Corporations divest from Israel; Israel allocates 100 million NIS to fight “delegitimization.”
On January 5th, the telecommunication giant Orange submitted a press release confirming that it will end its franchise relationship with the Israeli company Partner Communications.
The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) National Committee quoted Guman Mussa, a campaign officer for BDS, saying: “This news is a significant success for the BDS movement and shows that international companies and investors are waking up to the fact that being linked to Israel’s regime of colonization, occupation and apartheid is bad for business.”
Orange’s divestment from Partner Communications came after BDS activists, primarily in Egypt and France, campaigned Orange for 6 years to dissolve the franchise relationship.
BDS is a global movement that aims to level boycotts, divestments, and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinians’ rights.
Then, on January 11th, after 10 years of campaigning by BDS activists in Ireland, the Irish building materials corporation CRH became the second major European corporation to exit the Israeli market.
CRH sold its investments in Nesher Cement, an Israeli company that supplies cement for the separation barrier and Israeli settlements.
The Israeli government is increasingly recognizing the BDS movement as a key player in pressuring Israel to end its occupation.
After all, this year, for the first time, the Israeli government appointed a single government office to organize anti-BDS efforts.
Now, the Strategic Affairs Ministry is the hub of government efforts to combat “delegitimization,” or BDS.
The government gave the head of the ministry, Gilad Erdan, 100 million shekels for 2016 to kickstart the anti-BDS offices.
Erdan revealed a bit of his strategy to combat BDS at a packed conference on January 6th, organized by the Knesset Caucus to Battle Delegitimization.
There, Erdan called for a network “built of [nongovernmental] organizations and other bodies, like the Knesset” to put BDS on the defensive and improve Israel’s international public image.