"Only Connect" - Howard's End, E.M. Forster - B.T. , Bezeq and BDS.

By Isca Stieglitz
January 18, 2011

Here is some lovely heartening news, (from a couple of months ago), and another example of why I don't support 'Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions'(BDS) in helping to resolve the Israel-Palestine(I-P) conflict. BDS may have a role in many situations, but, on the whole, I don't support it as a remedy. I have come to this conclusion from my personal experience in I-P and as a participant in the "Anti Apartheid Movement".

Identities have been changed and privacy preserved at their request, for obvious reasons. A handful of British based colleagues have seen the original exchange.

The latest BDS angle is to disconnect from and/or protest against BT because of their dealings with Bezeq, Israel. The fact that Bezeq and other Israeli telecommunications companies have business relations with PalTel and many more mid-east telecoms companies is quickly dismissed as an ‘under-duress-relationship’.

I couldn’t stomach anymore non-horse's mouth propaganda so I contacted a colleague, who works for a major middle east telecommunications company, directly and had a good exchange of e-mails with **** and was then put in touch with *** , see below:

"Dear Jessica;
Pls provide us with the Tel/Mob to call you to clarify the issue
hereunder ..
Best Regard

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail"

*** called me from *** . I told *** about the the BT protest situation and I how I was worried if any divestment could affect other mid-east telecoms. companies. *** talked at length about the interconnectedness of all their business relations and how they help broker between Israel and other Arab based telecommunications companies.

*** said they have good relations with all their international companies and that includes all Israeli tele-businesses, not just Bezeq.

To paraphrase - business is business and I expressed my happiness at hearing how 'peaceful' their approach was. *** asked about my time in Israel-Palestine and we talked about the weather! Our snow and their lack of water.

I told *** about our work here of trying to promote good business and working relations as positive way to peace and how this can help prevent conflict. *** said business tends to cut through conflict and high emotions and *** simply has to run the business as best as *** can for the benefit of everybody - that kind of sentiment anyway. If people's standard of living and life are improved then there is less likely to be conflict. I hope I have paraphrased the intended gist.

We talked about political policy on both sides and I expressed how magnanimous *** is in pursuing what must sometimes be a difficult relationship with Israel and yet *** seemed to think it was more a matter of concentrating on what is good and profitable about their business relations.

I'm sure *** is a businessperson and pragmatist through and through, but it works and I did get a feeling that *** cares about it.

We wished each other, our loved ones, friends and the wider communities wellness and happiness.

*** encouraged me to contact if I ever need to and we have an invitation to visit their office if we are ever in the area! Business-schmizzness and boy does it work sometimes.

Real people, real lives, real conversations, real progress.



Tue, 01/18/2011 - 18:26

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Thanks Isca, I've always thought that trade is an excellent path to peace. Organisations that attempt to disrupt trade between Israel and other countries use "peace" as a cover for attacks against Israel.

PS your petition now has 73,000 signatures - and counting!

Isca Stieglitz

Wed, 01/19/2011 - 08:54

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Cheers, my experience in Israel was sometimes fraught, but on the whole I found and continue to support a growing number of projects and businesses.

The petition result is amazing, given that it was only forwarded to me a relatively short while ago and it is a smallish niche petition.

I was forwarded this site, in case you don't know about it: http://www.commongroundnews.org/index.php?lan=en


Thu, 01/20/2011 - 14:27

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I didn't know about it and I'll check it out - thanks!


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