But having gotten that silent moment out of the way, it’s time to praise this remarkable piece of research by the UK groups Lawyers for Israel and Christian Middle East Watch which helps put endless claims of victory by BDS supporters campaigning against the French transportation and engineering firm Veolia into the proper context.
And what is that context? Well, as we’ve noted before, Veolia has become the latest punching bag (along with Ahava and Soda Stream) of Israel haters endlessly searching for victory stories they can pump into a pipeline they have created for communicating with supporters about BDS momentum and triumph.
But, as Divest This readers know, such victories have been so thin on the ground (and, when they exist, so trivial and irrelevant), that BDSers need to apply a little creativity to generate fake victory stories that tend to not come about all that often here in reality (despite a dozen years of intense effort on the part of the boycotters).
A trend we’ve seen again and again in the financial world involves BDS press releases claiming that normal financial decisions were actually the result of anti-Israel lobbying. This is similar to the hoax that re-awakened the BDS “movement” in 2009 in which Students for Justice in Palestine claimed that investment decisions at Hampshire College that explicitly had nothing to do with Israel were dressed up as divestment victories.
In the case of Veolia, you’ve got a company which contracts with numerous municipalities around the world. And since these municipalities normally allow for public input into decision making, this has given the boycotters an opening to put the company on trial for “supporting ‘The Occupation’” due to their limited involvement in a light railway project linking Jerusalem and certain areas that are under dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.
When this tactic has been tried in the US (as it was in California recently) the result has tended to be a firm and certain “No” to requests that municipalities make decisions based on the political whims of a shrill minority.
But in Europe, they have gotten around the problem of having to win an argument by simply attacking Veolia within any city or town it is doing business, and then claiming victory whenever the company loses a contract.
They seem to be counting on the public not understanding the fact that any company will win a few and lose a few in the game of government contracting. And their hope seems to be that this public will buy into the BDSers post-hoc fallacy that since the boycotters complained to a government organization before Veolia lost a contract, that their protests much be the cause of such losses.
Fortunately, the aforementioned report provides a case-by-case breakdown of each and every instance where BDSers claimed success in a municipal boycott of Veolia, providing that in each case decision-makers made their choices based on normal business factors, not political ones (about Israel or anyone else).
We’ve seen in the last week how the forces of BDS cannot seem to shake themselves of the habit of sneaking behind people’s backs and subverting democracy in order to claim even a marginal success. But with the Veolia report, we can now combine their contempt for others with that other fine feature of the boycott “movement:” that they’re a bunch of liars as well.