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July 27, 2012

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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