Cutting Off BDS at the Spigot

How you can fight the flow of finance to an anti-Semitic hate group.

bdsThousands of young people are now employed on campuses around the world, well financed and well organized, in an unprecedented effort that challenges the very legitimacy of Israel on every possible academic and economic front.

They call their new movement BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

Over the next few days, Mr. Sheldon Adelson and Mr. Haim Saban have called an emergency meeting of organizations concerned about BDS to answer two questions:

[1] Where does the finance and organizational support for BDS emanate from?

[2] How can BDS be stopped?

The answers may be easier to ascertain than one may realize.

Most recently, official representatives of the Palestinian Authority, the PA, engaged in an international effort that almost booted Israel out of FIFA, the most prestigious international sporting association, a step which could have denied any Israel sports team from competing in any sports competition, anywhere in the world.

The direct involvement of the PA in this massive BDS activity revealed what had been known for years, which is that the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah organized the BDS “movement” in 2005. The BDS website speaks for itself, as no more than a front for the PA.

BDS has indeed fostered an image as if it is a spontaneous grass roots movement.

Yet it does not take much research to discern that BDS is not listed anywhere as neither an independent organization, nor does BDS even hold or own a bank account, anywhere in the world.

Instead, BDS acts as a subsidiary of the PA, in coordination with the PLO Negotiations Department, working with the official Arab League boycott of Israel that has fought Israel ever since the Jewish state came into being in 1948.

After losing the battle to eradicate the new state of Israel, the Arab League launched a full-scale economic war, which continues to this day, recruiting each Arab country to promote a boycott of all companies that do business in Israel.

The Arab League Boycott requires all imports into Arab ports to produce a "negative certificate of origin" -- a document indicating that products were not manufactured in Israel, and their components were also not sourced from the Jewish state.

The Arab League via a Central Boycott Office (CBO), established in 1951, has implemented this ever since. The CBO was tasked with creating a "blacklist" of companies and institutions with trade ties to Israel, and applies to all Arab countries, except for the two Arab nations that signed peace treaties with Israel-Egypt and Jordan, which signed off of the Arab boycott. The PLO was expected to also sign off of the Arab boycott after the Oslo Accord in 1993.

However, the PLO has never stopped promoting the Arab boycott of Israel, even though one of the explicit clauses of the “declaration of principles" in Oslo was that the PLO would no longer support the Arab League boycott of Israel.

Why? What has escaped public attention is that the PLO never ratified the "declaration of principles," the most fundamental document of the Israel-Palestinian Oslo accord, nor did the PLO ever cancel its charter to destroy Israel, which was another major clause in that accord.

Only three weeks after the Oslo accord that was initialed on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993, pending ratification by both sides, a prominent left wing journalist, Pinches Inbari, reporting for the Mapam (Meretz) newspaper Al Hamishmar from the PLO headquarters in Tunis, reported that PLO leader Yassir Arafat announced that on the day of the scheduled PLO ratification, on October 6, 1993, the PLO leader could not or would not convene the necessary quorum for ratification. As a result, the Oslo accords have gone ungratified, to this day.

I called the Arab League Boycott office at the Arab League office in Washington, DC and asked if the PLO supports the current Arab League boycott.

The Arab League spokesman confirmed that the PLO indeed supports the Arab boycott campaign against Israeli products. Without any prodding, the Arab League spokesman went on to say that “We call that BDS now.”

Well, “BDS” sounds better to the modern ear than “boycott” or “blacklist.”

The Arab league spokesman confirmed that all data of the Arab League boycott and Arab League blacklist has now been transferred to BDS, which now works under the control of each PLO legation in more than 100 countries, under the supervision of the PLO Negotiations Department, which coordinates activities with the central offices of the Palestinian Authority.

That means that the PA now enjoys the best of all worlds. The PA imports 30 billion shekels a year of Israeli products, while the PLO helps the Arab League campaign to boycott Israeli products, using the new terminology of BDS.

BDS activists, mostly from campuses abroad, now make timely visits to the PA in Ramallah, where cash is allocated for an untold number of BDS activists to take cash home with them for the BDS activities

Since supervision of funds for Palestinian humanitarian services in the PA or UNRWA hardly exists, and since more than one nation provides cash for a Palestinian humanitarian services, that means that a cash surplus exists which PA can allocates for BDS activists to finance their operations.

It is easy to witness BDS hard at work in Jerusalem.

BDS activists from abroad meet at the American Colony Hotel on a regular basis with senior officials of the PA and return home to their campuses with bundles of cash in their pockets.

How can you fight the flow of finance to BDS?

Keep it simple. Ask each donor nation that funds Palestinian humanitarian services to make a reasonable requirement for transparency in funds that each nation allocates to the PA or to UNRWA.

All of a sudden, the BDS spigot may dry up, very quickly.

And then there is a diplomatic avenue. The PLO embassy in Washington, DC, which coordinates BDS activity in the US, was opened in May 1996 with the permission of the US government on the proviso that the PLO would cancel its charter to destroy Israel.

The PLO charter remains unchanged.

The non-cancellation of the PLO charter can now be invoked, to choke off the PLO office in DC, the fulcrum of support for the BDS.

Last but not least, the Israel Legal Forum has distributed copies of a strong anti-boycott law that was passed four years ago in Israel, which mandates that anyone or any organization that engages in advancing a boycott of Israel or Israeli firms can be arrested and tried for a felony, and, upon conviction, can serve ten years in prison and face fines that will put their organization out of business.

The time may be right to encourage Israel to prosecute those Israeli citizens and visitors in Israel who actively promote the BDS Arab boycott of Israel.

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