I've edited this post because I decided that this is more newsworthy than the quotes by a troubled Roger Waters calling Scarlett Johanssen cute and Neil Young confused for not joining him in his efforts to boycott Israel. For those of you interested in Mr. Waters, you can read about him in the comment section below. Here's the news article about Waters that I linked to yesterday.
Some of you, I know, are intrigued by BDS and other so-called non-violent tactics against the Jewish State. Here's a primer on BDS written by Marc Tracy in the New Republic. Tracy elaborates on the so-called "Zionist boycott" that would focus exclusively on companies that manufacture or otherwise produce products in this occupied territory.
Thus, Americans for Peace Now supports a boycott of Soda Stream, but rejects BDS. Here's APN's Debra De Lee:
But before I discuss bubbles, a few words of clarification are in order. My organization is staunchly pro-Israel. Americans for Peace Now, the sister organization of Israel’s peace movement, is a Zionist organization, proudly committed to Israel’s security and wellbeing. I love Israel and I’m worried sick about its future as a democracy and a Jewish state.
It is because of my love for Israel that I don’t buy products made by companies that are located in West Bank settlements, and that I urge the millions watching the Super Bowl on Sunday to look beyond the luminous actress and the fizz — and to consider the future of Israel and the Middle East.
I strongly oppose boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. I actually encourage everyone to buy products made in Israel. The problem, however, is that products like SodaStream don’t come from Israel but from territory occupied by Israel, territory that is to become a part of the future Palestinian state or to be swapped as a part of a two-state deal between Israel and Palestine. In fact, when SodaStream moves to Israel, which it claims it will do, I will encourage anyone to buy lots of bubbly water.
The Forward, still an influential newspaper among more lefty types in the Jewish community has a different, and perhaps more ambivalent take on boycotting SodaStream. In a recent editorial, the Forward came out against the limited boycott:
Yes, SodaStream enjoys some tax benefits because of its location in Mishor Adumim, an industrial park that is part of Maale Adumim, a sprawling settlement 15 minutes from Jerusalem in occupied territory that many expect would remain Israeli in an agreement with the Palestinians. And its owner acknowledges that economic incentives enticed him to move there years ago. But the tax benefits SodaStream enjoys today are granted to other companies located in similar industrial areas within the Green Line, in Israel proper. It is not “profiting from the occupation,” as its critics claim.
Yes, while an Israeli workers’ rights group had criticized labor practices at SodaStream from 2008 to 2010, the company has had no complaints in the last three years. Even its most vociferous critic concedes that the 500 Palestinians employed there — who receive the same salary as their Israeli counterparts — earn three to four times the Palestinian average. SodaStream says the advantage is even higher.
So no special government incentives. No worker exploitation.
And 500 well-paying jobs. There’s a certain arrogance in promoting a boycott from the safety and security of America that would economically damage workers who really need those jobs, and who appear to be treated fairly inside the factory walls.
Outside, the occupation — with all its lopsided oppressiveness — reigns. It is the fault of the Israeli leadership, the Palestinian leadership, an Arab world which pays only lip service to the Palestinian cause. It’s not the fault of a company trying to make a buck by selling fancy seltzer. Ending the occupation requires everyone to engage, not to run away or to demonize the wrong parties to the conflict.
Given the history of the boycott used against Jews over centuries and culminating with the ugliest of ugly boycotts in the 1930s, I would have a hard time joining any boycott against fellow Jews. That is a Jewish impulse (for those interested) and not an American one. And I would not join any effort that is supported by the likes of the Roger Waters of the world. That to me is both a Jewish and American impulse. And I don't understand more recent boycott efforts at a time when the United States is devoting so much time and effort to keep the parties at the table. A boycott just seems counterintuitive at this juncture. That, of course, is a practical, consideration.