Presidential frontrunner seeks to bolster her pro-Israel credentials with a promise to lobby groups to fight back against attempts to isolate the Jewish state
Hillary Clinton has condemned the BDS movement in a letter to longtime supporter and Hollywood mogul Haim Saban and dozens of other Jewish leaders.
Clinton, the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic party presidential nomination, wrote to Saban to ask for his advice on “how leaders and communities across America can work together to counter BDS”. She expressed the opinion that BDS “seeks to punish Israel and dictate how Israelis and Palestinians should resolve the core issues of their conflict”.
The Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement, spearheaded by Palestinian advocacy groups who claim Israel is similar to apartheid South Africa, seeks to boycott companies which do business in the State of Israel and encourages organizations and institutions to divest from the country until Israel ends what they call “its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands”.
In the letter dated 2 July, Clinton said “the BDS campaign is counterproductive to the pursuit of peace and harmful to Israelis and Palestinians alike” and pledged to mount a bipartisan effort “to fight back against further attempts to isolate and delegitimize Israel”.
Read more: Hillary Clinton condemns anti-Israel boycotts as 'counter-productive'
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Israel dropped by almost 50% last year in comparison to the year before as the country continues to feel the effects of last summer's Gaza conflict, a new UN report has revealed.
The report, published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), shows that only €5.7bn was invested into the country in 2014 in comparison with €10.5bn in 2013, a decrease of €4.8bn, or 46%. Israel's FDI in other countries also decreased by 15%, from €4.2bn in 2013 to €3.5bn last year.
Dr Ronny Manos, one of the report's authors and a researcher in the department of Management and Economics at the Open University of Israel, said that the decline was primarily caused by the fallout from the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Operation Protective Edge and international boycotts against the country for alleged violations of international law.
"We believe that what led to the drop in investment in Israel are Operation Protective Edge and the boycotts Israel is facing," she told Israeli news outlet Ynet News.
We, the undersigned organizations, commend Oregon’s U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer for asking House Speaker John Boehner to cancel an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Rep. Blumenauer has stated that if the speech is not cancelled, he will refuse to attend. We implore all the members of Congress from Oregon to follow his example.
Our objections to the Netanyahu invitation go beyond the fact that: a.) This invitation is a breach of protocol, b.) It is a stunt timed just prior to a very close Israeli election and c.) It is an attempt by the Republican-controlled Congress to embarrass President Barack Obama.
The most serious objection to the invitation is that Netanyahu is attempting to scuttle negotiations between the United States and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program by urging Congress to impose additional sanctions on Iran. As Rep. Blumenauer states, the only solution in the best interests of all countries is a negotiated settlement. Why would Mr. Netanyahu be invited to thwart that effort? World leaders also recognize the danger of his address as interference with the diplomatic process and are also imploring that he not interfere.
Additional sanctions risk an end to the diplomatic path and an increase in tensions between our country and Iran that may lead to war. As a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Iran is under routine inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has never documented any evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. Iran has called for the Middle East to be a nuclear weapons-free zone. In contrast, Israel has never signed the Nonproliferation Treaty and is known to possess nuclear weapons.
Inviting Netanyahu to address Congress is also reprehensible in view of Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza this past summer. Three respected human rights organizations—Amnesty International and the Israeli human rights groups B’Tselem and Physicians for Human Rights—have issued reports finding Israel guilty of committing war crimes by deliberately targeting civilians during its 51-day bombardment. Under Netanyahu’s government, Israel has continued unfettered settlement expansion and land confiscation, making a viable Palestinian state impossible. It continues to imprison Palestinians by using administrative detention laws that lack due process. It is unconscionable to invite a leader with such a dismal human rights record to address the U.S. Congress.
In short, Netanyahu’s speech is not in the best interests of the United States or of world peace. We, the undersigned, urge you to boycott the speech and speak out in opposition to any leader of a foreign nation seeking to intervene in the making of U.S. foreign policy.
Americans United for Palestinian
Human Rights, Corvallis/Albany Friends of Middle East Peace, Friends of Sabeel North America, Individuals for Justice, Jewish
Voice for Peace-Portland Chapter, Lutherans
for Justice in the Holy Land, Mission of the Atonement Holy Land Ministry, Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group, Oregon
Fellowship of Reconciliation, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Tree of Life Educational Fund-
West Coast, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Corvallis chapter), Veterans for Peace Chapter 72 and Linus Pauling Chapter.
The manufacturer of home carbonation systems, which has been the target of anti-Israel boycotts, was accused of misrepresentation in the U.S. state of Oregon.
SodaStream, the Israeli manufacturer of home carbonation systems, has changed its product labeling to “Made in the West Bank” following complaints by human rights activists in the Unites States.
The company's main production facility is in the industrial zone of Ma'aleh Adumim, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, where it employs Palestinian workers.
The facility's location has made SodaStream a target of the global anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and put the company at odds with European policies blocking the import of products made in West Bank settlements.
In May 2014, a coalition of human rights activists in the U.S. state of Oregon complained to the Oregon Department of Justice that the company was violating the state's Fair Trade Practices Act by labeling its products as “Made in Israel.”
The complaint was forwarded to SodaStream, which replied by saying that the labels would be changed to "Made in the West Bank" with immediate effect. The new labels have now begun appearing on SodaStream boxes in Oregon retail outlets, according to the International Middle East Media Center.
Oregon’s Fair Trade Practices Act is a consumer protection law that makes false representations and false advertising of a consumer product illegal. The Act also holds retail stores responsible if they knowingly sell a product that is “misrepresented.”
The coalition has also filed an official complaint with the U.S. Customs & Border Control Agency, on the grounds that the false labeling also violates U.S. Customs regulations. That complaint, filed in November 2014, is presently under investigation.
“This appears to be the first time that an Israeli settlement manufacturer has corrected its labels for products sold in the United States,” said activist Rod Such of the PDX Boycott Occupation Soda! Coalition based in Portland, Oregon.
"Many people of conscience refuse to purchase products made in Israel's illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, but in the case of SodaStream they were deceived by false labeling that claimed the products were produced within Israel’s internationally recognized borders.”
SodaStream announced last October that it would be closing its Ma'aleh Adumim plant in 2015 as part of a plan to boost growth.
“We are working with the Israeli government to secure work permits for our Palestinian employees,” CEO Daniel Birnbaum said.
SodaStream's revenues and profit have plummeted recently due to weak sales of its home soda machines in the U.S. The drop has been attributed to a move among American consumers to healthier drinks, such as juices and teas.
I MUST start with a shocking confession: I am not afraid of the Iranian nuclear bomb.
I know that this makes me an abnormal person, almost a freak.
But what can I do? I am unable to work up fear, like a real Israeli. Try as I may, the Iranian bomb does not make me hysterical.
Read more: Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Bomb?
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