$6 million dollars: enough to combat a largely grassroots, bottom-up and growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel? That’s what the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs are hoping.
The Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs are launching a multimillion-dollar joint initiative to combat anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns.
The JFNA and the rest of the Jewish federation system have agreed to invest $6 million over the next three years in the new initiative, which is being called the Israel Action Network. The federations will be working in conjunction with JCPA, an umbrella organization bringing together local Jewish community relations councils across North America.
The BDS movement–whose demands are based on international law–is clearly scaring Israel and the Jewish establishment, who have labeled the movement “the second most dangerous threat to Israel, after Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
The article also reports that the new anti-BDS initiative sprung from the urging of the Israeli government, which “has been advocating for this, especially over the past six months or eight months,” as Jerry Silverman, the head of the Jewish Federation of North America, told JTA.
It appears that the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs are following the recommendations of the Reut Institute, an Israeli think tank with close ties to the Israeli government, who called on the Israeli government to “sabotage” and “attack” the BDS movement in a February 2010 report.
The investment of a large amount of money to combat what is essentially impossible to combat as long as Israel continually flouts international law is a recognition of the powerful effect the BDS movement is having. Members of the Israeli Knesset certainly see BDS as a threat, having introduced a bill that would make it illegal for Israelis to “launch or incite” a boycott against Israel.
When $6 million is apparently needed to attempt to halt the BDS movement, that means something. But all the money in the world can’t stop the movement for Palestinian justice. Couldn’t someone tell that to the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs? Their money would be better spent on something else.