As the Washington Post recently reported, SodaStream, the Israeli company that manufactures machines that custom-make carbonated drinks, is closing its factory on the West Bank and is moving operations to Israel. An organization called Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) is claiming victory, not only for its campaign of economic warfare against the Jewish state but for the Palestinian cause. 600 or so Palestinians who are losing their jobs as a result of the move might beg to disagree with that sentiment.
The Israeli position is that the BDS movement not only wants to force Israel to withdraw from the West Bank, which it conquered during the 1967 Six Day War, but to no longer be a Jewish state. That is because BDS is demanding that Israel submit to the resettlement of millions of Palestinians within its own recognized borders, flooding it with primarily Muslim refugees and their children and grandchildren.
Israel maintains that the BDS movement is not harming its economy but is clearly concerned that it might in the future. The movement is tainted by association with the Nazi-era campaign of economic boycott of Jewish-owned businesses that preceded the Holocaust. The irony was not lost several years ago when the BDS movement arrived in Germany.
A further irony occurs when one considers that the BDS movement is hurting the Palestinians even more so than the Israelis. BDS’ position is that Israeli-owned businesses on the West Bank “exploit” their Palestinian workers. The movement has no answer when these businesses, like SodaStream, are forced to relocate to Israel, leaving the Palestinians who used to be gainfully employed without work. SodaStream claimed that its factory on the West Bank was a center of harmony in a turbulent region of the world when employees of all religious and ethnic backgrounds worked side by side.
If a “two-state solution” is to be achieved, with Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace, the latter is going to need a lot of foreign investment if it is supposed to thrive economically. A lot of that investment would logically come from Israel, a country that has become a sort of Silicon Valley on the Mediterranean for the number of high-tech startups that are happening. Close economic ties between the two states would seem to be something that would further peaceful relations.
One would like to think that the BDS movement has just not thought things through in its campaign to remove any hint of Israeli economic presence. The only other alternative theory is that it is deliberately seeking to cause economic devastation, in order to better incite conflict that might lead, in the fullness of time, to the destruction of the State of Israel and its replacement by a Palestinian state that would stretch from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. The cost of such a development in human lives and misery would be beyond calculation.