BDS movement’s strength shown by pro-Israel groups launching defensive “BUYcott” days
Today, Kairos Palestine in Bethlehem released a statement on the Buy Israel activities of “an assortment of anti-Palestinian conglomerates” in the United Kingdom and the United States. The activities are organized in response to the increasing strength of the BDS movement.
Saturday, 26 November has been declared a national BDS Day of Action in the United Kingdom. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is calling on supporters to focus action on supermarket chain Tesco. The company sells a wide range of Israeli goods and is the only supermarket in the UK that is openly selling illegal settlement goods. PSC states:
We are calling on all supporters of Palestinian human rights to get involved through a variety of actions – from street protests, e-lobbying, networking and social media sites – to get more people involved in the boycott movement and help bring an end to Israel’s occupation, just like the movement against Apartheid in South Africa.
This has prompted the Israel lobby in the UK to go on the defensive.
Luke Akehurst, Director of We Believe in Israel — which is supported by the Israeli Embassy in London, the Jewish National Fund and StandWithUs UK — has circulated a letter in response to the national BDS day in which he calls for two “BUYcott” days sponsored by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and StandWithUs UK, “to counter the Boycott of Israeli goods.” He shows his fear for BDS activism in the last sentence of his letter:
You are asked by the organisers not to promote this campaign on public forums, which would alert the Boycotters in advance and give publicity to the Boycott itself.
Akehurst invites people to challenge BDS day “by making an extra special effort to BUY Israeli goods, particularly in the days running up to Boycott day (26 November). Please play your part by encouraging others to buy Israeli products. Speak to branch managers to point out how valued Israeli products are.”
In the United States, StandWithUs has put out a similar call on its website about the Buy Israel Week. Just like in the UK, the activity is planned in response to successful BDS activism in the US. Frances Zelazny, who came up with the idea, expressed her concerns by the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against apartheid Israel. The initiative is co-sponsored by nine Jewish newspapers throughout the country, including the New York Jewish Week. The Jewish National Fund signed on to take part in the Buy Israel Week campaign. Ahava and El Al are sponsors of the campaign.
The organizers are attempting to lure people into buying Israeli products with discount coupons from more than a hundred local merchants and Israeli retailers.
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