The Board of Deputies has launched A Better Way than Boycotts – a document designed to highlight a more constructive way towards peace than the divisive and counter-productive boycott, divestment and sanctions proposed by some anti-Israel activists.
Polling has consistently shown that the majority of both Israelis and Palestinians favour a two-state solution, a view shared by the UK government, opposition parties and the majority of the British Jewish community. A Better Way than Boycotts shows how the Jewish community and wider UK society can best play their part in encouraging grassroots peace building.
The document also shows how BDS hurts some of the most constructive voices on the Israeli side as well as damaging the employment prospects of tens of thousands of Palestinians who work for Israeli companies.
It argues that rather than BDS, people of goodwill should engage in active peace-making – bringing Israelis and Palestinians together and empowering those in the region who are building bridges between the communities.
The BDS movement also takes aim at the relationship between Israel and the UK, which does little to further peace prospects in the region.
Board vice president Alex Brummer said that there has never been a more crucial time to get this message out: “In the aftermath of Israel’s democratic elections, unique among the countries of the region, I would expect the boycott campaign to gather fresh momentum. It is critically important that political and commercial organisations facing calls for BDS have an accurate narrative of the close cultural, economic and political interests that align Britain and Israel. In particular I would point to the growing importance of British-Israel trade – now up to £3 billion a year and growing exponentially. Any efforts to derail this relationship would be hugely discriminatory and must be resisted as strongly as possible.’
Board vice president Jonathan Arkush added that this was a real step forward in the fight against BDS. “The Board’s Better Way than Boycotts is one of the most significant publications produced by any community concerned to combat the insidious BDS campaign. It will be welcomed and used as a toolkit in fighting the boycotters not just in the UK but internationally. But it’s so much more than that, as it breaks new ground in putting forward the response of direct positive action to improve the lives of all the people living in the region, whether Israelis or Palestinians. Boycotts take the easy path of destroying and dividing. Building and bringing together is not easy, but it has to be the way forward. The Board takes pride in furthering the Jewish imperative of Tikun Olam – making the world a better place.
To read A Better Way than Boycotts follow this link https://www.bod.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/ABetterWayThanBoycotts.pdf