanced by an increase from these giants.
So in fact, all the huffing and puffing of the anti-Israel “BDS” crowd is nothing more than hot air. The BDS movement has not had, and will never have, any significant economic effect on Israel’s overall economy, because Israel’s economy is grounded in products and services that effectively cannot be boycotted. In fact, financial analysts are predicting that Israel’s economy will grow more than any other developed country in 2016. Even these academic association resolutions are hypocritical and phony. If you read the texts of them, they specifically allow for “individual members” to continue working with “individual Israeli scholars” — in other words, these hypocritical professors don’t actually have to give up anything, or stop any research projects with Israelis. They make their nasty, defamatory statement, and continue business with their Israeli colleagues as usual.
So what does all this mean? It means we have been fighting the BDS movement all wrong. BDS cannot really hurt Israel economically. They probably spend more money promoting their “boycott” than it actually costs Israel in lost export sales. The real goal and purpose of BDS is to defame Israel, and attempt to discredit it in the eyes of foreign observers, in order to exert political pressure. BDS demonstrations are an opportunity for them to spew antisemitic vitriol and express their vicious hatred of the Jewish state. BDS’ only real power is in propagating its hateful ideology.
Those of us that support Israel have been out there trying to convince people why they should not boycott Israel, defensively arguing that Israel is a nice place and please don’t be mean to us. And in the process, we’ve been making the BDS movement seem far more powerful and effective than it really is. Our protestations make it seem like BDS is actually hurting Israel. Responding rationally to their arguments makes them seem legitimate. Does Israel need to vastly improve their public relations? Yes. But we cannot do that by giving the BDS movement more credibility than it deserves.
If we want to beat BDS, we must expose them as the useless hateful idiots they really are. What we should be doing is humiliating these people with the evidence of their hypocrisy and ignorance at every opportunity. BDS tables should be countered with humorous tables offering “Deposit your cell phone here to boycott Israel.” When pro-Israel voices are asked about the issue by the press, we should thank them for the free advertising and their continued support of Israeli communications technologies used in planning and recording their events.
BDS activists are nothing more than schoolyard bullies. They thrive on making us upset, but ultimately that is their only real power. We can defeat them simply by laughing at them. After all, what is more ridiculous and pathetic than a bitter Jew-hater who can’t survive without Jewish technology? We can discredit them simply by showing the world how hypocritical, idiotic, and ineffectual they really are.