Makers of low-budget movies have a simple trick to create a crowd scene without having to pay for extras. First, you find a parade taking place in a town near where you’re shooting. Second, you run to the front of the parade with your own signs and roll cameras. Thus did legendary schlock filmmeister Ray Dennis Steckler manage to end his classic Batman parody Ratphink and Boo Boo in a massive “Ratphink and Boo Boo Appreciation Day” celebration (complete with marching bands and floats).
I thought of this technique after reading recently about another divestment “victory” regarding Motorola selling off a unit which manufactured bomb fuses to an Israeli company. “We win again!!!” seem to be the distillation of headlines on countless divestment blogs and Web sites around the world, hailing this as one more victory (alongside Hampshire College) on BDS’s unstoppable march towards euphoric success over the hated Zionist oppressors!
Well with divestment’s Hampshire “triumph” (which didn’t involve Hampshire actually divesting from Israel, but did involve students pretending that they did) as backdrop, I decided to see what actually took place vis-à-vis Motorola by looking at less partisan sources, notably the business press. And according to the bland reports that usually accompany the sales of small businesses (the deal was essentially the sale of a tiny $20MM unit from Motorola to an Israeli defense corporation), “Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) abandoned the electronic fuses business a long time ago, and only Motorola Israel still kept the business, whose primary customer is Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI).”
In short, a multi-national corporation that had gotten out of a certain business segment years ago finally got around to selling the one remaining unit that still wanted to continue to sell to an established customer base (i.e., the Israeli military). So rather than shut it down, they sold it off to get some quick cash (albeit a rounding error for a company the size of Motorola). Eyelids getting heavy… Mind drifting… Must stay awake to finish this blog entry…
Oops, where was I? Oh yes! Now things are starting to fall into place. If you recall, a few weeks ago I wondered about a protest held at a Motorola retail shop in Harvard Square. Why had the divestment crew suddenly switched their obsession from Caterpillar Tractor (their favorite corporate whipping boy) to Motorola after all these years?
Now the answer is clear: as anyone with a modicum of business experience (and the interest in following the comings and goings in the defense and technology industries) could tell you, the sale of this division by Motorola was inevitable. So like the rooster who claims his crow makes the sun rise each morning, the BDS crowd has decided to run in front of this parade with their pitchforks and torches (even though it’s a sunny afternoon) and declare Motorola’s routine business transaction to have been the result of their three weeks of picketing cell phone stores (while bragging to each other on their own Motorola phones).
Does anyone have the heart to tell them that even a small transaction like this one still takes months to complete (meaning the wheels were set in motion while the BDSers were still obsessing on Caterpillar)? Or perhaps someone should ask the question of why Motorola providing Israel full ownership of the military technology the boycotters claim to be so Eeeeviiilllllll is somehow a victory for their cause?
Yet again we see a divestment movement that, unlike five years ago, has to continually create phantom victories to make up for the fact that they are so lacking in real ones. Remember that no university (including Hampshire College) has divested in Israel, or shows any interest in doing so. The churches gave divestment the heave ho years ago and show absolutely no interest of reviving an odious program that has caused them nothing but embarrassment. Academic boycotts are failing in the UK or reviled in the US. And companies (including Motorola) continue to do all kinds of business with Israel (including the business targeted by the divestment crew), even during a down economy.
Perhaps we should get into this game too and declare recent revenue losses by Israel’s neighbors are the result of a global boycott against the Arab oil producers for their apartheid policies towards women and religious minorities! Or that Jews should hide Matzah this Thursday to show their solidarity with Israel. Why should we have to deal with reality when Israel’s foes have so little use for the stuff? Maybe we can even declare that Hampshire’s divestment decision was taken in protest of the Muslim slaughter in Darfur (wait a minute, that’s actually true).
The only thing this latest bizarre chapter demonstrates is the Israel-haters’ ability to distribute untrue nonsense online relatively quickly in hope that they can convince people of a lie while the truth is still struggling to tie its shoes. Well guess what: the shoes are tied, and the foot is heading towards the feathered rear of a certain set of pretentious roosters full force.