Palestinian employees at Israel's SodaStream are unemployed as a result of the BDS campaign. (Nati Shohat/Flash90) (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Israel has warned that the boycott movement will harm the Palestinians. This has now become the reality and hundreds of Palestinians are unemployed, courtesy of these activists who claim to be concerned for Palestinians.

Hundreds of Palestinian workers are now unemployed after the factory where they worked in the Judea area was targeted by an international anti-Israel boycott movement and forced to move to Israel, the company’s chief executive said Monday.

Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream International Ltd., which produces machines for making carbonated drinks, said the last 74 Palestinian workers at the factory left Monday after being denied permits to work inside Israel at the new factory.

“We gave them an opportunity to work,” he told Israel’s Channel 2 TV, calling Palestinians the main victims of the boycott movement.

In all, about 500 Palestinians lost their jobs after the factory moved last year amid a high-profile boycott campaign by the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.

“It’s propaganda. It’s politics. It’s hate. It’s anti-Semitism. It’s all the bad stuff we don’t want to be part of,” Birnbaum has previously said of the boycott efforts.

The movement seeks to ostracize Israel by lobbying corporations, artists and academic institutions to sever ties with the Jewish state. Supporters say the boycott is aimed at furthering Palestinian aspirations for independence, and that their efforts are modeled on an earlier campaign against Apartheid South Africa.

Anti-Israel BDS

Anti-Israel activists. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Shutterstock)

Critics say the campaign is not aimed at Israeli policies but at delegitimizing Israel itself. Some accuse it of anti-Semitism because it singles out Israel for boycott while ignoring countries with poor human rights records.

Many Palestinians work in Israeli businesses throughout Judea and Samaria because of limited job prospects in the failing Palestinian economy, and because Israeli benefits and pay are by far better than those offered by the Palestinians.

Employment of Palestinians by Israelis is so outstanding that the Palestinian media, which is usually notoriously anti-Israel, lauded Israel for its fair treatment of Palestinian workers.

Palestinian workers in industrial zones in Judea and Samaria are paid twice to three times the average Palestinian salary and receive full social benefits as prescribed by Israeli law. As a result of the BDS’s anti-Semitic decision, thousands of Palestinians will be now forced to seek their livelihood in the failing Palestinian economy.

Mahmoud Nawajaa, the BDS coordinator in Ramallah, called the loss of the Palestinian jobs at SodaStream “part of the price that should be paid in the process of ending the occupation.” He called on the Palestinian Authority to do more to find jobs for the workers.

Israel has warned that those who will be harmed by boycotts on Israel are first and foremost the Palestinian employees in Israeli businesses.

The financial risk for Israel’s economy as a result of boycotts is minimal and the move is mostly declarative. However, the move is detrimental to the Palestinian economy and will further exacerbate its already inflated unemployment rate.

There are 14 Israeli industrial and agricultural parks in Judea and Samaria, including some 800 factories and businesses employing some 11,000 Palestinian workers alongside 6,000 Israelis. Thousands more Palestinians earn their livelihoods through secondary services provided to the Israeli factories, such as transportation and the sale of materials.

Whereas Israelis would be able to find jobs elsewhere, Palestinians are forced to look for work in the failing Palestinian economy, joining a high percentage of the Palestinian population that is unemployed.

The Palestinians themselves oppose boycotts on Israel. A recent poll shows that the Palestinians are not interested in boycotts on Israel and their support of such sanctions is constantly declining.

A poll published last September “clearly” shows that there has been a “distinct setback” in the level of support among Palestinians for and “practice of boycott campaigns of Israeli products in general.”

By: AP and United with Israel Staff

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