BDS

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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41 replies »

  1. 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.”

    I woz wunderin wot ‘disputed Gaza territories’ refers to? Is Israel still claiming Gaza?

    One haz to wonder where these Co-Op people come from.

  2. Absolutely fascinating article, AKUS.

    By the way, on the subject of “…. some encourage others to boycott the giant Israeli pharmaceutical firm, TEVA, just because it is Israeli.”, Duvidl is gratified to discover that the worldwide best-seller slimming drug Orlistat, manufactured by Roche, went generic in April and is about to be marketed by the brilliant Teva. Duvidl is advising all his fat friends and any slimmers to counter the abovementioned proposed Teva boycott (merely 10 “likes” on Facebook) by going for the Teva version of Orlistat on their prescriptions or over-the-counter. This can be done by simply asking the pharmacist to order from Teva Pharmaceutical.

  3. it is a taboo in Israel to play the music of Richard Wagner due to his Aryan nationalist outlook. And that guy was merely an inspiration to the Nazis. However, Israel fielded an astronaut for NASA despite having employed a card-carrying Nazi after the war. And it goes without saying that any use of missile technology owes something to Werner von Braun. So even Israel could not be consistent in boycotting anything made by an Aryan nationalist.

    Likewise, there has been no call from Palestinian BDS groups to boycott any medical treatment that originated in Israel. BDS primarily targets every day consumer items and heavy equipment used directly against Palestinians. Nobody is being told to suffer for BDS just as no one was told to reject open heart surgery because the first successful heart transplant was performed in Cape Town.

    • BDS primarily targets every day consumer items and heavy equipment used directly against Palestinians.

      And do you really think thast a few psychologically damaged haters living on social security or paid by different “human rights organisations” are the big consumers of heavy earth-moving equipment? And do you believe that boycotting some consumer products will cause any damage to the Israeli economy? It’s only result will be the unemployment of hundreds of Palestinians living in Judea and Shomron. This kind of boycott is the best proof of the fact that these people don’t give a shit about any Palestinian suffering they only want to hurt the Jews. (to make you frustrated Andrew – they don’t succeed at all).

      And it goes without saying that any use of missile technology owes something to Werner von Braun. So even Israel could not be consistent in boycotting anything made by an Aryan nationalist.

      Andrew you need urgent medical; help.

      • “a few psychologically damaged haters living on social security or paid by different “human rights organisations” are the big consumers of heavy earth-moving equipment?”

        Remember what BDS stands for? Caterpillar is a target of the “D”.

        “And do you believe that boycotting some consumer products will cause any damage to the Israeli economy? It’s only result will be the unemployment of hundreds of Palestinians living in Judea and Shomron.”

        So BDS won’t cause any damage to the Israeli economy but it will put Palestinians out of work. Can you explain that in greater detail or should I just assume Israel’s economy is designed to defer any damages to the West Bank workforce? And I seem to recall that Israel hardly needed BDS to put Palestinians out of work. A little something called guest workers?

        “This kind of boycott is the best proof of the fact that these people don’t give a shit about any Palestinian suffering they only want to hurt the Jews.”

        Oh yeeeah, Peter, the Zionist project has always strove to provide the Arabs of Eretz Israel with full employment. That’s what the Kibbutzim and Histadrut were for.

        • Remember what BDS stands for? Caterpillar is a target of the “D”.

          I see. These same people won’t invest their dole in Caterpillar. You will be surprised Andrew 99.999% of investors will invest their money in order to make profit and if Caterpillar is profitable then they will contionue to invest in it. If you think that the divestment of the Norway Pension Fund from Elbit or similar actions caused any problem then you are mistaken, their places has been taken in two days.

          Can you explain that in greater detail or should I just assume Israel’s economy is designed to defer any damages to the West Bank workforce?

          I suppose that you are not pretending being dumb so let me to explain to you, that Israeli companies working in Judea and Shomron employ thousands of Palestinians. Boycotting them these companies will close their operations and will invest somewhere else leaving their ex emplyees without job.

          And I seem to recall that Israel hardly needed BDS to put Palestinians out of work. A little something called guest workers?

          These bloody Jews, they are importing non-Hebrew speaking guestworkers from China, Thailand etc only in order to hurt the Palestinians who speak the language and worked in tens of thousands of them in Israel until the Intifada. It has naturally nothing to do with the terror comitted by Palestinians working in Israel or terrorists hiding among them….

          Oh yeeeah, Peter, the Zionist project has always strove to provide the Arabs of Eretz Israel with full employment. That’s what the Kibbutzim and Histadrut were for.

          Regarding the Histadrut it fought to provide jobs for every Israeli citizens, Jews, Arabs irrespective of their ethnic or religious affiliation.
          Too bad that it also stole their pension and healthcare contributions on the way and wasted it for political purposes and overpaying its leaders and their appointees. The Histadrut’s role in today’s Israeli society is virtually nil.
          Most kibbutzim employ many Arab workers – probably you don’t have a clue about them.

      • Your arguments are pretty much the same as the afrikaaners in the 80’s. The boycotts had no effect at first in S.A.. But outside it was a different matter. Once boycotts had started (particularly artistic) that was the catalyst for those not yet aware to become informed. This grew into sanctions and finally the fall of apartheid. History is repeating itself and leaving you on the sidelines, in denial and railing at everything. Sad, really.

        • Yawn… The good old Israel is apartheid argument – the last resort of the modern day Jew-haters. They did the same in the thirties in Europe – you must be proud of them…

          • Criticism!? pretzel where is the same criticism (including boycott) of China, Turkey, Iran, Saudi-Arabia?
            And naturally when you lost the argument what you can do is some personal abuse…

          • Jewish-only roads. Jewish-only settlements on OCCUPIED palestinian lands. Discriminatory laws. If it looks like a duck… etc.

            French President-elect Hollande promised “ethical foreign policy” in his first speech.

            Vive la France! Vive la Republique!

            • Jewish-only roads….

              FYI Alex they are “Israeli only” roads. Israeli Arabs can use them freely too. And maybe you don’t know but these roads became “israeli roads” only after the Palestinians started to kill the Israeli drivers using the same roads…
              Jewish-only settlements on OCCUPIED palestinian lands
              An interesting assertion knowing that in Arab countries (the PA included) the punishment for selling real estate to Jews is death…
              And it would be interesting to know the source of the expression “Palestinian land” You could say Jordanian land, maybe Turkish land but Palestinian? When was this land owned by any Palestinian entity? The are has been occupied by Israel in a defensive war – all of the Jewish settlements are on lands legally owned by Jews or lands owned previously by the Jordanian state. Trying to annihilate your neighbor and losing has some tough consequences Alex.

              French President-elect Hollande promised “ethical foreign policy” in his first speech.
              Really? Will they cut their trade and political connections with the Islamofascist countries like Iran, Saudi-Arabia and Syria? With China? With Turkey illegally occupying North-Cyprus?

              Will be interesting….

              • Aaah. What child-like credulity! You believe your hasbara like a child believes in Father Christmas.

                • Father Christmas is much more closer to the reality than the “ethical foreign policy” of an European power.
                  And speaking about “hasbara” by you while instead of trying to use some factual counterarguments spitting anti-semite hate propaganda must be some kind of sick joke.

                  • Where is Alex “spitting anti-semite hate propaganda”? If he hasn’t, then frankly you should be banned from this site.

            • “French President-elect Hollande promised “ethical foreign policy” in his first speech.”
              ‘Ethical foreign policy’, now where have I heard that phrase before?
              Oh yes, Tony Blair’s first Government in 97.

              • That’s right. He’s about as hypocritical as Mr Mileikowsky who’s family name changed to Netanyahu! All that bull at the UN about that family ring!

    • “it is a taboo in Israel to play the music of Richard Wagner due to his Aryan nationalist outlook. And that guy was merely an inspiration to the Nazis.”

      Do you think ‘andrew r’ that one of the reasons Wagner was an inspiration to the Nazis was because he wrote in a pamphlet the following;
      “with all our speaking and writing in favour of the Jews’ emancipation, we always felt instinctively repelled by any actual, operative contact with them.”

      In my book that is anti-semitic full stop, and justifies him being banned by any civilised country or gathering. Although I can see why he would be a poster boy for supporters of BDS.

      • I wasn’t disputing Wagner’s antisemitism nor protesting his de-facto ban in Israel. The point of my op should be clear enough – Israel positions itself as the negation of Nazi Germany, yet it is not capable of severing all ties with Nazi-produced technology. So it’s absurd to make the same demand of boycotting Israeli goods.

        That Israel has used missiles on population centers is only one reason there’s a boycott movement to begin with.

        • “I wasn’t disputing Wagner’s antisemitism nor protesting his de-facto ban in Israel.”
          Really?
          Then why did you claim “it is a taboo in Israel to play the music of Richard Wagner due to his Aryan nationalist outlook. And that guy was merely an inspiration to the Nazis.”
          Why not write that it is taboo to play Richard Wagner due to his well known anti-semitic outbursts?
          It is you who wrote that it is due to his ‘Aryan nationalist outlook’

          The underlying anti-semitism of the supporters of BDS usually shows through the thin veneer they try to cover it with.
          So yes, your point is clear enough.

          • Okay, first of all Aryan nationalist and antisemitic are synonymous. There’s no appreciable difference between ‘Aryan nationalist outlook’ and ‘antisemitic outburst’. And I was contrasting the overt taboo on Wagner to the relative carelessness about Werner von Braun who may not have written antisemitic pamphlets but did have his designs implemented with slave labor. An Israeli boarded a shuttle only a few generations removed from what that guy developed at NASA. (While we’re on the subject, the USA was very lax about de-Nazification after the war).

            What’s really silly about your misinterpretation of my writing is that I called Werner von Braun an ‘Aryan nationalist’ and a ‘Nazi’ in the same post. So not on a cold day in Hell what I wrote could be interpreted as downplaying Wagner’s antisemitism or scoffing Israel for boycotting his music. I’m scoffing Israel for not boycotting von Braun.

            Finally, a BDS supporter does not have to answer for someone else’s antisemitism. Israel is a state that uses its military on civilians with international support and opposing it has to be an international effort.

            • I’m scoffing Israel for not boycotting von Braun.

              Was von Braun welcomed on a red carpet – if at all – by Israel? I think not.

            • I can’t take this anymore. Listen, Andrew, you are an idiot making ignorant statements. You’re saying that Israel should not participate in rocket science, because a German scientist once worked on rockets. And if the don’t then they’re not of the same high moral standard of you and your ilk. Are you that far gone?

              “Israel is a state that uses its military on civilians…” What does that sentence even mean? Doesn’t Britain use its military against civilians?
              Their record on avoiding civilian casualties is certainly not up to Israel’s standard. Don’t Palestinians target civilians with military means?

              Your reasons for boycotting Israel are bogus. You are ill-informed.
              If the Palestinians were as besieged in the way you and your ignorant friends imagine, then the Pals would either be fleeing the territory in droves or itching to make a deal. They’re not doing either.

              • “You’re saying that Israel should not participate in rocket science, because a German scientist once worked on rockets.”

                Uh, no, try again. I’ve rewritten this argument twice already.

                “Doesn’t Britain use its military against civilians?”

                Yes, and I would not be opposed to a worldwide boycott of Britain or the USA or any entity that commits aggressive warfare.

                “If the Palestinians were as besieged in the way you and your ignorant friends imagine, then the Pals would either be fleeing the territory in droves or itching to make a deal. They’re not doing either.”

                This is totally risible. The last time the “Pals” fled Palestine in large numbers, they were not allowed back in. If the population of Gaza fled to the Sinai, they would never see Gaza again. They know what happens when you are not Jewish and evacuate Zionist-held territory because they’ve done it before. You are ethnically cleansed.

                As for making a deal, the only terms acceptable to Israel is to recognize it as a Jewish state, and that would effectively rubber stamp the expulsions of 1948.

                • “As for making a deal, the only terms acceptable to Israel is to recognize it as a Jewish state”

                  ‘andrew r’ so you’re opposed to the Jewish people having a country of their own, what a surprise. (sarcasm intended)

                  • I’m opposed to any state that expels people through military or legalistic means. Israel’s fault for doing that, not mine for noticing.

      • “Although I can see why he would be a poster boy for supporters of BDS.”

        The poster boy would be anyone who’s fought against racial segregation in their lifetime, not someone who wanted to uphold it.

  4. @ AKUS

    The BDS movement in e.g. the UK involves a miniscule amount of people.
    Of them, what proportion call for a blanket boycott against ALL Israeli enterprises?

    @ andrew r

    Wagner’s anti-Semitism was so profound that he wrote an unbelievably disgusting essay expressing it. Von Braun’s anti-Semitism was – arguably – of the more apathetic variety.*

    Criticising an Israeli astronaut for joining a NASA expedition really is desperate.

    *This cannot be said in defence of Albert Speer, must I add. They should never have let him out of jail.

    • I referred to the US and Europe:

      “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”

      not specifically Britain.

      Here is a perfect example from the US lunatic fringe – a Rabbi of some description who repeats the “as-a-Jew” mantra like a voodoo shaman, He supports BDS with no distinction between the area within the green line or beyond. I was unable to find a single word of his in support of Jews or the Jewish state:

      http://rabbibrian.wordpress.com/

      “Why I choose to focus my energies here is that I feel a direct responsibility as an American and as a Jew for the oppression of the Palestinian people. I identify as a Jew and I live in America. As a Jew etc. etc. etc., ”

      The issue I raise is not the miniscule number of supporters of this cult, as Finkelstein correctly terms it, but the hypocrisy and stupidity that drive it and whether, if their own lives or health were on the line, these Jewish lunatics would stick to their guns or find a way to overcome their scruples and take the life-saving or health-giving frigs developed in Israel, the land they say they are pleased to boycott.

      • Perhaps your repeated tirades against said Jews should be on a separate blog?

        What does this rabbi have to do with CiF anyway??

        p.s. Which Finkelstein are you referring to?

        • Given the Guardian’s support of the BDS movement, evidenced by the numerous articles by a small number of the members of the cult that it publishes, I think it is entirely appropriately for CW to provide an opposing view and call out hypocrites when we see them.

  5. AFAIK, there’s no call to boycott Saudi Arabia, Turkey or Iran by the people most adversely affected by those regimes. There is definitely a boycott movement against China on issues ranging from Tibet to virtual slave labor.

    Any political activism on behalf of oppressed people needs their guidance, because they know the situation best. There’s no clear message from organized Saudi or Chinese or Tibetan expats and there’s no reason there can’t be one. On certain no-brainers, like iPod workers, it’s probably okay to go ahead.

    You want to know why there’s a boycott movement against Israel? Because the Zionist paramilitaries imposed a large, involuntary diaspora when they created a Jewish state in Palestine, and those are the people spearheading the BDS movement. Without them, most likely no BDS which incidentally is a recent phenomena (Separate from the Arab League boycott).

    Organized antisemites like the American Nazis, the BNP and the FN are not the ones behind BDS. People active against South Africa and Shell in Nigeria are actually representative; Israel is not the first state to be targeted by such a movement.

    • “AFAIK, there’s no call to boycott Saudi Arabia, Turkey or Iran by the people most adversely affected by those regimes.”

      Please ‘andrew r’ assure me that you are, as I suspect, an American.

      Because if you are a product of the education system in the U.K. then I shall go around to see my M.P. tomorrow and demand my Income Tax and National Insurance contributions back. Clearly I have been paying for an education system that is badly failing if it produces an anti-semitic ignoramus such as you.

        • “Interesting how you don’t even try to contradict the quoted remark.”

          Why would I waste my time contradicting a remark that is so ignorant of the situation that exists in those countries, and among its exiles, that it is beyond belief?

          • My remark had nothing to do with the situation in those countries or among their exiles. I simply pointed out there’s no Saudi-led movement to boycott Saudi Arabia, etc. That’s either a truism or it’s not.

            Probably you’re alluding to the lack of free speech in those countries and what would happen to the relatives of exiles. That’s no reason to organize a whole movement without any input from the people affected, because that can do plenty of damage all the same. A regime that retaliates against political activists could still react to a boycott the same way even if there’s no overt involvement from exiles.

            • “That’s either a truism or it’s not.”

              It is not.

              Your ignorance of the existence and activities of the exiles and activists in these countries would be surprising, if you had not already clearly demonstrated the depth of your ignorance about every other country.

              • Yeah, you sound real interested in recruiting me to the BDS movement against Saudi Arabia and not just throwing out bluster.