We may never know with any degree of certainty if Israeli-based SodaStream’s decision to close their West Bank factory was motivated solely by pressure from the BDS movement. However, a Guardian report and video on the company’s decision to shutter the plant and expand their operations at a new facility near the city of Rahat (within the state’s 49 boundaries) provides some insight into the motivations of those who champion the boycott cause.
First, they evidently have no real interest in improving the lives and economic conditions of actual Palestinians.
As Peter Beaumont pointed out in his report on the SodaStream move (SodaStream leaves West Bank as CEO says boycott antisemitic and pointless, Sept. 3), hundreds of Palestinians may lose their jobs due to the closure of the plant in Mishor Adumim.
SodaStream said it employed up to 600 Palestinians there, and had sought to transfer their jobs to the Israeli plant. But Birnbaum said Israel had granted only 130 work permits so far due to security issues and many likely would lose their jobs.
Ali Jafar, a shift manager from a West Bank village who has worked for SodaStream for two years, said: “All the people who wanted to close [SodaStream’s West Bank factory] are mistaken. … They didn’t take into consideration the families.”
Second, contrary to claims of movement leaders, like Omar Barghouti, they clearly don’t ‘merely’ want Israel to withdraw back t0 1949 boundaries and an “end discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel”. The Guardian report notes the following response by Barghouti to news that the West Bank SodaStream factory is closing:
“This is a clear-cut BDS victory against an odiously complicit Israeli company,” said Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the movement. He said it would continue to target SodaStream because its new factory is located in an area where Israel has in the past proposed to resettle Bedouin Arabs. The company employs more than 300 Bedouins.
To recap: One of the most prolific BDS leaders acknowledged that his movement will continue boycotting the fizzy drink maker, despite the fact that their new plant is within Israel proper and employs hundreds of Bedouin citizens of Israel. As with Palestinians at the old plant in the West Bank, it’s clear that BDSers have no moral concerns over the potential loss of hundreds of Arab Israeli jobs if the new plant near Rahat would similarly close.
Of course, the mendacity of the BDS movement is already evident in their support for the so-called Palestinian ‘right of return’, their advocacy of violent resistance and their rejection of the continued existence of a Jewish state within any borders. However, Barghouti’s response to the closure of the successful West Bank factory provides one last broader insight into the politics him and his political fellow travelers champion. As with much of what passes for ‘radical activism’, boycotters seem to value ideological purity and abstract principles over the real world impact of their efforts.
In their cold disregard for the lives of Palestinians and Arab Israelis, BDS has effectively adopted the new radical left version of the Vietnam War sentiment that ‘sometimes you have to burn the village to save it’ – a phrase accurately reflecting the mindlessness, nihilism and destructiveness of those singularly obsessed with isolating, delegitimizing and punishing the Jewish state.