How BDSers hurt the Palestinians. But they don't care. They just hate Jews
Western Progressives Successfully Prevent Israel's SodaStream From Employing Palestinian Workers
Guest post written by Abraham Miller
Mr. Miller is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Cincinnati.
The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel appears to have won a Pyrrhic victory over SodaStream, resulting in 900 Palestinian workers, who received Israeli wages and benefits, being thrown out of their jobs. SodaStream is putting a good face on the “potential” closing, saying it is not submitting to the terror-aligned BDS campaign. But two hundred Palestinian workers have already been let go, and to many observers in Israel, the handwriting is on the wall.In the front ranks of the campaign against SodaStream has been the sanctimonious Oxfam, which proudly reminds us that it does not support BDS, but it is for boycotting SodaStream.
The thing most to be admired about the left is how they are so good at achieving moral clarity, enunciated sometimes with an Oxbridge accent, as long as it is someone else’s pocket to be picked and someone else’s job that is on the line.
Whether you’re a California Central Valley farmer who has been driven into ruin by a man-made drought to save the Delta smelt, a bait fish, or a logger sent to the unemployed lines to save the spotted owl, rest assured that your personal economic disaster was part of a noble venture celebrated by trust fund babies and effete liberals who never got their hands dirty save when changing the ink cartridge on a printer.
Now the left can celebrate sending 900 Palestinians into poverty, people who made four times the going rate for wages in the Palestinian Territories—that is if they could have found jobs in an economy with 40% unemployment.
In the Berkeley hills, the peace and justice crew and the gaggle of assorted leftists are opening fine bottles of California wine, looking out over their million-dollar views, and clinking crystal glasses in celebration. Meanwhile some of these 900 former factory workers will find their way into the territories’ sole thriving industry, terrorism.
As Alexis de Tocqueville observed in The Old Regime and the French Revolution, there is among some segments of society a true absence of the heart, an inability to comprehend or care how their actions affect the lives of others.
The leftist retort is that the settlements are illegal and they impoverish the Palestinians. Like most things that come from the left, the legality or illegality of the settlements is far and away more complex than stated, especially in the SodaStream case, which operates in Area C, an area legally under joint Israeli/Palestinian administration.
The factory was a glimmer of hope where hope is a rare commodity. It was a cooperative venture between Palestinians and Israelis, a reminder of what could and should be. Economic integration between Arabs and Israelis is the road to both peace and prosperity, just as it was in medieval Wales, where the market place brought Welshmen and Englishmen together in a common, vital interaction that assuaged their differences and over centuries transformed them into one people.
What the West Bank needs is more factories, more jobs, and more opportunities. It needs more Soda Streams, not fewer. But focusing on a solution to the conflict does not enable the left to indulge in its obsession with whining about the problems.
Even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has spoken against BDS as hurting the Palestinians.
But the left knows better. For them, ideological purity is more valuable than alleviating the socio-economic conditions of the Palestinians. Oxfam cherishes its work in alleviating hunger, while in the Palestinian territories, it has just condemned 900 people and their families to the economic conditions it works to prevent.
Oxfam and its leftist allies cynically say that the settlements cause poverty, albeit they fail to explain how. What does cause poverty is an ideology that seeks a foolish consistency above responding to the economic needs of people.
The BDS crowd has played right into the hands of the Israeli ultranationalists. SodaStream’s potential move is across the Green Line into the Negev, where there will be no Palestinian workers. For the ultranationalists, moving a flourishing business into the Israeli south is a way to help repair the damage wrought from Hamas’ last war, and the absence of Palestinians is all the better.
Well done, BDS. You have helped extinguish that ray of hope that might lead to peace.