Here’s the second installment in our series of posts documenting BDS Fails.
Political BDS fails
New this week:
- Episcopal Church rejects Israel boycott resolutions. The Episcopal Church of the United States on Thursday rejected several resolutions calling for the two-million-member Protestant church to divest from companies engaging in business with Israel and to boycott the Jewish state over its treatment of Palestinians.
Separately Thursday, a leading Mennonite group delayed a decision on divesting from companies with business tied to Israel’s control of the West Bank. The Mennonite Church USA was set to vote on whether it should sell off stock in companies “known to be profiting from the occupation” and from “destruction of life and property” in the territories. But delegates at a national meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, voted 418–336 to table the resolution until their next assembly two years from now, a church spokeswoman said. Twenty-eight delegates abstained.
June 21st, 2015
- TPA, which passed through the US Senate and landed on the president’s desk, includes roughly 150 trade negotiating objectives – requirements of the president, as mandated by Congress, to raise specific US priorities in its negotiations. One of those objectives is to push back against efforts within the EU to sponsor the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
- The New York State Assembly passed a resolution denouncing the boycott for exacerbating the tension between Israel and Palestine. The resolution states: “That this Legislative Body is concerned that the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and its agenda are damaging to the causes of peace, justice, equality, democracy, and human rights for all peoples in the Middle East”. It reportedly passed almost unanimously within the state Assembly; an official anti-BDS bill is expected to follow.
- A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a new measure in the U.S. House of Representatives condemning resolutions or policies promoting boycotts of Israeli academic institutions and scholars by American universities or scholarly associations.
- The Tennessee General Assembly became the first state legislature in the U.S. to formally condemn the BDS movement.
- South Carolina became first US state to take action against anti-Israel boycotts.
- The Illinois State House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that prohibits state pension funds from including in their portfolios companies that participate in BDS.
- US Congress is considering legislation that “would require U.S. negotiators to discourage trading partners from boycotting Israel or Jewish settlements in the West Bank”.
- The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) dropped their bid to suspend Israel from Fifa in a dramatic u-turn.
- French President Francois Hollande made it clear that France opposes the BDS movement.
- Universities U.K. opposes the Academic Boycott of Israel.
- 100 German business leaders are “preparing for a trip to Israel to meet with top businesspeople in an extraordinary show of support for the Jewish state”.
Economic BDS fails
New this week:
- Israel and China on Thursday signed an agreement to expand by $500 million a financial protocol that helps finance Israeli exports to China. The financial protocol, which since its inception in 1995 has reached a total of $2.6 billion, insures lines of credit Israeli banks issue for Chinese companies purchasing Israeli goods. Most of the transactions, according to the Finance Ministry, are in health and medical devices, although education, transportation, communications, infrastructure and agriculture are also included. Thursday’s deal represents the third expansion since 2012, and since 2010 it has led to 100 export transactions worth more than $1.1b. in total.
- Ryanair to fly to Israel for €29.99 The Irish airline, which has almost 40% of the market share of low-cost seats in Europe, announced Tuesday that it is starting to carry out “experimental” flights to Israel, as was first reported by Ynet… In total, there will be six flights a week. “We intend to bring tourists from these destinations looking for a winter sun holiday,” O’Brien told Ynet.
- Chinese firm to pay $90 million for Israeli biopesticide maker. Israel’s Stockton Group, a world leader in the biopesticide business, is being acquired by China’s Hebang Group. The Chinese firm will pay $90 million for 51% of Stockton’s shares. Hebang’s goal with this investment is to “support Stockton’s growth as a global leader in environmentally friendly biofungicides,” according to the Chinese firm.
- Amazon to expand its operations in Israel. One of the last big tech firms to open a local R&D center, the e-commerce giant is now making up for lost time. In just a year and a half, Amazon has gone from simply supplying Israeli companies with cloud technology, to developing that technology here – and it’s hiring more than a hundred engineers and other tech personnel to fill new positions that are opening up in Israel.
- Israel signs $111 million deal to upgrade Argentinian tanks. Agreement to ensure Buenos Aires able to develop its own technology in the future through joint projects with the Jewish state. The deal to upgrade the Argentinian Medium Tanks, or TAM, was signed in Buenos Aires by Argentina’s Minister of Defense Agustin Rossi and Mishel Ben-Baruch, director of the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s International Defense Cooperation Division. “This is an extremely important step, not only for the project but for the excellent relations between both countries. It’s also the beginning of a great friendship between the two ministries,” said Ben Baruch, who also praised the work done by Israeli and Argentinian technical teams to reach the agreement.
- The Burger King franchise will be returning to Israel. Tunisian-born businessman, Pierre Besnainou, is planning to open 50 Burger King outlets around Israel over the next 5 years, with an initial investment of $12 million.
- British low-cost airline EasyJet announced today that it will operate a new direct flight between Tel Aviv and Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport. Tickets are on sale from today. The airline says it will operate the route four times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, year-round. The first flight is scheduled to depart on October 26. This is easyJet’s tenth route from Tel Aviv since it started flying to Israel in November 2009.
- 45 top general managers of InterContinental Hotels and Resorts from Europe convened this week at the David InterContinental Hotel in Tel Aviv for an annual event. This is the first time Israel has been chosen for the event and comes on the heels of the global luxury brand’s selection of the David InterContinental as only one of three hotels that represent the “futurist look of the brand,” as determined by the managers themselves.
- The Israeli economy “saw a huge growth” of 7% in the fourth quarter of 2014.
- Cathay Pacific Airways, which won the World’s Best Airline Award for the fourth time in 2014, is looking into launching a new route from Hong Kong to Tel Aviv.
- Swedish supermarkets back out of Israel boycott after media campaign.
- Jimmy Wales, Wiki co-founder: “I am a strong supporter of Israel”
- Washington State justices reverse a 2012 decision protecting a food co-op from being sued over its boycott of Israeli products.
- A prominent Israeli activist group threatened the Park Slope Food Co-op with a lawsuit if the supermarket adopts a boycott of Israeli products.
- The British business and innovation secretary declared that the U.K. and Israel had entered a “golden era” for trade. British Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Sajid Javid said that he expected bilateral trade and services– currently valued at about $6.9 billion, according to Javid — to continue to grow.
Cultural BDS fails
New this week:
- Lights up on Jerusalem Film Festival. Final preparations were underway for the 32nd Jerusalem International Film Festival on Thursday afternoon before a lineup of the year’s most important movies were set to seek the favor of a crowd of fans and critics from around the world. The festival will last for ten days, showcasing Israeli films as well as those screened at acclaimed forums in Berlin and Cannes.
- Luxury American tourism magazine Jetsetter has just named the world’s best boutique hotel, and it’s none other than the stunning Norman Tel Aviv.
- Jewish American actress Mayim Bialik arrived in Israel on Tuesday and immediately tweeted: “It’s good to be home.” Bialik, 39, is both an actress and a neuroscientist. She speaks Hebrew and is a distant relative of Israel’s national poet, Hayim Nahman Bialik. She played the title character of NBC’s “Blossom,” a teenager living with her father and two brothers, from 1991 to 1995, and has been starring since 2010 in CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler (also a neuroscientist), a role for which she has been nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series three times in a row
- The 28th meeting of the Animals Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES AC28) will convene in Tel Aviv, Israel, with a view to developing recommendations for CITES CoP 17 between 30 August – 3 September 2015
- A neo-realist allegorical painting inspired by the biblical tragedy of Jephthah and his daughter by the Israeli artist Matan Ben-Cnaan has won the top prize in one of the world’s most prestigious portrait awards. Ben-Cnaan was named the first Israeli winner of the £30,000 BP portrait award at a ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery, London
- Michael Douglas visited Israel to receive the $1 million Genesis Prize award, popularly dubbed the ‘Jewish Nobel Prize,’ for his efforts to promote Jewish culture.
- The band One Republic came to Israel not only to rock Tel Aviv, but also to show support for the Jewish State by visiting IDF soldiers in the field.
- Backstreet Boys return to Israel.
- Iconic Britpop band Suede are returning to Israel. Four years after its last visit, English alternative rock group will perform at Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv on July 30.
- Art Garfunkel, one half of the legendary duo Simon and Garfunkel, returned to Israel on June 10th for a solo show at Bloomfield Stadium.
- American diva Dionne Warwick said that she has no plans to cancel her upcoming Tel Aviv performance, saying that “art has no boundaries.”
- Wildly popular American rock band Bon Jovi will perform in Israel in early Oct.
Just for fun
- Jenna Jameson is converting to Judaism. Former adult film star has begun tweeting in Hebrew, buying Israeli products, and even cooking kosher for her Israeli fiancé.
- The BDS movement is failing, part 1 (ukmediawatch.org)