In 2005, Palestinian civil society issued a call for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights.
So says the web site of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Movement, based in Ramallah. But, what does the Palestinian public think of this idea? Not much, at least according to a poll just released by Geocartography Knowledge, a marketing research firm in Israel, and reported in Globes.
Among the findings:
- 85% of Palestinian residents in the West Bank are interested in cooperation with Israel
- Only 25-40% of respondents in Jordan were interested in joint projects with Israel, and 20% of respondents in Morocco expressed such willingness.
- The results indicate a reverse correlation between greater information about Israel based on media sources rather than personal familiarity and the willingness to cooperate with Israel.
- There is a gap between the Palestinian public’s position and the position of their political leaders, who do not want direct official cooperation.
On this last point, it is safe to assume that this gap is also true regarding the BDS Movement.
So, what does the BDS Movement define as “Palestinian civil society”? Here is a list of the “civil society” organizations endorsing their campaign. While the list contains some 200 organizations (including trade unions, charities, political activist groups, etc.) topping the list is the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine (aka PNIF), which BDS describes as the “coordinating body for the major political parties in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Calling these groups “political parties” is just blowing smoke. The PNIF was formed in 2000 and is comprised of and led by the major factions that led the second intifada in which a wave of terrorism was unleashed on Israeli civilians killing over 1,000 and wounding thousands more.
The PNIF’s official logo is a map of Israel and the Palestinian territories, surrounded by joined hands. This signifies the group’s aim of ruling the entire territory west of the Jordan River, meaning no Israel. The flags and the Al Aksa Mosque symbolize Palestinian nationalism with the mosque also being a religious symbol.
PNIF’s principle members include: Fatah, Hamas, the PFLP, the PFLP-GC, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Palestine Liberation Front among others. The last five groups appear on the US State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations list. PNIF was formed with the authorization of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and was led by Marwan Barghouti, jailed in 2002 for the murder of Israeli civilians. Specifically, Barghouti was responsible for
- a June 2001 attack in Maale Adumim, in which Fr. Georgios Tsibouktzakis, a Greek Orthodox monk, was murdered,
- a January 2002 terror attack on a gas station in Givat Zeev murdering Yoela Chen,
- a March 2002 attack at Tel Aviv’s Seafood Market restaurant, in which three people were murdered, and
- a car bomb attack in Jerusalem.
The BDS Movement and its supporters try to paint the BDS effort as “non-violent” resistance. Given its pedigree, this BDS claim is open to serious challenge.
But, I digress. The main thing to remember is despite the claims of the BDSers, most Palestinians want to do business with Israel.
Now, BDSers, stick that in your pipe and smoke it.