Las Vegas gaming tycoon and Israel Hayom proprietor Sheldon Adelson.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Last week, Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban convened a coalition in Las Vegas of more than 50 organizations to pioneer new strategies to identify and neutralize the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, the spreading effort to boycott Israel. “BDS” sounds better to the ear in the 21st century than “boycott” or “blacklist.”
The key decision reached at the conference was that there would be a concerted effort to curtail BDS, which is hardly an independent, grass roots movement.
Bdsmovement.net, the BDS website, makes it clear that BDS acts as a subsidiary of the Palestine Liberation Organization, working under the aegis of the Arab League boycott of Israel, an economic war waged against Israel ever since it came into being in 1948.
The Arab League confirms that all data from the Arab League boycott and Arab League blacklist has now been transferred to BDS, which works under the control PLO legations in more than 100 countries, that coordinate their activities with the central offices of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and in Jerusalem.
BDS activists, from campuses around the world, now make timely visits to the PA offices in Ramallah, where cash is allocated for an untold number of activists to take cash home with them for BDS activities.
Since supervision of international relief efforts for Palestinian humanitarian services in the PA or UNRWA hardly exists, a cash surplus exists which the PA allocates for BDS activists.
One of the challenges of the anti-BDS movement will be to close that spigot of campus funds from Ramallah, with the understanding that if each donor nation that funds Palestinian humanitarian services – beginning with the US – were to demand transparency in funding, funds would not be siphoned to “other purposes.”
If that transparency existed, the BDS spigot could dry up.
And then there is a diplomatic avenue.
The PLO embassy in Washington, DC, which coordinates BDS activity in the US, was opened in May 1996, with the permission of the US government, on the proviso that the PLO would cancel its charter to destroy Israel.
The PLO charter remains unchanged.
The anti-BDS activists can now be expected to invoke the non-cancellation of the PLO charter to choke off the PLO office in DC, the fulcrum of support for the BDS.
Last but not least, the Israel Legal Forum has distributed copies of a strong anti-boycott law that was enacted four years ago in Israel. This law mandates that anyone or any organization that engages in advancing a boycott of Israel or Israeli firms can be sued for damages.
Following the energy of the Las Vegas conclave, one can expect a spurt of unprecedented legal cases in which the Israeli government and Israeli citizens will take action against those who promote BDS, the new Arab boycott of Israel.