Buy blue and white – and orange

By
May 15, 2013 22:33

View From The Hills: Many pro- Israel hasbara (public diplomacy) organizations have gone on the offensive.

4 minute read.



Jimmy Carter during an interview in Kathmandu in April

Jimmy carter smiling from couch 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

With the launch of the international BDS movements (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) against Israeli businesses and companies by anti-Semites disguised as anti-Zionists in the mid 2000s, many pro- Israel hasbara (public diplomacy) organizations have gone on the offensive, encouraging consumers to counter the BDS’ers by “buying blue and white” – or in other words, products “made in Israel.”

The ongoing initiative to support Israeli breadwinners in the face of this displaced and unjustified campaign, which boils down to pure hatred of the Jewish state, should be applauded and supported by friends of Israel around the world. At the same time, the Israelis who are feeling the BDS wrath more than other populations in the country are the Jews of Judea and Samaria, who not only have to fight for their livelihoods, but have to defend the legitimacy of their existence time and time again.

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Take for example comments made this week by former US president Jimmy Carter encouraging the European Union to implement a law forcing products coming out of the so-called West Bank to be labeled as such, according to a report in The Irish Times.

As quoted by The Jerusalem Post, Carter said, “The EU has repeatedly condemned settlement expansion in the West Bank, it could therefore introduce a clear labeling of products made in Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.”

Carter’s true goal is obvious – to encourage European consumers to think twice before they purchase something produced in “occupied territory,” which would ultimately benefit the “settlers” living there. God forbid that a Jew living in Judea should be able to make a living.

Not only is Carter’s attack potentially damaging to Jews living in Judea and Samaria, but also to the Arabs living in these areas will suffer from his bullheadedness.

Take for example the Barkan Industrial Zone near Ariel, where according to Shomron liaison director David Ha’ivri near 3,500 Palestinian Authority Arabs are employed, representing around 50% of the work force there. Ha’ivri points out that just last week Italian MP Fiorello Provera, on a visit to Barkan, spoke out against labeling “settlement” products since those calling for such action simply lack information about the facts on the ground, and in reality will only hurt thousands of Arab families.

According to Ha’ivri, “The PA has received billions of dollars in international aid to form [a sustainable] economy for the Palestinians and have failed to do so.

The Jewish-owned factories provide income for those people.” Therefore, he asks, “Who is the boycott meant to punish?” So with all of these anti-settler shenanigans being implemented, the best response for those who understand the importance of the issue and recognize the legitimacy of Jews (along with Arabs) prospering in Judea and Samaria, is to make the extra effort to purchase “orange.”

Orange, of course, is the color synonymous with the plight of the residents of Gush Katif, who unfortunately were thrown out of their homes in 2005 by our own government, trying to appease the Carters of the world. As is clear now, this was a blunder of epic proportions. But the color orange over the years has become associated not only with Gush Katif, but Judea and Samaria as a whole.

The point is, it’s time to thwart the anti-settlers by deliberately utilizing services offered by and buying products manufactured specifically in Judea and Samaria.

Several initiatives are helping to further this cause.

Take for example the Dapei Katom (orange pages) Virtual Center of Yesha. Dapei Katom is a business directory for 2,000 small businesses and companies, allowing them to market their products and services to communities in Israel and all over the world.

Elisheva Blum, who runs Dapei Katom, says her group “creates the tools for both those living inside and outside of Judea and Samaria to support businesses there through their everyday lives.” She says that whether you are looking for a web designer, accountant, or want to purchase gifts for friends overseas, utilizing Dapei Katom “helps create and develop commerce on the ground” in Judea and Samaria.

Blum also notes that while the press may create the image that there is a large voice out there trying to marginalize products coming out of Judea and Samaria – she believes that the boycotters are actually a minority.

Ironically, she says that in some cases “many large companies with corporate headquarters in places like Tel Aviv, who want cheaper overhead, may open a factory in Judea/Samaria, so the boycotts aren’t harming the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, but rather corporate heads in Tel Aviv and the Arab laborers in Ramallah.”

Another new and unique initiative, which is in the developmental stages and slated to be up and running by 2014, is a “gift of the month program,” where people can purchase goods such as honey, perfumes, or clothing made by small businesses in Judea and Samaria and have them delivered to friends and family in the US.

Elie Pieprz, a new immigrant living in Gush Etzion, and creator of the soon-to-be-named project, is confident that those who want to make a difference in assisting small business owners in Judea and Samaria who are unjustly victimized will be highly responsive to this initiative.

Through these initiatives and others, it’s time to stand up and show support for the loyal, proud, army-serving residents of Judea and Samaria, who like Israelis in the rest of the country just want to be able to go to work every day to be able to put food on their table. So the next time you decide to buy blue and white, which you should, don’t forget to buy orange as well.

The writer is a media expert, freelance journalist, and host of Reality Bytes Radio, on www.israelnationalradio.com.


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