In recent years, since the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian political process, Israelis have become increasingly concerned with the so-called “BDS” (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions).
It is deeply disturbing to witness how many Israelis are absolutely convinced that Israel is de-facto isolated in the world. To them, it is an undisputed fact: Israel is being subjected to a mightily forceful, all-encompassing new international movement that is meant to destroy the country. This unprecedentedly well-organized and well-funded movement introduced what they believe to be a brand-new tool in the warfare against the Jewish state: the boycott.
The fear amongst Israelis, is that their country will ultimately face the same fate as South Africa. Israel’s government responded by creating a special agency to combat the de-legitimizers, and in the organized Jewish world several advocacy groups have set their agenda accordingly. Millions of dollars are being spent annually to deal with the fear of boycott and isolation.
The facts do not support the hysteria:
For starters, Israel is not isolated. On the contrary. It is being celebrated worldwide. As the State of Israel celebrates 70 years of independence, and Zionism celebrates over 150 years of remarkable achievement, it should be noted that we have never had it better — economically, militarily and geo-politically. Israel is an economic marvel; a major producer of conceptual products; a significant provider of content to Hollywood; its cultural assets, although face agitation from time to time, are being invited to perform all over the world; Israelis are welcomed to conduct business globally; Israeli companies are traded in foreign markets and Israeli talent is widely admired in all walks of life. Israel’s tourism industry is thriving with a fifth consecutive record-breaking year.
Israeli media routinely reports about Roger Waters and the few who do cancel their shows, but since the term BDS emerged in our lives (ironically the term BDS — Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions — is an Israeli invention. It was conceived and conceptualized by an Israeli policy group some ten years ago) tens of the world’s greatest performers happily performed in Israel. Industry insiders say that most cancelations are due to poor ticket sales and market saturation. It is true that some artists, such as Lorde and Lana Del Rey, caved in to the pressure applied by Israel’s detractors but they represent the exception rather than the rule.
On the diplomatic front the situation is even more impressive with an unprecedented intimacy with the U.S. administration and new game-changing alliances in the Middle East. In recent years Israel became a magnet for foreign leaders.
On the academic front, Israel’s standing has never been better: six of Israel’s nine research universities are included in the Shanghai Index which ranks the top 500 universities in the world. Two of the six are ranked in the top 100 institutions in the world.
Another important indication as to Israel’s positioning in the global community is the massive presence of major multinational companies. Many global giants, such as Intel, Microsoft, Apple, and Google have established R&D centers in Israel.
This article is Part 1 of a series.
Ambassador Ido Aharoni serves as a global distinguished professor at New York University’s School of International Relations in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Ambassador Aharoni is a 25-year veteran of Israel’s Foreign service, a public diplomacy specialist, founder of the Brand Israel program and a well-known nation branding practitioner. He is the founder of Emerson Rigby Ltd., an Israel-based consultancy firm specializing in non-product branding and positioning. Ambassador Aharoni, who served as Israel's longest serving consul-general in New York and the tristate area for six years, oversaw the operations of Israel’s largest diplomatic mission worldwide. Ambassador Aharoni joined Israel’s Foreign Service in the summer of 1991 and held two other overseas positions in Los Angeles (1994-1998) and in New York (2001-2005). He is a graduate of Tel Aviv University (Film, TV, Sociology and Social Anthropology) and Emerson College (Master’s in Mass Communications and Media Studies). At the Hebrew University in Jerusalem he attended the special Foreign Service program in Government and Diplomacy. To reach more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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