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:
Pls provide us with the Tel/Mob to call you to clarify the issue
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.