BDS is failing: a continuing series (Nov. 2017)

Despite the continuous amplification of BDS in the British media, the movement to boycott Israel has had no discernible impact on Israel’s economy, and each month we see more and more examples of Israeli success and BDS fails. Here’s the latest installment in our ongoing series of posts documenting this dynamic.

Here’s the latest installment in our ongoing series of posts documenting BDS fails.

Political BDS Fails

Maryland Governor signs order barring state business with companies that boycott Israel

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order on Monday that prohibits the state from doing business with companies engaged in a boycott of Israel.

Hogan took the executive action against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement , an effort started in 2005 by a coalition of Palestinian organizations in response to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank territory. BDS activities include discouraging the purchase of goods produced in Israeli settlements and pressuring international companies not to conduct business in Israel.

“Boycotts based on religion, national origin, place of residence or ethnicity are discriminatory,” Hogan said, standing with Jewish leaders from Baltimore and Montgomery counties. “Contracting with businesses that practice discrimination would make the state a passive participant in private-sector commercial discrimination.”

Hogan said all future requests for state bids will include language that the company has not refused to do business with or stopped doing business with any person or entity on the basis of Israeli national origin.

FIFA says it won’t sanction Israel over settlement teams, irks Palestinians

The Palestinians had hoped FIFA would censure Israel over the settlement teams, thereby forcing them to either drop the clubs from the Israel Football Association or risk losing FIFA membership.

Israel scored a rare win on Friday as the Palestinians lost their bid to oust six West Bank soccer clubs from the global body governing the sport, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association.

“FIFA’s decision is a great victory for our fight against the boycott,” Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said after hearing the news.

Wisconsin Governor Bars Contracts With Firms That Boycott Israel

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed an executive order that prohibits state agencies from entering into contracts with companies that boycott Israel.

Walker, a Republican who briefly ran for his party’s presidential nomination last year, signed the executive order late on Friday.

“Israel is a firm and faithful friend of the United States,” the legislation reads.

Wisconsin exports over $80 million annually to Israel and imports over $200 million annually from Israel.

Wisconsin Inks Water Technology Deals With Israel – Institutions from Israel and Wisconsin this week signed two agreements to collaborate on water technology. One accord, between the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Wisconsin’s Water Council, paves the way for Wisconsin’s branch of the National Science Foundation to establish an Israel-based bureau.

In addition to its agreement with the Israeli university, the Water Council signed a deal with the Israel Innovation Authority to promote research partnerships between the US state’s water technology companies and Israeli firms. The pact aims to develop new innovations for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and other Wisconsin water utilities.

The agreements were signed during Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s trade mission to Israel this week with a 16-member delegation, and came after the governor issued an executive order last week to ban state agencies from engaging with companies that have ties to the anti-Israel BDS movement.

Missouri Governor announces pact between Israeli cybersecurity firm and Missouri colleges

JEFFERSON CITY • Gov. Eric Greitens announced on Friday a pact between the state of Missouri and HackerUSA, a cyber security education firm with roots in Israel.

According to a news release, the agreement “paves the way” for Missouri colleges and universities to work with the firm in order to start cyber security training programs “designed to help technology professionals protect their organizations and citizens from cyber attacks.”

Greitens’ office said he signed a memorandum of understanding during his trade mission to Israel this week, during which the governor met with top officials, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Support for boycotts of Israel reaches a 4-year low

Economic BDS Fails

Israeli capital-raising reaches quarterly record of $1.44b

A record-breaking $1.44 billion was raised by 144 Israeli high-tech companies in the third quarter of 2017, according to a report from the Tel Aviv-based IVC Research Center.

Capital-raising in Q3/2017 showed an increase of 14 percent over the $1.27 billion raised in Q2/2017, and a 54% surge from $933 million raised in Q3/2016.

The exceptional late round by Via Transportation of $250 million boosted the Q3/2017 results upward, according to the report.

Urban Outfitters to open in Tel Aviv

Israeli hipsters may never have to shop abroad again, with the arrival of apparel company Urban Outfitters.

The trendy retailer is opening its first Israeli store in Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Center.

A Fox Group spokesperson confirmed the store will be opening in a few months from now, and said additional Urban Outfitter locations would follow.

The group, which is traded on Nasdaq, its known for its funky combination of apparel, home furnishings and beauty products, appealing to customers who love bohemian, retro and alternative styling.

Medi Tech Firm NeuroDerm Sold to Japanese Firm for  $1.1 Billion

In the biggest ever sale of an Israeli pharmaceuticals company, NeuroDerm, a developer of devices to treat diseases of the central nervous system, is being sold to Japan’s Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma $1.1 billion. 

Oded Lieberman, NeuroDerm’s CE0, said the acquisition would speed the development of its candidate treatment, known as ND0612, which analysts at Deutsch Bank said last week could become the standard of care for advanced Parkinson’s disease. 

12 Israelis making a mark on Boston’s tech scene

About 250 Israeli-founded companies in the greater Boston area contribute significantly to the Massachusetts economy and innovation ecosystem.

“Most Israelis who come to Boston are coming to study at the top universities in the area, to do research, to start a company or because they are being relocated by their company. It started in the 1960s and grew since then. There are several generations of successful Israelis, some already retired and some in their prime right now,” Trajman tells ISRAEL21c.

Israelis are active in Boston-area academia, healthcare, retail and other fields. In high-tech alone, about 250 Israeli-founded companies have set up shop here.

An independent study commissioned by the NEIBC last year revealed that Israeli-founded businesses contribute more than $9 billion of revenue to the Massachusetts economy and secured more than $1.2 billion in venture capital from 2013-2015.

Cultural and Technological BDS Fails

British Rocker Boy George Dons Star of David Outfit During Tel Aviv Concert, Blasts BDS Supporters

Music icon Boy George and his band started a world tour with a performance in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, which marked their first concert in the Jewish state in 30 years.

Whenever I go to Israel, people always say don’t go there, don’t go there. ‘F–k off, I go where I want!” George exclaimed. “We are here to perform miracles.”

BBC to air kibbutz volunteer reality show

The British BBC network is location scouting for new reality TV show, commemorating Israel’s approaching 70th Independence Day; show set to include 10 Jewish British volunteers from all walks of life reflecting variety of British Jewry, debates on issues pertaining to Israel, Jews.

Following the location scouting, it was decided the show will most likely be filmed on location in a Jezreel Valley or Megiddo kibbutz.

Bon Jovi, Robbie Williams expected to return to Israel in 2018

The band, which performed in front of 54,000 people at Yarkon Park in October 2015, has not yet signed a contract to return to the Holy Land, but the sides have exchanged drafts including costs.

British singer Robbie Williams, who performed in Israel in the summer of 2015, is also expected to return to Tel Aviv.

Pope Francis invited to launch Giro d’Italia in Israel

Canadian-Israeli philanthropist Sylvan Adams meets pope in Vatican, invites him to launch Israeli leg of Giro d’Italia, second most important cycling race; ‘Upcoming race is further testimony to power of sport to transcend politics and division, focus solely on sportsmanship,’ Adams says; PM Netanyahu, President Rivlin also exhort catholic leader to attend Israel’s 70th Independence Day.

Returning Israel judo delegation sings national anthem in airport

Returning from Abu Dhabi tournament with 5 medals, Israel’s national judo team greeted at Ben Gurion Airport by Min. Regev, who joined them in singing national anthem, which was barred from Abu Dhabi contest; ‘We showed everyone what we’re worth,’ says gold medalist Flicker.

The Abu Dhabi tournament was marred by controversy when its organizing committee refused to allow any Israeli national symbols, including the country’s flag and anthem. However, following a meeting between delegates of the International Judo Federation, Israel and Abu Dhabi it was declared next year the competition’s organizers will do their utmost to showcase Israeli regalia.

Tel Aviv Wins Second Place In EU Innovation Contest

November 7, 2017 | The city of Tel Aviv-Yafo has won second place at the 2017 European Capital of Innovation, where it received a prize of over $100,000. Tel Aviv-Yafo was among 10 finalists up for the award and prize of over $1 million that recognizes the city with the best innovation ecosystem. Paris was awarded the first place prize for its mission to turn into a “FabCity” hosting the largest start-up campus in the world, which encourages innovative projects by citizens and entrepreneurs. Tel Aviv was recognized for its impressive high tech sector programs and city policies, leading to the highest concentration of accelerator programs in Europe. 

New York’s power plants now protected, using Israel’s Iron Dome technology

NEW YORK — Working with mPrest, the Israeli company that developed the Iron Dome missile defense technology, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) will now be able to stop power outages before they start.

From navigation aids to imaging technology to cyber security, mPrest’s collaboration with NYPA is one more example of how Israel’s hi-tech industry has adapted military technology for the civilian market.

“They [mPrest] were the brains behind the missile defense system and they said it could be used for power plant monitoring,” said Alan Ettlinger, NYPA’s director for research, technology, development and innovation.

Iron Dome developer nabs investment from New Zealand power company

mPrest, the Israeli firm that developed the Iron Dome missile defense technology, said on Monday that its customer, New Zealand’s Vector Limited, an electricity and gas distributor, has made a $10 million investment in the firm, and will act as a selling partner in the Oceania region.

Vector joins current mPrest investors OurCrowd, GE Ventures, Angeleno Group, Israel Electric Corporation and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems LTD.

Volkswagen, Hyundai seek to set up hubs in Israel to tap into smart car tech

Automotive giants Volkswagen (VW) and Hyundai Motor Company are planning to set up hubs in Israel to tap into the wealth of mobility and smart-car technologies the so-called Startup Nation is churning out.

“We are very serious about creating a campus in Tel Aviv,” said Peter Harris, chief customer officer of Volkswagen Group, at a conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. “There is no doubt we need to be here.”

US approves cancer gene therapy from Israeli-founded company leading to $11.9 B acquisition

American regulators granted approval to a gene-altering therapy for treating patients suffering from lymphoma, the second-ever approval for a gene therapy procedure and one that could revolutionize how we fight cancer.

The drug, named Yescarta, was developed by the Israeli- founded company Kite Pharma and is expected to cost about $373,000 for each patient, likely generating $150 million-$250m. in sales next year.

Kite was purchased by Gilead Sciences in August for $11.9 billion, and Wednesday’s breakthrough may have helped with the acquisition.

Jewish American wins Nobel Prize in economics

Richard Thaler, a professor at the University of Chicago, won the Nobel Prize in Economic Science for his pioneering work in the field of behavioral economics.

The Nobel Committee in announcing the prize for Thaler on Monday in Stockholm said his research helped lead to changes in public policy, such as employees being automatically registered in programs to save for retirement.

(Thaler worked with Israeli psychologist Daniel Kahneman who also received the Nobel Prize in Economics – perhaps the first psychologist to win a Nobel Prize for economics)

US-Israel robotics team gets $900,000 award

The BIRD Foundation, a US-Israeli partnership that promotes research and development projects between companies from the two nations, has picked US-based Mantaro Networks Inc. and Beeper Communications Israel to develop unmanned search and rescue technologies that can complement the work of human first responders.

Israeli tech pioneers describe technology to British investors in London

Among the line-up at the Institute of Engineering and Technology was an Israeli firm set up in London that scans your phone’s photos then tells advertisers when your circumstances change, so they know when to contact you, and about what. Think, for instance, of that sudden flurry of baby photos, and the inference therein.

ParaZero,  on the business potential of drones: “It didn’t take long to realise the huge business potential,” he said. “In almost every industry today, there is already a drone service provider.” Take the inspection of infrastructure. “Drones already inspect power lines, wind turbines, cellular antenna, solar panels… They deliver packages to your door, bring you lunch from a restaurant, even provide medical supplies. So the challenge is how to do this safely. This is not a toy. It is aviation.”

Some things are still at the experimental stage, but Asher Bennett, a former Israeli submariner who founded Tevva Motors, has just been given permission to ‘play around’ with Leeds, controlling its transport via ‘the cloud’ and apps.

His company develops range-extenders for electric trucks, but he’s taking it to the next level and setting his sights on an “emissions-free city”.

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