The Norwegian municipal workers union Fagforbundet is delighted to report on its success, together with Norwegian People’s Aid, in forcing Staples to stop selling Sodastream products, made in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The boycott of Sodastream is hailed as a big win by the global BDS movement, which re-tweeted the win:
Of course the anti-Sodastream campaign seems entirely focussed on the company’s presence in the occupied territories — and is therefore consistent with the view expressed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas which called for a boycott of settlement, but opposed a more general boycott of the Jewish state.
The BDS campaigners, however, make no such distinction.
The official Palestinian BDS website says that the movement “urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by: Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall; Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.”
In other words, by supporting BDS, some trade unions are aligning themselves with a call for the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees to Israel (something which Israel rejects and which in any event should be the subject of negotiation), and ending the occupation of “all Arab lands”, which again one would think should be the subject of negotiation between the parties.
There is another way.
The Geneva Initiative, for example, drafted a decade ago by Israeli and Palestinian moderates, did not foresee a return to the June 1967 borders, nor recognize the “right of return”. Nevertheless, former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat called the Geneva Initiative a “brave initiative that opens the door to peace”. The BDS campaigners reject that Initiative, and instead embrace Hamas’ vision of the end of the Jewish state, including its demands for an immediate withdrawal of Israel from occupied territories (without negotations) and the right of return of millions of refugees, their children and grand-children, which would mean a huge Arab majority in Israel and the end of the Jewish state.