#BDS is Failing: a continuing series (April 2016)

Here’s the latest installment in our monthly round-up of BDS fails.

(When debating those who contend that BDS is succeeding, consider citing some of these examples.)

Political BDS Fails

Foreign Minister Margot Wallström in Stockholm has agreed to publicly denounce the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement after a Saturday night meeting with Tzipi Livni. 

Wallstrom has previously made controversial statements against the Jewish state, including accusing Israel the extrajudicial executions.

Livni emphasized to Wallström the importance of her publicly and clearly support  Israel’s need to defend itself, as well as her opposition to boycotts against Israel and the BDS movement – especially during the recent wave of terror.

At the end of the meeting, Wollstrom finally agreed to publicly support Israel’s right to protect itself and oppose BDS. Wallstrom also supported the principle of a two-state solution and expressed hope that relations with Israel will return to what they once were.

Student associations at the University of Vienna issued a statement on Wednesday declaring their opposition to every form of anti-Semitism, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel.

“As student representatives it is important for us to criticize the academic boycott against Israel, which entirely excludes Israeli academics,” the student council of the University of Vienna said.

The rejection of BDS by continental student organizations is believed to be the first major European opposition to the hubs of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic academic initiatives in the UK and the US.

The student body at Canada’s McGill University has failed to ratify Monday’s controversial Israel boycott vote by the general assembly of the student government.

According to the McGill Reporter, the online vote recorded 57 percent of students voting against the boycott motion and 43 percent voting in favor. This represents the fourth time since 2009 that the effort to persuade the student body to adopt an anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement resolution at McGill has failed.

Over the past week (March 7), the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel has suffered setbacks on three major American campuses: Vassar College, Northeastern University and the University of Indianapolis.

On Sunday, Vassar College’s student newspaper The Miscellany News reported,

On … Mar. 6, the Vassar Student Association (VSA) voted to pass the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution, which needed only a simple majority, by a vote of 15 in favor and 7 opposed. The resolution calls for the VSA’s political statement of support of the BDS movement.

The organization did not pass the concurrently submitted BDS amendment, which would have required the VSA to restrict funding from the Vassar Student Activities Fund [and prohibit purchases from companies alleged to profit from the “Israeli occupation of Palestine”]. The amendment needed a 2/3 majority but failed by a vote of 12 in favor to 10 opposed.

Israel and China are set to sign a 10-year multiple entry visa agreement this week (March 27), making the Jewish state only the third country, after the United States and Canada, to have such an arrangement with Beijing.

The visa agreement will be signed in the framework of the second meeting of the China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation, which is taking place Tuesday in Jerusalem. Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong is due in Israel for the event and for meetings with senior Israeli officials.

A new strategy against the campus Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement scored its first win Tuesday, The Algemeiner has learned, when the Student Association at the University of Minnesota voted to remove a BDS resolution from the agenda, rather than debate or vote on it.

The Georgia General Assembly passed legislation Thursday night that aims to deter corporate entities from partaking in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

The bill makes Georgia the sixth state in recent months — along with South Carolina, Illinois, Florida, Arizona and Colorado — to advance an anti-BDS measure through its legislature prohibiting state procurement with companies that engage political boycotts of the Jewish state.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Friday signed a bill requiring the state’s retirement program to divest from companies that boycott Israel — right before he heads off to speak at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, D.C.

House Bill 1284 — sponsored by state Reps. Dan Nordberg, R-Colorado Springs, and Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City — represents a rare interference by the Legislature in investment strategies by the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association that affect half a million retired state workers.

The University of California’s governing board adopted a statement condemning anti-Semitic behavior on Thursday, becoming the first public university system to do so since campaigns for academic and economic boycotts of Israel have taken root on many US college campuses.

The board also unanimously and without discussion adopted a companion report urging campus leaders to confront intolerant anti-Zionism, or the rejection of Israel’s right to exist. It stopped short of equating anti-Zionism with the hatred of Jewish people after that language alarmed critics.

Even President Obama, not necessarily Israel’s biggest defender, signed last month the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, which includes anti-BDS protections for Israel, although he irked the bill’s supporters by saying the provisions would not extend to Israeli settlements.

“I have directed my Administration to strongly oppose boycotts, divestment campaigns, and sanctions targeting the State of Israel,” Mr. Obama said in his Feb. 24 signing statement. “As long as I am President, we will continue to do so. Certain provisions of this Act, by conflating Israel and ‘Israeli-controlled territories,’ are contrary to longstanding bipartisan United States policy, including with regard to the treatment of settlements.”


Israeli ultrasound software co DiACardio has raised $1.95 million in a post-seed financing round led by China’s Shengjing Group. Other investors in the round include CE Ventures and AltaIR as well as existing backers Agate-Mac Fund and Capital Point Ltd. 

Based in Beersheva, DiACardio offers software that automates the process of evaluating ultrasounds of the heart, also known as echocardiograms. Based on a new image processing method the company invented, unique and innovative algorithms evaluate the function of the heart fast, accurately and automatically. The software is FDA and CE approved and initial sales have been successfully obtained.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a measure prohibiting state and local agencies from contracting entities that boycott Israel, the Associated Press reported on Thursday.

The bill requires that all companies doing business with the state certify that they are not boycotting Israel. The state treasurer and pension funds are also required to divest public holdings from such companies.

The legislation passed Arizona’s House of Representatives by a margin of 42-16 and its Senate by 23-6.

“Boycotts and related tactics have become a tool of economic warfare that threaten the sovereignty and security of key allies and trade partners of the United States,” explained State Representative David Gowan, who sponsored the bill. “The state of Israel is the most prominent target of such boycott activity [and] companies that refuse to deal with the United States’ trade partners such as Israel … make discriminatory decisions on the basis of national origin that impair those companies’ commercial soundness.”

The month of February has seen a number of new VC funds, and all signs point to another busy year in Israeli tech.

In early February, Catalyst CEL, in partnership with Catalyst Private Equity, announced a first Israel-China private equity fund of $200 million, with a focus on mid-to-late-stage Israeli startups in manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare and water, among other fields. And in mid-February, Russia’s Titanium Investments unveiled a $50 million fund for investing in Israeli startups, while the Israeli VC firm TLV Partners announced a new $115 million fund later in the same month.

In all, investment firms in the country received more than $665 million in new commitments in the first two months of the year.

Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) is acquiring Israeli sports imaging startup Replay Technologies. No financial details have been disclosed but market sources believe that Intel will pay $175 million for the acquisition. The two companies have been in talks over the acquisition for the past six months.

In officially announcing the acquisition this morning, Intel SVP Wendell Brooks said, “Intel has been collaborating with Replay since 2013 to optimize their interactive, immersive video content on Intel platforms. As a natural next step in our collaboration, today we’re excited to announce that Intel signed an agreement to acquire Replay Technologies.”

Based in Ramat Hahayil in Tel Aviv, Replay Technologies was founded in 2011 by CEO Oren Yogev, CTO Mateo Shapira and COO Aviv Shapira. The company has 100 employees according to IVC.

Cultural, Technological and Scientific

Last week I [“Elder of Zion”] exposed a college textbook, “Global Politics: Engaging a Complex World”, that included The Map That Lies anti-Israel propaganda picture. 

A number of people wrote to complain to the publisher, McGraw Hill, and to its credit, within a day the company said that they put all sales on hold pending review.

That review has apparently been completed over the weekend, and the book is being pulled from distribution and existing copies destroyed.. Mark Jacobs received this reply from the company on Sunday evening:

Thank you for your query about the map in Global Politics: Engaging a Complex World. As soon as we learned about the concerns with it, we placed sales of the book on hold and immediately initiated an academic review. The review determined that the map did not meet our academic standards. We have informed the authors and we are no longer selling the book. All existing inventory will be destroyed. We apologize and will refund payment to anyone who returns the book.

Israeli universities ranked seven times in the top 100 of the 2016 QS World University Rankings by Subject. The ranking was a decrease from 11 in 2015.

The rankings compared the world’s top universities in 42 areas of study, making it the largest-ever ranking of its kind.

This year’s QS ranking included six of Israel’s leading universities – the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the Weizmann Institute of Science, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and Bar-Ilan University.


“Research in Israel is present in between 25% and 28% of the world’s successful biotech-based solutions,” according to Ruti Alon, a General Partner at Pitango Venture Capital and co-chairperson, with Dr. Benny Zeevi, Managing General Partner, Tel Aviv Venture Partners, of the upcoming IATI-Biomed Conference, set to take place in Tel Aviv in May. “Many of the patents in pharmaceuticals that are now being used to treat cancer, heart problems, and much more were developed at Israeli institutions like Hebrew University or the Weizmann Institute,”

Some of the solutions and patents developed in Israel are part of the main treatments in some of the world’s most devastating diseases.

Exelon, for example, is a treatment for Alzheimer’s that helps patients cope with the disease and remain independent longer. Marketed by Novartis, the drug is based on research that was conducted at Hebrew University. Doxil, sold by Johnson and Johnson, effectively helps treat numerous cancers, and it, too, was developed at Hebrew U, along with researchers at Hadassah Medical Center. And, of course, there’s multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, developed at the Weizmann Institute and marketed by Israel’s own Teva Pharmaceuticals.

The technology giant has quietly created a hardware development center in Israel, where engineers are crafting top-secret future products; it has so far invested $1.2 billion in Israel and continue to eagerly recruit new Israeli employees.

The Jewish-American comedienne, known for her big mouth, is to arrive in Israel. Instead of jokes, she’ll be dealing with a much more serious issue: Barr is expected to join the Yedioth Ahronoth conference against BDS after a two-week-long tour around the country.

American rock band, whose concert was targeted in the Nov 13 Paris terror attacks, will return to Tel Aviv to perform at Hangar 11 after a successful performance in the coastal Israeli city last July.

The Eagles of Death Metal, whose concert in Paris was targeted by the Islamic State group in the November 13 terror attacks, are set to return to Tel Aviv to perform at Hangar 11 on September 5.

As part of his “Raise the Dead” 2016 tour, musical legend and master of the macabre Alice Cooper will share his unique rock concert theater with local fans when he performs at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium on June 16.

With a career spanning over five decades, the eclectic artist with a penchant for ghoulish stage shows and gender-bending wardrobes has influenced such other powerhouse musical acts as KISS, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Ozzy Osbourne.

If you see any mistakes or would like to add to the list, please email to submissions@bdsguide.com


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