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SARAH IDAN: Don’t Buy Into The Anti-Israel Movement’s Pack Of Lies


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Sarah Idan Contributor
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As a survivor of a modern Middle Eastern expulsion, I know perfectly well what the forces of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) are up to. They mean what they say when they announce their wish to completely destroy Israel. There are places in the region where real, positive change is happening.

Israel has signed peace agreements and opened robust diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Bahrain. Sudan is to follow with a formal peace agreement this year. And then there are the other places, the ones moving backward. (RELATED: IDAN: Israel’s Elections Celebrate The Greatest Cause Of All — Freedom)

My native Iraq is one, with its announcement of a barbaric law that makes it a capital offense — subject to the death penalty — for Iraqis to communicate with Israelis in any way. And there is the Palestinian Authority (PA), the corrupt Palestinian governing entity which has gotten in bed with BDS and called for the “dismantling” of Israel.

As a massive BDS conference heads to Los Angeles Feb. 17th-20th under the leadership of the dishonestly-named Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), it’s important for Americans to understand the anti-Palestinian and anti-democratic agenda they really stand for.

When the Palestinian government engages in economic warfare with its primary trade partner Israel, catastrophe for the Palestinian people results. In the words of Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, BDS “hurt[s] Palestinian workers who will lose their jobs if economic sanctions are directed against firms that employ them.”

The disparate impact of the effects of BDS is dramatically to the disadvantage of the Palestinian people. Forbes Magazine columnist Carrie Sheffield noted that “[i]n 2012, Israeli sales to the Palestinian Authority were $4.3 billion, about 5% of Israeli exports (excluding diamonds) less than 2% of Israeli GDP… In 2012, Palestinian sales to Israel accounted for about 81% of Palestinian exports and less than a percentage point of Israeli GDP. Palestinian purchases from Israel were two-thirds of total Palestinian imports.” Israel gainfully employs about 110,000 Palestinian workers and has built 16 industrial parks in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, hosting 1,000 facilities where Jews and Arabs work together side-by-side.

In 2015, after a great deal of pressure from BDS, the famous Israeli sparkling water maker SodaStream closed down its West Bank factory and moved its operations to the Negev Desert in the south of Israel; after the move, 1,500 Palestinians lost their jobs. Ben and Jerry’s last year waged a failed legal campaign to attempt to force its longtime Israel franchisee Avi Zinger to end operations in the West Bank, where he employs Palestinian workers and where the frozen treats he produces are popular in Palestinian supermarkets.

As Palestinian human rights activist Bassem Eid has poignantly written, “the BDS movement in its determination to oppose Israel is prepared to fight to the last drop of Palestinian blood. As a Palestinian who actually lives in east Jerusalem and hopes to build a better life for his family and his community, this is the kind of “pro-Palestinian activism” we could well do without.”

How can we understand a society that pursues such upside-down goals for its people? Like North Korea or Cuba, the PA-ruled West Bank is a broken society where all the rules are upside down. This is a society where the families of terrorists — including the killers of Americans like the young Afghanistan and Iraq veteran Taylor Force of Lubbock, Texas — are awarded huge stipends from the government itself that far exceed the average Palestinian monthly salary.

The Council of Foreign Relations has exposed that the total annual amount for Palestinian salaries for the ranks of major general, brigadier general, colonel and lieutenant colonel in 2016 reached over $66 million per year (USD), equivalent to the yearly salary of 13,000 Palestinian soldiers, although the total number of officers in the ranks is only 5,672. This is a society so dominated by corruption that even though the economy subsists largely on foreign aid, former PA Chairman Yasser Arafat reportedly died with a massive net worth of $1.3 billion (USD).

Those who seek peace in the Middle East should look to the changemakers of the next generation. Real Palestinian human rights activists have remained focused on the deeply corrupt autocracy around PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, currently serving the 19th year of his original four-year term after suspending both the Palestinian Legislature and Constitution, as well as years of elections.

The gaggle descending on Los Angeles this month, with their desire to destroy and expel their “enemies,” must represent the past and not the future. To ensure that outcome, Americans must not buy into BDS’s pack of lies. BDS is simply BS.

Sarah Idan is a secular Muslim who represented Iraq in the 2017 Miss Universe pageant. After posting an Instagram photo of herself and Ms. Israel during the pageant, she received a torrent of death threats. She and her family were forced to flee Iraq, and since then has spoken out on Middle East policy.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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