Letter: Boycotting Israeli companies hurts Palestinians too

Some 60 people demonstrate outside the venue where Palestinian resistance veteran and two-time plane hijacker Leila Khaled attend an event organized by the Palestinian BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel) movement, Feb. 13, in Cape Town. (Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images file photo)

By Times of Trenton Letters to the Editor 
on March 11, 2015 at 1:32 PM, updated March 11, 2015 at 6:47 PM

The "boycott, divest and sanction" (BDS) movement is backfiring on the Palestinians.

A political economist writing in Forbes Magazine last month showed that the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israeli companies overwhelmingly harms the Palestinians and has minimal impact on its Israeli targets

A good case in point is SodaStream, an Israeli soda product company that was targeted by the BDS movement. It closed its West Bank factory and expanded to a modern facility three times the size in southern Israel. This resulted in hundreds of Palestinians losing jobs that paid between three and five times the prevailing local wage.

According to the Forbes article, because Palestinian exports to Israel far exceed Israeli exports to the Palestinian territory, the Palestine economy depends heavily on Israel. Plus, trade between peoples likely lessens the outbreak of war. The BDS movement would eliminate these benefits while offering nothing in return.

While the rest of the world provides little development help, Israel invests heavily in the Palestinian territory. Israel provides 110,000 Palestinians with jobs that pay well, has built 16 industrial parks in the Palestinian territory and East Jerusalem that hosts more than 1,000 facilities where Jews and Arabs work together under similar working conditions.

The Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act recently introduced by Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) requires U.S. negotiators to discourage Israeli BDS within countries seeking U.S. trade agreements. It makes moral and economic sense and protects both Palestinian and Israeli shared prosperity.

-- Lewis Meixler,
East Windsor

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