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July 27, 2012 Off

Latest Divestment Effort Results in Yet Another Failure for BDS Movement

Oppo­nents of Israel have been engaged in efforts to wage eco­nomic war­fare against the Jew­ish State via Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) cam­paigns for sev­eral years now. The lat­est such ini­tia­tive, which failed this week, was a cam­paign to pres­sure Sonoma County in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia to stop work­ing with Veo­lia, a French trans­porta­tion com­pany that is allegedly guilty of “ser­vic­ing Israeli set­tle­ments in the West Bank.”
A res­o­lu­tion to con­sider not renew­ing the county’s con­tract with Veo­lia, which pro­vides tran­sit ser­vices worth $7 mil­lion, was con­sid­ered on Tues­day by the county’s Human Rights Commission.The com­mis­sion voted 5–4 against the res­o­lu­tion. It will “hear the issue fur­ther” at its August meet­ing, accord­ing to news reports.
In the seven years since the for­mal launch of an inter­na­tional cam­paign to boy­cott Israel, no Amer­i­can col­lege cam­pus in the United States has divested from Israel or com­pa­nies that work with Israel. No church. No retire­ment fund. Israeli mer­chan­dise, includ­ing beauty prod­ucts, hum­mus, and cous­cous, con­tin­ues to be read­ily avail­able on store shelves around the country.
Despite the obvi­ous lack of main­stream appeal, many domes­tic anti-Israel groups – includ­ing the “North Coast Coali­tion for Pales­tine,” which was respon­si­ble for the recent cam­paign in Sonoma County – seem to be unwill­ing to rec­og­nize defeat. Even a peti­tion cir­cu­lated by the group, which was posted to the US Cam­paign to End the Israeli Occupation’s Web site, gar­nered less than 300 signatures.
While these cam­paigns are used by anti-Israel activists as a dele­git­imiza­tion tac­tic, they have never had much chance of suc­cess. In this case, even if the Human Rights Com­mis­sion would have voted in favor, it has no power to enact pol­icy and would only have been able to present a rec­om­men­da­tion to the county’s Board of Super­vi­sors. Many divest­ment res­o­lu­tions that are con­sid­ered on col­lege cam­puses are sim­i­larly non-binding.

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