As noted in the last entry, the BDSer (Jew or Gentile) is first and foremost a fantasist. In addition to creating a fantasy world which they share with fellow Israel-haters, one in which they are an intrepid, glorious vanguard with unique insight as to how the world really works, they also hope to bring their fantasy of a world with Israel suffering the punishment of a pariah into being by sheer force of their will.
This is why they rush headlong into the next BDS battle, even with a decade of defeat in their wake. This is why appeals to reason or questions regarding morality of a “movement” that blesses itself with the mantle of human rights (despite being allied with the greatest human rights abusers on the planet) fall on deaf ears. Simply put, here on Earth arguments for and again BDS can be judged on their own merits. But the fantasyland of BDS plays by an entirely different set of rules unknowable by the uninitiated.
Which is why we here in this dimension owe it to ourselves to check in with reality every now and then, if only to reassure ourselves of the distance between the world the divestniks demand we believe in and the world in which we actually dwell.
As previously described, during the ten years when BDS has been in the ascendant as the tactic of choice for the “Israel-is-Always-to-Blame” crowd, the Israeli economy and exports have nearly doubled and support for Israel within the United States has skyrocketed. And despite claims that their efforts are increasingly leading to Israel’s cultural and academic isolation, the list of artists and academics defying boycott calls to perform in Israel or work with Israeli colleagues just grows longer and longer.
A 60,000 pound dose of reality hit the newswires yesterday when Israel was admitted into the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a group of 30+ countries that represent the world’s most advanced economies. The organization is committed to working together to advanced global growth and prosperity through cooperation, transparency and the sharing of economic and other resources. Prime Minister Netenyahu’s speech declaring the significance of joining this organization can be found here.
The choice to let Israel join the group was unanimous, despite calls by every one of the usual suspects to not admit Israel due to their perception of the political reality on the ground in the Middle East. Which begs the question I’ve asked before: if a rejection of Israel’s bid to join OECD would have been portrayed as a humiliating political loss for the Jewish state, isn’t it fair to characterize Israel’s success as a global stamp of approval?
But of course, we who dwell in the real world understand that you can have countries that are economic successes (even ones that have internal problems of wealth distribution and conflicts with neighbors) that still possess enough merit to warrant investment, political support of membership in a group like the OECD.
The measurement tool I try to use when balancing these various factors is the accountants ledger where assets are listed on one side, and liabilities on the other. In Israel’s case, the asset column would be filled with things like an industrious people, success in assimilating immigrants, an ability to make dramatic changes in fiscal policies, a choice to engage in peace politics (despite the hazards), etc. And in the liability column, you’d have remnant statism, a precarious security situation, and a society where unequal distribution of wealth can and has led to social unrest.
I could go on and on in this vein, and also create a similar ledger for Israel’s most militant foes with little on the assets side to balance out liabilities like totalitarian government, institutionalized hatred of minorities, clan-based corrupt economies and militant foreign policies that inevitably create needless conflict.
The ascension of Israel in the club of the world’s best run economies is symbolic in that it reflects the will of a certain segment of global thought leadership, the segment that deals with dollars and cents (i.e., the one that is forced to hue to reality as much as possible). After all, many of us hold political position and spiritual beliefs, but at the end of the day our choices regarding where to invest our own money tend to be made on the basis of reason. Similarly, European governments may huff and puff about this or that Israeli inequity, but at the end of their days investment dollars flow freely into the Jewish state, reflecting more confidence in the Jewish nation than in the economies of their own continent.
BDS sits squarely outside this reality. No ledger sheet for them: just fairy tales featuring Israeli witches and Palestinian virgins. And thus a Danish retirement fund selling off a few thousand shares of Israeli stock or a meeting at Berkeley where hundreds of students rail in impotent rage against the world’s only Jewish state (the Jew among the nations) has more resonance for them than an Israeli economy entering the second decade of the 21st century stronger than ever, and acting as a model for the rest of the world.