Readers' Blog: BDS will have no effect on the Israeli economy

What effect do the members of your parliament think a vote in favour of BDS of goods produced in Judea and Samaria will have on Israel? Will it hurt Israel’s economy?

No. Will it persuade Israel to change its policies vis à vis the Palestinians? No. Will it make the members of your parliament feel good about themselves? Probably. So in essence, this is simply the political equivalent of masturbation.

The real effect, if this were enacted, could be unemployment for Palestinians who depend on Israeli companies for jobs because the Palestinian Authority — despite billions in international aid funds — has failed dismally to create economic opportunities within Area A which is solely under its administrative control. It prefers to spend this money on stipends for convicted terrorists and the families of terrorists killed in action; and let’s not forget the new $50, private jet plane and $20m retirement palace for President Mahmoud Abbas as well as further contributions to his bank account and those of his cronies. All Israel’s offers to help develop the economy in Area A have been rejected.

Thousands of Palestinians rely on businesses in Israel and within Area C for employment. But they are not treated as cheap labour: Under Israeli law, they receive exactly the same salaries, health benefits, and holiday entitlement as their Israeli colleagues. On average their income is four times that which they could receive if working for a company in the PA-administered Area A, and these higher salaries have a knock-on effect on the communities in which they live because they have more money to spend.

Of course they do have to suffer the inconvenience of security checks when they pass from Area A into Israel or Area C because of the constant threat of terrorism, but we all have to put up with these at airports for the self-same reason: We even had to go through an airport-style security check when we went to see Paul Simon at a major venue last night.

The decision to implement — probably selectively — BDS on products from Judea and Samaria will have absolutely no effect whatsoever on Israel’s economy or politics. But let the members of your parliament go ahead and enjoy their five minutes of moral superiority. Don’t worry about those who might suffer because of it. That won’t affect the Irish. Someone else will pick up the pieces.

Clive Hyman



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