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BUYcott the Boycott

January 19, 2010 – 8:56 am31 Comments
Better Place Israel CEO Moshe Kaplinksy at the first electric parking lot in Pi-Glilot, Israel

Better Place Israel CEO Moshe Kaplinksy at the first electric parking lot in Pi-Glilot, Israel

By ariel

The second half of the most recent Gregorian decade saw an increase in the desire in Western countries to boycott Israeli products and personnel. These boycott movements are run by far Left and Muslim groups who believe they are helping the Palestinian people by cutting off the Israeli hand that feeds them. Needless to say, many boycott supporters are Jews, proving that the world is a circus and we are its clowns. (One may also ask why no one is calling to boycott luminaries such as Sudan, Zimbabwe and Pakistan, but this is a discussion for another time).

In Britain for example, several workers’ and academics’ unions have moved motions favouring such boycotts. However, after considerable effort by sensible members (both Jewish and Gentile), these efforts were quashed. The argument that boycotts only alienate and polarise whilst dialogue and interaction can bring peace won the day in the land of artful diplomacy.

Whilst diplomacy can work, it is often tedious and gives time to the economic/academic terrorists to form arguments and have a say in the press. By contrast, a more effective and aggressive method for countering boycott movements has developed over the last couple of years in Canada.

BUYcott Israel is an initiative of the Canada-Israel Committee and has employed a highly successful method of thwarting any attempt to boycott Israeli goods. Once word of a boycott proposal is received, BUYcott Israel sends out mass emails to the Jewish Community and its friends asking them to buy the said goods en masse. The most recent success involved an exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls at a Toronto Museum. The scrolls were on loan from the Israel Antiquities Authority and a small number of protesters called for the exhibition to be boycotted until Israel returned the “stolen artifacts” to Jordan or the Palestinian Authority (the scrolls were discovered in the Judean desert between the mid 1940s and late 1960s). The response from BUYcott was to encourage everybody to buy tickets to the exhibition. Result: every session sold out. Other success stories can be seen here.

Whilst we in Australia are fortunate not to have such anti-Israel hysteria in the air (whether due to sensibility or apathy), the Canadian approach appears an ideal model for us to learn from should the need arise.

Recently, the ACT electricity distributor, ActewAGL, signed an agreement with Israeli company (although now with headquarters in Palo Alto, California) Better Place to install a network of charging stations for electric cars and naturally hopes the ACT’s vision is adopted in the rest of Australia. (Until now, automobile companies have developed electric car prototypes, but with nowhere for the driver to charge the battery, the idea is arguably unworkable). Better Place has secured similar deals in Europe, Japan and, in the words of Better Place founder Shai Agassi, “The People’s Republic of Berkley, [California]”. Furthermore, a little bit of research shows that Israel in general is a world leader in the development of “green” solutions.

As the rollout of electric cars begins, I eagerly await the kvetching and kvelling of those who will be torn between two passions: saving the planet and destroying Israel, the planet’s potential saviour. At that time, I would encourage people to switch to an electric car, thereby supporting both our atmosphere and Israel.

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31 Comments »

  • Matt Pryor says:

    Yes, the anti-Israel zealots in the UK are a real pain. Here’s an example of the hysteria exhibited by some:
    I went into a local shop to buy a necklace for my girlfriend. I happened to spot a CD of Israeli music on display, and bought it. The shopkeeper told me that he had been playing it in his shop until last week, when a woman came in and started screaming hysterically, saying that he shouldn’t be playing that sort of music because she was “pro-Palestinian”.
    His response was “Get a life!”. But he stopped playing it anyway.
    Overall nobody really listens to them here, apart from the loony left in the Labour party who unfortunately influence our tragic government.

  • Henry Herzog says:

    Matt, you are showing your ignorance and bias. To start with, its Labor and not Labour. Secondly, past and present Labor governments have been strong supporters of Israel with a record number of Jewish folk in the party. Remember, Susan Lay a sitting member of the Liberls, she belongs to a group called Friends of Palestine. If anyone should be getting a life it’s you Matt with your obvious prejudice of anything left of Gangus Chan.

  • philip mendes says:

    We went to the tennis today to watch Shahar Peer, and keep an eye on the threatened Palestinian boycott protest. There were many Israelis (and local Jews) in the crowd, but alas no pro-Palestinian protesters . Maybe they realized they would be outnumbered, or maybe just didn’t bother to turn up. Maybe they finally realized there was something inherently racist about boycotting an academic or a sports player just because they happened to be Israeli.

    Philip Mendes

  • ariel says:

    Henry,
    I believe Matt was referring to the British Labour Party. Only the Australian one is spelled in the American way for historical reasons.
     
    Philip,
    You no doubt recall the incident last year when Shahar Pe’er was denied a visa when she arrived in Dubai for the tournament there. The Dubai competition organisers were fined a record $300K or so and subsequently promised that all Israeli tennis players would be welcome in future.

  • Matt Pryor says:

    Henry: A harsh response! As Ariel pointed out I was referring to the British Labour Party, some of whose MPs are vehemently anti-Israel and which is strongly linked to the TUC. The TUC has been at the forefront of calls for boycotts and divestment of Israel.

  • Henry Herzog says:

    Matt, you threw me by saying “no one listens to them here”, so please accept my apology, but there many in our community “here”  in Australia who think the ALP are are a bunch of Bolsheviks, just read some letters in the Australian Jewish News.

  • Henry Herzog says:

    ariel, further to the business in Dubai, the American player, Andy Roddick boycotted that tournament and missed out on $300K, so we should all be rooting for him.

  • ariel says:

    Henry, thanks for that addition of which I was unaware.
    But I’d rather barrack for Roddick thanks very much…

  • Henry Herzog says:

    ariel, being American we should he rooting, not barracking, for him. But if you want to perform the other meaning of that word, I am sure he’ll appreciate that too. But it’s not Shabbos yet.

  • ariel says:

    Henry, he probably has a headache after all that shvitzing on the courts!

  • Sol Salbe says:

    Philip,
    There were no Palestinians at the Tennis because the Australian Open organisers informed the Australians for Palestine that they were going to invoke the relevant provisions of the Major Events legislation which gives them control over the public area surrounding their venues and ban them.
    While I understand the need for legislation against ambush marketing (cf Toyota blimp at AFL Grand Final) I regard it as reactionary when used for political purposes. If and when Ahmadinejad comes to a soccer match between Iran and Australia I want to demonstrate against  his Holocaust denial. The right to peaceful assembly should not be dependent on whether Sol Salbe, Philip Mendes or even John Brumby agrees with the protest’s aims.
    I am on record as not supporting the demonstration but there is no need to make disparaging comments about people with whom we disagree.
    Nor is there a need to speculate on others’ motivation when the facts are there on the public domain. The basic information is available from J -wire:  http://www.jwire.com.au/2010/01/20/peer-into-round-2/
     
     
     

  • ariel says:

    Sol,
    the question is about whether all this should be mixed with sport.
    and why only shahar pe’er? why not dudi sela? or yossi benayoun?

  • philip mendes says:

    So Sol, do you realize you have drawn an analogy (intentionally or otherwise) between an ordinary tennis player Shahar Peer, and a brutal dictator Ahmadinejad? Would you also hold this benign view of boycotts if a pro-Israel lobby group targeted a Palestinian tennis player in the same way just because they were born Palestinian?

    Philip

  • frosh says:

    Excellent question Ariel.

    Yossi Benayoun is arguably the highest profile Israeli sportsperson in the world, so one might wonder as to why we don’t see any anti-Israeli protesters outside Anfield?

    My guess is that they don’t want to get bashed up by the ‘scum’ (otherwise know as Liverpool Football Club supporters). I’m not condoning violence; rather just stating a likely reality. Protesting against an Israeli tennis player in Australia or NZ is a safe option. While there may be gangs of young thugs from certain other ethnic groups at the tennis (as we’ve seen in recent days), gladly I am yet to see any of the Israeli or Jewish tennis fans show a propensity for violence.

    To conclude the point, these anti-Israel protesters are only interested in safe and easy targets.

    None of this answers why the protests have focussed only on Peer, and nothing at all on Sela. Partly, this is as least due to Peer currently enjoying a little more success than Sela. However, there is not a massive gulf between them, so it is arguable that this is not the whole explanation. I suspect there is a little bit of sexism at play here too. The protesters might feel that Peer, being female, is more able to be bullied than her male counterpart in Sela. I say this because clearly, what they did in NZ, was nothing but an attempt at bullying . It was a little optimistic of these bullies to think that someone who has got to where Peer has would just cave in to this kind of nasty (yet childish) action.

  • ariel says:

    i agree frosh
    i reckon next time there are protestors at the tennis we should sick serena williams onto them!

  • Henry Herzog says:

    So Sol, is your only problem with AhMADinejad his Holocaust denial? What about his ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons to wipe Israel off the map, or is that just an Israel US beat-up to get rid of him. Then there is his treatment of dissidents and guys; no problems with that?
     
    Philip, well done for spotting Sol’s comparison between Sharah Peer and Iran’s dictator. So much for critical and dilectic analysis.

  • ariel says:

    ditto henry and philip
     
    sol, am i correct to assume that you won’t buy an electric vehicle when they’re rolled out because it’s an israeli system? will you continue to pollute just to spite your fellow Jews?

  • Sol Salbe says:

    Philip,
    Democratic rights are democratic rights, Whom we are protesting against is irrelevant: Bob Brown, Shahar Peer, Ahmadinejad, John Howard, Barack Obama  whoever they are, they are  all the same. They are all on the same level.  They are all people whom others wish to demonstrate against, logically or otherwise, intelligently or otherwise. People have a democratic rights regardless of whom they demonstrate against: dictators, democratically elected leaders, tennis players, electricians, plumbers even cooks!
    I would most certainly support the right of a pro-Israeli group to demonstrate peacefully against a Palestinian tennis player regardless of their reason, so that would include your example.
    Ariel,
    I am on record as not supporting the proposed demonstration against Pe’er. So I don’t understand why I should explain something I don’t support. As for analytical explanation I think  Uri Talshir is close to the mark: http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/1144086.html
     
    Henry,
    Both my parents were Holocaust survivors. I have seen my mother in particular suffer both mentally and physically from the day I was conscious of it till the day she died. Nothing to me personally is more hurtful than that experience. I take a very strong stand on Holocaust denial and it outranks every other issue, whatever my stance on it.
     
    Ariel (again)
    I don’t understand your logic. I don’t support a demonstration against Pe’er. I say so in public and repeat it here. So why should I boycott Israeli products? I am a Hebrew-speaking Israeli for @#$% sake! I have more than fifty Israeli cookbooks — Why should I not buy something just because it’s from Israel?
    It may be  a good idea to relate question to me to what I write or say and not the comments of anyone else’s.
     
     

  • ariel says:

    Sol,
    I apologise, for misunderstanding your stance on the issue.
    I still disagree with you – protests are only valuable if they are rational and their targets worthwhile. Otherwise one begins to sound like a spoilt child protesting every minor issue that they disagree with.
    The irony is of course that we in Australia are allowed to protest, when really, in the scheme of the world, we have nothing to complain about and should be grateful for all we have. This is the main reason why I don’t protest on domestic issues – I feel blessed every morning that I live with 100x the luxuries that people in Haiti, China, North Korea and Cuba live with. Those people should be protesting for their rights (and we should as well). But if you ask me, we have nothing to complain about in Australia.

    It still bothers me that you equate tennis players and plumbers with homicidal dictators. I think I’ll ask Philip and Frosh if they’d like to join me in protesting against the stupidity of the protestors. Just as Shahar Peer is hated because she is (a successful?) Israeli, I dislike idiots because they’re idiots.

  • Sol Salbe says:

    Ariel,
    First of all thank you.
    But I think there is one further misunderstanding. It is not Sol Salbe that puts cooks and dictators on the same level, it is the Kennett, Bracks and Brumby governments who at various stages upped the “major events” categories and powers. It they who legislated that the power to prevent demonstration is given to a private business. This is a reactionary and undemocratic legislation. I don’t like the right to choose whom to demonstrate against taken away from individual citizens. That include the right to be very stupid while demonstrating. Believe me in forty-three years in politics I have seen plenty of stupid demonstrations and other political acts from all hues of the political spectrum. Nevertheless I would be very much opposed to anyone deciding to ban stupid protests.
    If you or anyone else want to read what I have written about Shahar Pe’er [most of which is not available in English elsewhere) or any other subject why don’t you subscribe to the Middle East News Service. You can even choose to receive only original translations and articles. Write to ssalbe@westnet.com.au
     
     

  • Henry Herzog says:

    Sol, with respect, I too have a very strong dislike for Holocaust deniers but not only for personnal reasons. You, it appears, have a problem with them because of your parents. What if your parents didn’t go through the Holocaust, would you then not have a problem with Mr. Ahmadinejad, even though he was a Holocaust denier? 

    Not only do I despise him for that but also for him wanting to wipe Israel off the map. And despite what some in your Jewish Democrates group think; namely, Iran is developing nuclear weapons to defend itself against Israel, the irony is that Admadinejad is developing weapons to create a Holocaust which he denies happened in Europe. Sort of like “work makes you free”, if you know what I mean. 

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Fortunately, I have been away and have missed out a lot of the juvenile and hairsplitting &  posturing here, which only goes to divert attention, once again, from why such protests occur (I don’t need to repeat my views on THAT matter).  But for now,  I only have one comment for Henry Herzog.
    Your remark in the above paragraph is completely disingenuous and disrespectful to both Sol and his parents.  It’s a classic of vilification by stealth–the sort of do you beat your wife stuff, but instead, you are playing some dirty hair-splitting tricks with someone’s family life after the holocaust.
    As I have said online, advising a certain Lowenstein, for his  personalised abuse of other Jews,  ‘wash your mouth out sonny’. Stick to the arguments, don’t abuse people Henry.

  • Henry Herzog says:

    Larry, thank goodness you are back to add your two cents to the discussion. I had no idea that what I said was so deep and meaningful to get such a response from you.
    My parents also went through the Holocaust. My late Father was the only survivor of a family of some 30 people but he never wanted to talk about it too much.
     
    If you think I am disingenuous (a pretty popular word these days) go right ahead, but the reality is that Iran, amongst others, want Israel to vanish.
     
    And if anyone is abusing people I reckon It’s you Larry calling me all those names; Iam really hurt.

  • TheSadducee says:

    “It they who legislated that the power to prevent demonstration is given to a private business. This is a reactionary and undemocratic legislation. I don’t like the right to choose whom to demonstrate against taken away from individual citizens.”

    -what about the rights of the business owner and other patrons?  Do you think it is reasonable to protest in a sports event about political issues – thereby disrupting the event and the enjoyment of other patrons (the vast majority of whom don’t give a damn about the issue in question)?  Is there not a right to not have your paid entertainment impinged on by protestors and especially in a venue where you cannot easily avoid and/or ignore them? 

  • Sol Salbe says:

    Shalom Sadducee, nice to make your acquaintance
    Good question. I thought I made it clear that I agree with the right of sporting bodies to control event inside their venues. This has been a long-established practice. The issue is the right of the “major events” to control the environment outside their property. I recall  a time where I was present along with both of my Zionist and Palestinian friends outside  a hall where a David Irving documentary was slated to be shown. We had no right to go inside peacefully or otherwise. But we had a full right to express our indignation,and anger, outside. This is different with a “major event” where the public footpath becomes under the control of the event. The main reason given for the legislation was to avoid ambush marketing, so why include political expression as well?
    The issue is not the sporting event but outside it.  No-one’s paid entertainment is impinged on by protesters  who are outside a long way. You are indeed are in a  venue where you cannot easily avoid and/or ignore them for the simple reason that you cannot pay attention to them – you  are too far to hear or see them. Check out Melbourne Park for size!
     

  • frosh says:

    Interestingly, A.Loewenstein has just published an article on the ABC’s “The Drum” website where he writes about Better Place:

    …the green credentials of the company are threatened by revelations of the Israeli figures behind the organisation…

    What has this politics to do with green credentials?

    I guess he prefers people to keep using Saudi and Iranian oil.

  • ariel says:

    Didn’t I predict this in the article above?
     
    So predictable. Next he’ll try to pin the civil war in Kyrgyzstan on Israel…

  • Sol Salbe says:

    I  disagree with enough of A Loewenstein’s views on Israel not to come to his defence as a colleague.    One would also tend to agree with Ariel that his views are predictable (as are those who are as far away from the centre on the other side.) I am also aware that stating a principle in this forum may some time be taken as support for the specific instant. [Notice how long it took for people to accept that I don’t support the privatisation of public spaces which forbids people from demonstrating for A,B and C  or against X, Y and Z.] So I approach this question with reluctance.
    But let me put this way Green principles suggest more than adherence to environmental practices. If I were told that the workers at the plant that process the free-range chicken that I buy do not receive their legal entitlements than buying the chicken will be against my green principles.
    One does not have buy into any specific arguments one way or the other to suggest some non-environmental factors may impact upon X’s green credentials.
     
     
     

  • frosh says:

    Hi Sol,

    I have visited Better Place Israel’s headquarters in Pi Glilot, and I can assure you that the staff all seemed very happy with their employment conditions :-)

    I all seriousness, I have objections to many of the policies of the Australian government in relation to its indigenous population. However, if an Australian company invented a solar panel that was 10 times more efficient than existing solar panels, I wouldn’t say that the green credentials were damaged.

    However, this is pretty much equivalent to what A-Lo is saying.

  • Sol Salbe says:

    Frosh,
    On the basis of your advice I will buy free-range chickens from them:-)

  • frosh says:

    Or go one better – go vegetarian!

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