Would a Jewish Supporter of BDS boycott this Israeli Company?

A guest post by AKUS

As anyone who has read my comments and articles from time to time will know, if there is one kind of opponent of Israel I absolutely loathe it is the as-a-Jew who claims authority, as a Jew, to condemn Israel for this or that issue. Among that select group, the as-a-Jew BDSer is the lowest of the low. And among those, the most objectionable are those who do not even use the fig-leaf of wanting to boycott companies whose products come from the West Bank, often providing employment to local Arabs (see the latest embarrassment from the British Co-op Boycott), but any Israeli company at all for whatever pet or imagined reason. 

It was with particular interest and renewed pride in yet another amazing Israeli accomplishment that I noticed that a tiny Israeli company called Protalix Biotherapeutics has developed a medical compound to treat a rare disease called Gaucher’s Disease.  According to the USA’s FDA site:

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Elelyso (taliglucerase alfa) for long-term enzyme replacement therapy to treat a form of Gaucher disease, a rare genetic disorder.

Gaucher disease occurs in people who do not produce enough of an enzyme called glucocerebrosidase. The enzyme deficiency causes fatty materials (lipids) to collect in the spleen, liver, kidneys, and other organs. The major signs of Gaucher disease include liver or spleen damage, low red blood cell counts (anemia), low blood platelet counts, and bone problems.

Elelyso is an injection that replaces the missing enzyme in patients with a confirmed diagnosis of Type 1 (non-neuropathic) Gaucher disease and should be administered by a health care professional every other week. Type 1 Gaucher disease is estimated to affect about 6,000 people in the United States.”

The shares of this tiny company skyrocketed to give it a market capitalization of in excess of $600 million after the FDA approval. Pfizer paid $60 million upfront during development for the distribution rights and $55 million as it passed regulatory milestones for the global distribution rights.

Now, I know nothing about Gaucher’s disease, biochemistry, or anything to do with this particular development or company. But as I read about it, I found that, like Tay-Sachs, Gaucher’s disease is particularly prevalent among Ashkenazi Jews. For example, this site among others  notes:

“Gaucher disease occurs in 1 in 50,000 to 100,000 people in the general population. Type 1 is the most common form of the disorder, and occurs more frequently in people of Ashkenazi (eastern and central European) Jewish heritage than in those with other backgrounds. This condition affects 1 in 500 to 1,000 people of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. The other forms of Gaucher disease are uncommon, and do not occur more frequently in people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.”

Protalix is based in Carmiel, in the Galilee. No doubt someone, somewhere, would claim it sits on the site of a former Arab village or land thereof and therefore is equally a valid target for a boycott, or should be boycotted just because it is an Israeli company. And it would not surprise me to learn that the “someone” was an “as-a-Jew”.

It occurred to me to wonder whether any of the “as-a-Jews”, who are, for the most part, Ashkenazi Jews living in the USA and Europe, would refuse treatment if they suffer from Gaucher’s disease, or whether self-interest might overcome their politically correct scruples. Or, perhaps, just as some “as-a-Jews” have joined those calling for a boycott of, for example, Caterpillar because its equipment is used by the IDF, would they overcome their personal medical needs and call for a boycott of Pfizer as some encourage others  to boycott  the giant Israeli pharmaceutical firm, TEVA, just because it is Israeli?

An interesting question, I think.

See also this for another ineffectual example of BDS lunacy:

British Food Retailer Hit With Jewish Counter-Boycott

“Boycotting Israeli products can be a sticky business where boycotters can end up with egg on their faces as the British food retailer the Co-operative Group discovered today.

The Group learned that its Israeli boycott is inadvertently banning goods from Palestinian farmers, and the co-op is now officially the target of a counter-boycott by Jews and their supporters in England.

In a confused statement to the Jerusalem Post, the co-op declined to make an assessment on the impact this boycott might have toward Palestinian farmers in the Gaza Strip, saying instead that the co-op will actively work to increase trade with Palestinians in the disputed Gaza territories, while also doing business with Israeli companies.”

Or this for a fascinating glimpse into the impact of BDS on Palestinians and the inability of the BDS movement to consult a map:

Boycott Israel Effort Leads to Increased Sales for An Israeli Shoemaker

“According to the protestors, “Naot’s soles come from the industrial zone of Gush Etzion, which is an illegal settlement located in the heart of the West Bank on occupied territory.”

 If the protesters had checked the facts before raising their placards, they’d know that claim is false. The CEO Illouz says Teva Naot shoe soles are made in Germany and Spain. What’s more, for 20 years, the company has employed hundreds of Palestinian workers – whom the activists purportedly support — in Hebron and Jerusalem who do sewing work via Palestinian subcontractors. The rest of the shoes are constructed on the Israeli kibbutz Neot Mordechai which is not located in the West Bank. Therefore, if the boycotters were successful, a sales decline could potentially place in jeopardy the jobs of hundreds of Palestinians.”

Kibbutz Neot Mordechai is located in the Upper Galilee, near Kiryat Shmona; nowhere near Gush Etzion, which is near Jerusalem.

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