Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Boycott With A Twist

Filmmaker Ken Loach and some others have an article at CiF justifying their boycott of Israel. It doesn't look like a very compelling case to me, and I'm mostly linking for future use.

And also because of the cute coincidence that on the same day they published their screed, Haaretz tells of an Israeli research team which seems to have found an innovative new way to discover lung cancer cheaply and effortlessly at an earlier stage than heretofore possible. (Actually, the news item comes from Reuters, not Haaretz, which means The Guardian also had access to it. Heh). The discovery may yet save thousands of lives, and also reduce some costs of the healthcare system. Not the kind of claim one might make about, say, an artistic film.

So far, so banal. If you don't like Israel, you'll never let the facts confuse you. The funny part about the item is the name of the head of the Israeli research team. One Hossam Haik. I don't know the man, but it doesn't sound like a typical name from the shtetl to me. Hossam: now doesn't that have the ring of an.... Arab name?

Life can be so confusing. What's a poor filmmaker to do?


Anonymous said...

I love it. That sound you hear is Ken Loach's head popping from the cognotive dissonance torpedoeing his brain.


Anonymous said...

Loach is much less scrupulous when
the subject of his principles is his own pocket. He happily allows to play his films in Israel and conveniently forgets that the tax revenues are going to rich the government.

Aviv said...

Haik is a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and he is in charge of a lab at the Technion in Haifa.

Avigdor said...

Is the "Israel is a land of innovation", while true, really such a powerful point against BDS? It can be easily rebuffed by saying, "and Israel can go on being innovative just as soon as it complies with BDS demands".

BDS is a growing movement, but it is a lame movement. It is incredibly difficult, in this day and age, to pressure a people who control a territory into compromising core interests through economic sanctions. Look at Hamas, Iran, Syria, North Korea.

What is striking, to me, is that despite all the BDS talk, even the Arabs are strengthening trade relations with Israel, not to mention the Europeans, Americans, Indians, Chinese and others.

A relative of mine works at GE Medical Systems (GEMS), and their primary growth market (x-ray tubes, CAT scan machines, etc.) was in Arab countries. No one there asked or cared that many of GEMS components are developed by a GE subsidiary in Israel. You can't stop that spigot without serious upheaval.

Globalization has made economic boycott very difficult, and Israel is an integral part of the intellectual or manufacturing supply chain for too many companies in too many countries, representing serious interests with no time for games.

The same Israeli integration in the international markets that gives it protection from BDS also makes it vulnerable to a universal BDS, however.

Which is why I am always surprised that, even at a time of global recession, the Israeli economy continues to grow at 2.5% and new trade agreements are being signed with South Korea, Latin America, Africa, even the EU.

The BDS movement is growing, but it is being outpaced by far more powerful market forces, at least for now.

Yaacov, I wanted to get your take on Uri Avnery's article against universal BDS.