TIP CEO: Legislative Victories Against Boycotts Show Attempts to Demonize Israel Backfired

The passage of legislation against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign in eight states over the past year has sent a strong signal to anti-Israel activists that their “smear campaign to delegitimize and demonize Israel has backfired,” Josh Block, CEO and President of The Israel Project, wrote in an op-ed published in The Hill on Tuesday.

Citing the words of Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who said upon signing his state’s anti-BDS bill in March that the campaign is “fueled by anti-Semitism,” Block observed that “the proponents of this anti-Semitic movement have sought to mainstream anti-Israel discrimination in America, and around the world.” He added that the campaign has targeted “[business] sectors and college campuses” as a means of isolating Israel.

By overwhelmingly supporting anti-BDS legislation, state legislatures have delivered a message to those seeking to single out Israel for discriminatory boycotts that their “attempts to malign Israel with false accusations of repellent human rights violations and obscene blood libels like ‘organ stealing’ have been exposed,” Block argued.

“Instead, community reaction in the eight states where discriminatory anti-Israel BDS schemes have so far been defeated has overflowed with support for Israel,” he continued. “Indeed, it has been heartening to observe communities and leaders in states as diverse as Iowa and Florida mobilizing and taking action to embrace Israel’s values and friendship, and ensuring that American tax dollars are not flowing to companies that engage in or otherwise indulge BDS-hate.”

Block also highlighted the role The Israel Project has played in supporting anti-BDS legislation, including by “providing evidence and statistics reflecting Israel’s staunch commitment to maintaining the highest levels of ethical standards during wartime situations, showcasing Israel’s selfless dedication to providing humanitarian aid during times of crises worldwide, and highlighting the undeniable benefits of securing and strengthening America’s longtime friendship with the State of Israel.”

The Israel Project publishes The Tower.

In Israel Gives Much More to the U.S. Economy Than You Imagined, which was published in the March 2016 issue of The Tower Magazine, Aaron Menenberg analyzed the benefits of Israeli trade with the United States, and concluded:

All things considered, one would be hard-pressed to find an alliance more effective than the one between the United States and Israel. The Jewish state is a small country in population and size, but the benefits America realizes from its trade and collaboration with Israel are often comparable to much larger and wealthier nations, and in some cases may even exceed them. From individual states to the national economy, Israel’s impact is outsized: Hundreds of thousands of jobs, technological improvements, and science and healthcare advances that boost our material and physical quality of life.

Looked at this way, it becomes easy to see that the BDS movement’s attack on Israel’s economy, not to mention its encouragement of academic and scientific boycotts, directly hurts Americans. Just as the movement claims to be helping the Palestinians, but in fact harms Palestinian interests, it also harms what is perhaps America’s most important interest: its economic success. Regardless of your position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if you support a stronger American economy and workforce, you should oppose boycotting Israel. It is important for Americans to know this, and for the anti-boycott effort to expand to include them.

[Photo: Jason Rosenberg / Flickr ]