Saturday, July 27, 2013

Strange fruit. BDS Now and Then

The more things change....

.Having failed to destroy Israel militarily and through acts of terror, the latest tactic of the anti-Israel cru are  Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions.  BDS as a  tactic in the campaign to isolate Israel was launched at the Durban conference in 2001, but its roots go much deeper. The Arab Economic boycott of Israel began in 1944, and was formalized in 1948, with the goal of strangling the Israeli economy.   With their track record of public tantrums, vandalism and bullying, the BDS’ers of today are the ideological heirs to a truly ruthless and ignoble crowd.
Berkeley BDS'er posing with vandalized Sabra hummus

Today, agriculture represents less than 3%  percent of exports, compared to an average of 30% of exports during the 1960s.  In her early years Israel was well known as an agricultural exporter.  The Jaffa orange, a sweet, nearly  seedless orange variety with a tough skin that made it easy to export was a mainstay of Israel’s agricultural exports.

In February 1978, health officials in 18 countries received notice that “oppressed Palestinian workers” had injected liquid mercury into Jaffa oranges,  In a letter to the West German government, a group calling itself the Arab Revolutionary Army-Palestine Command claimed it had adulterated the fruit and added, “Our aim is not indiscriminately to kill your population but to sabotage the Israeli economy.”

The threats were carried out, and  five Dutch children from Harlem and Maastricht,  fell ill after eating Jaffa oranges.  Insoluble pellets of metallic mercury were found injected into the oranges.  Dutch health officials began an investigation, and discovered 25 additional mercury tainted Israeli oranges . More sabotaged Israeli oranges were found in nine West German towns, France, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

From Time magazine:

 ....the tampered oranges were a shock to Europe, especially after it became known that they were fruits of political terrorism. In a letter to the West German government, an extremist group calling itself the Arab Revolutionary Army-Palestine Command claimed it had doctored the fruit to disrupt Israel's economy.
At least temporarily, it may have done so. In West Germany, which annually imports 140 million tons of citrus products from Israel, sales were halted while the fruit was checked out. In The Netherlands, supermarket managers put their Jaffa oranges in cold storage until the poisoning scare blew over.
 For Israel, the rash of ruined oranges constituted both a new kind of Palestinian attack and a potential economic disaster. The $172 million annual orange export trade is one of the country's major sources of foreign exchange. Israeli growers insist that the injecting took place at shipping centers in Europe and not at the groves themselves; their hypothesis sounded more and more reasonable as first Spanish and then Moroccan oranges, which move through the same European distribution system, displayed the same mercury traces. The Jerusalem Post sarcastically attacked the Palestinians: "They now send their freedom fighters to stab—if not with the sword at least with the syringe—the harmless Jaffa orange."
From our friend Jon, at Divest this, one of our most articulate experts on BDS

While divestment proponents might be able to convince themselves that the ends justify the means as part of some fantasized higher, noble calling, in truth their means have become their ends. For what defines such movements outside of their willingness to say anything, do anything, hurt anyone, sew conflict, corrupt democracy, abuse the language of human rights and free speech, , i.e., to behave in a manner that defines ruthlessness?

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