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Don't Discredit Israel and Its Goods; Instead, Do Work to Help Them Both
March has become a month when Israel's enemies are most visible, especially in academia and in the political arena. It is a period that includes two weeks of lie-filled, anti-Israel events on university campuses throughout the United States, Canada and the world.
Named "Israeli Apartheid Week," this offensive against Israel culminates on March 30 with a planned international boycott of all things Israel.
This "BDS campaign" stands for "Boycott, Divest, Sanction" -- three separate prongs of attack against Israel. These three combined are a deliberate, concentrated effort to isolate Israel, tarnish its world standing, discredit and hobble its people, and cause economic harm.
Those who love and support Israel have an opportunity to cancel out some of the boycotters' harm -- not only on their targeted day, but each and every day, by buying items from Israel. There are a host of available goods from Israel to enjoy. Some are readily available on grocery shelves while others take a little effort to find, but all are worth it not only for their taste and quality, but also to help Israelis (www.buyisraelgoods.org).
Israel's strong economy is important to the nation's overall health and status. Her enemies are all too aware of this and so attack it relentlessly. We can each do our part to neutralize some of their damage by spreading the word to others and encouraging them to "Buy Israel."
The boycott, divestment and sanctions instigators persistently spread false accusations against Israel -- claiming it is oppressing or harming Palestinian Arabs. Anti-Israel boycotters send letters to government officials, actors, musicians and authors labeling Israel an apartheid society that commits war crimes and steals "Palestinian" land.
These false claims harm Israelis of every profession. Many Israelis have been barred from international events open to others. Many performers have canceled their bookings in Israel because of anti-Israel inflammatory lies.
Anti-Israel boycotters lobby businesses not to carry Israeli items. In some stores, boycotters have gone in and pulled Israeli products off the shelves. In our area, at Trader Joe's in Center City and in the Fresh Grocer in West Philadelphia, they gave out leaflets to shoppers urging them not to buy anything from Israel.
These anti-Israel activists urge large banks and pension-fund managers to divest financially from Israel, not to buy Israel Bonds or make investments in Israeli companies. By claiming that Israel violates international laws, companies are told that investing there violates ethical business practices.
Then there are the attempts to sanction Israel, decrying actions taken in self-defense as deliberate aggression and "war crimes."
Boycotters are pushing to get the U.N.'s Security Council to implement sanctions against Israel and embargo important items. Their aim is to prevent Israel from acquiring necessary weapons and other goods -- to wreak enormous economic damage.
We cannot sit on the sidelines and let these anti-Israel activities go unopposed. We must check the Internet regularly to see who Israel's foes are targeting, and send e-mails or make calls to those firms, institutions, local governments or embassies and tell them not to divest or to implement sanctions. Our voices in support of Israel are counted, too.
Earlier this month, Philadelphia's Zionist Organization of America chapter hosted an event to introduce people to different wines and cheeses from Israel. This was part of an ongoing "Buy Israel" project that was first started in November 2009.
Organizations and individuals can host similar events or find other ways to promote the purchase of goods from Israel. Some refer to this as a "buycott" to fight the boycott.
Whenever you can, look for the Israeli label. It is the least we can do.
Roberta Dzubow, a vice president of the Greater Philadelphia District of the Zionist Organization of America, serves as chairwoman of its "Buy Israel" campaign.