Since these numbers need to be “scored” against some criterion, I’ve decided to abandon my usual critique of the BDS narrative and, in this instance, accept as a given their primary thesis: that economic activity related to Israel translates to political approval or disapproval. Now some people may say this is overly generous in that it allows them to continue to claim that purely economic decisions are actually fueled by partisan considerations. But if we accept (albeit temporarily) their founding principle on a micro level, then they must also be willing to be judged along the same criteria on a macro basis. And regarding that macro basis, here is Exhibit A:
Now no doubt some divestniks will cry foul and insist that their “movement” is concentrated outside of Israel and is based on getting individuals and organizations to stop buying Israeli goods or investing in Israeli companies (or in companies that in some way benefit Israel). In which case, the numbers that would be more relevant would be Israel exports, not GNP. While this information was harder to obtain based on a US dollar metric, the following table (based approximately on constant 2000 Israeli Sheckls) shows a trend similar to GDP growth:
In other words, Israeli exports are growing rapidly and fueling the hot Israeli economy that the boycotters have spent the better part of a decade working tirelessly to bring to its knees. And as far as divestment (i.e., stopping the flow of investment dollars into Israel) goes, as has been recently documented the European venture capital markets currently invest more in Israel than they do in any single European country. In other words, even in Europe (which has been the target of even more aggressive boycott and divestment activities than the US) the BDS formula that translates investment and divestment into political support indicates overwhelming enthusiasm for the Jewish state.
Now I suppose the divestment crew can always retreat to the unstated fact that the whole BDS enterprise is really a propaganda exercise, more concerned with getting their anti-Israel narrative made part of the public record within companies, schools, churches, unions and other institutions targeted by divestment activists. If that’s the case, the goal is BDS could be said to not be immediate economic punishment, but a gradual erosion of public support for Israel which may someday lead to effective boycotts, divestment programs or actual sanctions a la South Africa.
If that’s the case, the last numbers the BDS crew has to deal with are these ones:
It’s easy to get lost in the rhetoric of accusation and counter-accusation, claims of success and fraud, questioning of motives, etc. that so-much characterizes the debate over BDS. But when you simply look at the numbers, and take as granted the causal connection between economics and political support the boycotters insist we must do, it’s hard to find a movement that has been more counter-productive to its own aims than boycott, divestment and sanctions.
After a decade of tireless efforts on the part of champions in the cause of BDS, Israel has become more economically successful (wildly so), with exports from and investment in the Jewish state growing rapidly and showing no signs of slowing. And despite (or possibly because) of their non-stop attempts to insert the Arab-Israeli dispute into every civic institution in the land, general public support for Israel is today at an all-time high.
Which leaves we supporters of Israel with an interesting conundrum. Should we continue to fight against BDS or simply stand back and let a movement so successful in shooting itself in the foot continue to fuel the success of the Jewish state?