Jason Rembrandt, rembrajn@muohio.edu

Across the nation, college student groups are engaging in destructive discourse in the form of the Israeli boycott and divestment campaigns. These campaigns seek to hurt Israel’s public image and economic power by prompting corporations to avoid investing in Israel in any way and by prompting individuals to boycott Israeli products and companies who support, invest in or do business with Israel. In reality, these campaigns are wildly unsuccessful; during this past decade, when the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has been most active, both Israel’s Gross National Product and its exports have almost doubled.

In addition, European venture capital markets invest more in Israel than in any European state. Obviously, Israel has not been financially affected by these campaigns, as major corporations have not fallen victim to the whims of destruction-seeking activists. Regardless of BDS failures, the movement is becoming very popular amongst college students across America.

I, for one, am glad that Miami University has not played host to any major BDS campaigns and that we are willing to work for peace in much more productive ways. But, in case BDS does begin to take hold at Miami, here is a quick look at some of the companies that are heavily invested in Israel and BDS attempts to convince others to blacklist in order to make their political statement.

Starbucks:

The Chairman and CEO, Howard Schultz, is an active supporter of Israel. In 1998, he was honored by the Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah with ‘The Israel 50th Anniversary Friend of Zion Tribute Award’ for his services to the Zionist state in playing a key role in promoting close alliance between the United States and Israel.

The Limited Stores, Express, Lerner New York, Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works.

Their founder, president and CEO, Les Wexner, is a supporter of Israel. In 1984, Wexner, who is one of the world’s 200 wealthiest people, created the Wexner Foundation, an organization whose mission statement includes “strengthening Jewish Leadership in North America and Israel.”

Coca-Cola Company:

From 1966 onward, Coca-Cola has been a staunch supporter of Israel. In 1997 the Government of Israel Economic Mission honored Coca-Cola at the Israel Trade Award Dinner for its continued support of Israel for the previous 30 years and for refusing to participate in the Arab League’s boycott of Israel.

IBM:

IBM invests heavily in Israel. IBM senior vice-president and general counsel, Lawrence Ricciardi, who noted that his company employs 1,700 people in Israel, said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, “This wedge of land and the huge ideals it represents are very important to IBM.”

In addition, the Intel Core 2 Processor used in almost all modern laptops was designed in Israel.

Timberland:

Timberland’s President and CEO, Jeffrey Swartz, is an active supporter of Israel. In a recent visit to Israel, Swartz expressed, as the CEO of Timberland, that Israel should send 100 IDF soldiers to the United States as public ambassadors for Israel.

Israeli scientific and technological developments are also responsible for instant messaging software, cell phone and camera phone technology. Israel has also developed innovative irrigation techniques, advances in green technology such as solar panels and electric cars and advances in medical technology such as the digestible pill camera.

I am proud of Miami students for conducting political activism in realistic and productive ways: participating in classroom or peer discussion groups, attending lectures and writing to the newspaper and to congress. By contrast, BDS proponents cause destructive discourse, seeking to create disharmony and conflict on our college campuses. BDS movements have no hope of really making a serious impact on Israeli economy and they know it. But they do know that if they can continue to spread lies and push people to extreme and destructive forms of protest, they can inspire more baseless hatred of Israel. This goal is a dangerous one and could cause chaos on this campus as it has on others across the country.

As this school year comes to a close, I hope that Miami students can continue to discuss their political views respectfully rather than relentlessly attacking a single group or country without proper analysis or introspection.

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