Usually, Americans love a good underdog story. After all, there’s a reason Sylvester Stallone made about 9,385 sequels to the original feel-good underdog “Rocky” movie. And how many kazillions of kindergarten teachers have read their students The Little Engine That Could, the story of the train that through sheer willpower (“I think I can”) made it up the hill?
Well, how about the little country that could? Tiny but miraculously mighty and influential, Israel, about the size of New Jersey, is surrounded on all sides by enemies that want to wipe it out, but even while being constantly forced to defend itself, Israel has created a “flower in the desert” – a fertile agricultural oasis, a thriving business community, innovative technology, and unparalleled (in the Middle East, especially) human rights.
That’s an underdog story that Americans could learn to love, and this week there’s a way to “show the love.”
This week (Wednesday, March 30) is “Go BIG Day” – with the “BIG” being Buy Israeli Goods. Israeli food, wine, clothing – whatever you’re in the market for, you can probably find a way to purchase an Israeli version of it, either in-person or online. StandWithUs, an organization that exists to promote awareness of Israel’s unique contributions to the world, is inviting the world to “stand with them” and support Israel – with the pocketbook.
Why a “buycott”? Well, it’s in response to the misguided and ongoing boycott of Israeli goods and services that has been widely publicized, aided by a media that, like the distracted teacher on the playground, never sees the initial punch of the bully, but only sees the response of the victim.
The initial bully’s punch, of course, includes life in certain parts of Israel, where rockets fall with alarming regularity. The response – fences, security checkpoints, etc. – have led to charges of “apartheid,” and as any good leftist knows, good people must fight against apartheid. Never mind that Israel is the only human rights-friendly democracy in the Middle East – the push is on to de-legitimize the Jewish state through boycotts, divestment and sanctions – the so-called BDS movement.
BDS manifests itself in some ways that are more amusing than dangerous. For example, performers like Elvis Costello, Dustin Hoffman, Meg Ryan, and Santana all cancelled appearances in Israel “in support of the Palestinians.” Because they’re all just dumb Hollywood types, we can’t get too excited about their opinions or political activity.
Other activities are more sinister: Israeli athletes being excluded from international competitions. Israeli professors disinvited from academic and scientific conferences (this one’s particularly appalling, considering Israel’s immense contribution to modern day technology). American free speech rights being used to prevent Israeli free speech, as happened during last year’s outrageous shout-down of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at UC Irvine.
BDS focuses on isolating and crippling the Jewish state through a misinformation campaign, and efforts, primarily campus-based, to endanger Israel’s very survival through economic pressures. BDS organizers have called on the largest retirement funds in the world to divest themselves of all Israeli-related investments, and pro-Palestinian activists can be counted on to support and rally for such divestment. But the real genius of the BDS movement is its focus on individual action – particularly individuals of college age.
College kids tend to be idealistic – they want things to be right in the world, and they are itching to do “something” to further those ends. That statement applies equally well to both conservative, pro-Israel students and leftist, anti-Israel students – but the problem is, due to the media, leftist faculty, and the general softening of mental faculties inflicted by the public school system – there are lot more of the latter than the former on any given campus.
Israel is the little country that could, and did, and does — even providing humanitarian aid to places like Japan despite its own and constant troubles. Israel deserves America’s unwavering friendship and support. And it deserves better from American college students, who need to educate themselves on Israel’s contribution to the world – as opposed to the “contributions” from those who seek to destroy it.