BEAT BDS

Michael Yadov,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Michael Yadov
Michael Yadov is a Director at the American Forum for Israel and a teaching staff member at Fuel For Truth.

By now, it should be clear to all informed individuals of good conscience that the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement is an affront to human rights and peaceful coexistence in the Middle East.  As a matter of a quick summary on BDS, please consider Exposing BDS, a recent article by Ariel Y. Kramer published in the American Thinker.

I hold a firm belief that all people of sound moral standing and especially those who care about Israel have an instrumental role to play against BDS; and with this in mind, I would like to share a simple framework for repelling BDS that can be applied by anyone while going about their daily life.

B -- Buy
E -- Endorse
A -- Act
T -- Teach

Buy – The easiest way to combat BDS is to buy Israeli products. “Made in Israel” products and services can be found just about anywhere – your local grocery, a nearby locksmith, your smartphone’s App Store, etc.  Your friends may offer recommendations.  One source that may help identify Israeli goods is BuyIsraelGoods.org (a partnership of StandWithUS and the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce).  Interestingly, promoters of the boycotts often do an effective job of identifying Israeli businesses for you.  As you see, finding Israeli products is not difficult if you pay attention to the information around you.

An even more powerful way to combat BDS is to visit Israel.  When you visit Israel, your very presence in the Jewish State and every purchase you make there are a statement against the boycotters. In 2017, tourism in Israel set a new record with an estimated 3.6 million visitors.  At the same time, surprisingly many Israel supporters discount Israel as a potential vacation spot on its own merit.  Israel has made a strong effort to change this lack of consideration by inviting influencers to show what the country has to offer.

Consider a popular travel blogger, Aditi Kumar, who admitted that she had never thought of Israel as a travel destination.  However, once in Israel, she found herself “mesmerized by everything: the lifestyle, the culture, the history.”  Aditi went to Israel despite an utter surprise and concern of her friends and was rewarded with a delightful experience.  In her blog, Aditi marvels at Jerusalem, the fun of Eilat, the wall art in Tel Aviv, the beauty of the land, the abundance of outdoor activities, and so much more.  Perhaps after considering all that it has to offer, you may view Israel as a more regular travel destination.

Endorse – After her visit to Israel, Aditi could now serve as an influencer to encourage others to come to Israel and experience the Middle Eastern wonder first hand.  You too could be an influencer like Aditi, just remember to mention the simple things: the food, the beaches, the diversity, the people, etc.  To create an emotional attachment, allow your friends to use various senses to connect to Israel.  Help them to visualize the wonders of Israel by sharing pictures and videos.  Take your friends out for Israeli food and introduce them to Israeli music.  When you go to Israel, bring back “Made in Israel” token gifts.

Create a sense of proximity by showing how Israel benefits people here in the US.  Even in life and death situations, Israeli inventions help the world.  As an example, Israeli Bandage, an innovative first aid device, is used by the US Military and was applied to save the life of Arizona Senator Gabrielle Giffords after she suffered a gun wound.  Israeli Bandage is just one example, as Israeli contributions are ubiquitous in technology, medicine, security and sustainability.  Underscoring Israel’s proximity changes the perception of Israel from an abstract Middle-Eastern nation defined by the media to something local that adds value to every-day life.

Let the audience further relate to Israel by showing how Israel cares about people in general and particularly those that your audience may identify more closely with.  For example, share details about how in an event, unprecedented in history, Israel airlifted thousands of Ethiopian Jews from a raging civil war. Furthermore, Israel paid $35 million to the Ethiopian government to allow the rescue operation to take place.  Educate people about Israel’s current life-saving efforts in Africa, as Israel works closely with African nations to help them fight hunger and diseases by sharing advanced technology and farming methods. Your Haitian friends may personally know people who suffered from the devastating earthquake of 2010 or Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and may appreciate the story of IsraAID’s crucial involvement in Haiti.

If you enjoyed an Israeli product, share your experience with others.  A personal recommendation carries more weight, while an endorsement over the internet reaches more people.  Use both channels to deliver your message.  Be genuine and truthful, and do not endorse every product just because it’s made in Israel.  However, if someone had a disappointing experience with a particular Israeli product and you are aware of a better one, openly contrast and suggest the alternative.  Consistently, provide a positive message.

Act – Reward your allies. As an example, shop at stores that sell Israeli products or stand proudly with the State of Israel.  Consider supporting the public figures that come to Israel despite the pressure from BDS supporters or those who are attacked elsewhere for their ties to the Jewish state.  Think of Radiohead and Enrique Iglesias who came to Israel despite intense pressure to cancel their performances.  Contemplate “following” such public figures on social media and adding comments of support when they talk about their upcoming or recently made visit to Israel.  They are facing relentless pressure from Israel-haters, so statements of support and affirmation matter!

Certainly, you could also express your displeasure with those who embrace the boycott of Israel.  If an organization supports the boycott of Israel and you decide to take your business elsewhere, consider verbalizing the reason for your departure.  You may find that boycotters do not enjoy the taste of their own medicine.

Rather than acting alone, get your friends involved.  The effort required to inform others is minimal, and there is strength in numbers.  Writing a letter?  Have your friends also send one.  Going to a rally or an event?  Check your network for enthusiastic participants.  Utilize social media.  Affirmation via a “like” or a “share” on social media goes a long way – it validates the speaker personally and to others, and it also draws your friends’ attention to the topic.

Try to act promptly, as the longer you delay your response, the more likely you are to be pulled away to other endeavors.  Frame your message or action according to the setting.  Consider if you are maximizing your impact.  We all have different strengths.  Are you leveraging yours? 

Teach – Explain to people the essence of BDS.  Outsiders may not be as informed and may not be aware of the evil nature of BDS.  Provide examples of BDS proponents’ hypocrisy and juxtapose it with how Israel treats people.  Hamas leaders who laud BDS as a part of their overarching objective to eradicate the Jewish State don’t mind sending their own family members to Israel for medical treatment. Illustrate how BDS hurts the very people it claims to defend, as Palestinian Arabs lost the means to provide for their families when pressure from BDS and its allies forced SodaStream to leave the industrial zone in the Disputed Territories.  Inform your audience about BDS’ tactics to usurp other organizations and movements in order to use every available platform to attack Israel.  Relay that bridges are built through cooperation and not through boycotts.

You are now equipped to make a difference in this fight.  So, let’s get out there and BEAT BDS!



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