Reprinted from Avnery News
For years now, Netanyahu has built his career on fear of the Iranian Nuclear Bomb. The Iranians are crazy people. Once they have the Bomb, they will drop it on Israel, even if Israel's nuclear second strike will certainly annihilate Iran with its thousands of years of civilization.
But Netanyahu saw with growing anxiety that the Iranian threat was losing its edge. The US, so it seems, is about to reach an agreement with Iran, which will prevent it from achieving the Bomb. Even Sheldon the Great cannot prevent the agreement. What to do?
Looking around, three letters popped up: BDS. They denote Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, a worldwide campaign to boycott Israel because of its 48-year-old subjugation of the Palestinian people.
Ah, here we have a real threat, worse than the Bomb. A second Holocaust is looming. Brave little Israel facing the entire evil, anti-Semitic world.
True, until now Israel has suffered no real damage. BDS is more about gestures than about real economic weapons. But who is counting? The legions of anti-Semites are on the march.
Who will save us? Bibi the Great, of course!
HONEST DISCLOSURE: my friends and I initiated the first boycott, which was directed at the products of the settlements.
Our peace movement, Gush Shalom, was deliberating how to stop the spread of the settlements, each of which is a land mine on the road to peace. The main reason for setting up settlements is to prevent the two-state solution -- the only peace solution there is.
Our investigators made a Grand Tour of the settlements and registered the enterprises which were lured by government enticements to set up shop beyond the Green Line. We published the list and encouraged customers to abstain from buying these products.
A boycott is a democratic instrument of protest. It is non-violent. Every person can exercise it privately, without joining any group or exhibiting himself or herself in public.
Our main aim was to get the Israeli public to distinguish clearly between Israel proper and the settlements in the occupied territories.
In March 1997 we held a press conference to announce the campaign. It was a unique event. I have held press conference which were overflowing with journalists -- for example, after my first meeting with Yasser Arafat in besieged West Beirut. I have held press conferences with sparse attendance. But this one was really special: not a single Israeli journalist turned up.
Still, the idea spread. I don't know how many thousand Israelis are boycotting the products of the settlements right now.
However, we were upset by the attitude of the European Union authorities, which denounced the settlements while in practice subsidizing their products with customs exemptions like real Israeli wares. My colleagues and I went to Brussels to protest, but were told by polite bureaucrats that Germany and others were obstructing any step toward a settlement boycott.