January 18, 2010
Imagine for one moment that the nasty Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) supported by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and all of its supporters was a success. Israeli industry would be on the verge of bankruptcy and all of the innovations and inventions that are constantly discovered by Israeli scientists would not be discovered for lack of funding and investment.
Like, for example, the Camera in a Pill that travels through the digestive tract sending back photographs of the intestines in someone's body. There is now no need to use cables that are passed into the digestive system through the nose or mouth and which would normally require a patient to be sedated. Patients can now carry on their normal lives while a diagnosis of their condition can take place. All they need do is swallow the "Camera Pill" which is then excreted out after the 24 to 48 hours that the pill takes to go through the digestive system.
You only have to glance briefly at www.israel21c.org to see the range of innovations produced by Israeli scientists that seek to improve people's lives. The many innovations include using music therapy to help deaf and hearing-impaired toddlers, developing alternative energy sources such as solar and hydro power and an Iphone App for finding free Parking in New York.
Yet, a successful boycott, particularly an academic boycott, would stop all this develepment in its tracks. One of the main aims of the sanctions is to "cut off trade and investments". If an academic boycott succeeded then Israeli scientists would not be able to consult with international scientists over crucial developments.
And then there is Haiti. It could not have escaped anyone's notice that the reports on Sky and the BBC have focused mainly on the Israeli rescue team. The pictures and footage coming from this tragedy are too much to bear but Israel is doing its best to save those buried under the buildings and still just about alive.
As soon as the quake struck last tuesday Israel prepared to dispatch a 220 man team on two El Al planes. The entourage brought with them a field hospital that can serve 500 patients a day and includes 40 doctors, 25 nurses, a children's ward and an intensive care unit.
Sanctions would have seriously reduced the effectiveness of Israel's ability to save these lives. The rescue mission should impress on the Palestinians that Israel would go anywhere in the world to improve conditions and health, even as far as Gaza!
The Israeli, British and all the teams are heroes for putting their lives at risk by going into terribly insecure buildings which could collapse any moment especially if the expected aftershocks occur.
Even the church has not been immune from the ignorance. It recently divested from Caterpillar on the basis that Israel uses its bulldozes to demolish illegal Palestinian homes. The church made a recent ineffectual gesture by dumping its shares in Caterpillar even though Caterpillar could now be playing a crucial role in helping Israel's rescue mission by using its equipment to move swathes of rubble to get to the dead and dying.
But even as Israel does good the anti-Israel brigade will again attempt stir up an audience against Israel. In London tomorrow night (tuesday) there is an anti-Israel meeting. It is at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square from 7pm till 9pm.
You would hope that for one night the whole event could be turned into a "Help Haiti" evening. The hostilities against Israel could be resumed once every thing has been done to rescue Haitians.
The combined passion, intelligence and power of these people could be used to such positve effect, instead it will be wasted as Israel once again becomes the target.