The Buycott Campaign
By Tali Shapiro at Nov 18, 2009
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In a twilight zone, where an established state needs protection from grassroot communities, we have the Buycott campaign. Who are these people and how have they sprung up over night?
Encouraging Consumerism and Faking Tolerance
I got to the official Buycott page through Wikipedia, where two lines and two links were thrown together in haste, in order to give the campaign more Google juice. The site has a clean Getty Image-esque design, and considering how quickly this whole campaign was erected, I say touché to my opponents- you may not be worthy, but you know your shit. Two major factors come into this campaign: Consumerism and an oddly conspicuous diversity. On the front page a wholesome looking middle class family with shopping bags:
We shop, therefore we are happy and healthy!
What struck me about this image was that the family is- delicately speaking- not very Jewish-looking. Who’s the target audience? Looking into the rest of the site, there isn’t a page without an attractive “person of color” beaming out at me, as if this was a toothpaste commercial. For a second there, it seemed as if the Buycott campaign is aimed at the entire world. If I can’t understand the target audience, I figured, I’d move on to the targeter.
The Canada-Israel Committee
Behind the Buycott campaign stands the Canada-Israel Committee:
The CIC is devoted to the promotion of increased understanding between the peoples of Canada and Israel. It is a non-partisan, voluntary, non-profit organization that enjoys the support of Canadians from all walks of life.
So this answers all the shiny, happy, Western yet ethnic looking people question, but brings on a whole new set of questions. Once entering the CIC site, it takes seconds to realize that you’re knee-deep in some pro-Israel community. Two seconds longer and you’ll realize that in effect, you are neck-deep inside the Canadian Zionist lobby:
In seeking to enhance Canada-Israel friendship, the CIC liaises with government, media, business and the academic sector, often submitting briefs and providing background analyses on matters of public policy. In addition, it sponsors seminars, conferences and other types of educational programming in Canada, and organizes study missions to Israel and the Palestinian areas.
The Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy
It’s terrifying to see the long reach of this Zionist organization inside the government of Canada. But actually the CIC is only part of this Zionist project:
The Canada-Israel Committee (CIC) is the official representative of the organized Canadian Jewish community on matters pertaining to Canada-Israel relations. CIC is an agency funded by the The Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy, the advocacy arm of United Israel Appeal Canada (UIAC).
The CIJA describes itself:
CIJA is a non-partisan, umbrella organization for Jewish community advocacy efforts, directing strategies to improve the quality of Jewish life in Canada and abroad, increase support for Israel, and strengthen the Canada-Israel relationship.
Of course “non-partisan” is a statement that could rarely be taken seriously, in a reality where human rights are a leftist political issue and the stated agenda of this lobby is “increasing support for Israel”, an occupying entity with one of the worst human rights violations records.
The Fair Play Campaign Group
The UK based Fair Play Campaign Group doesn’t beat around the bush. Its subtitle is:
Bringing together those committed to opposing anti-Zionist activity and boycotts that target the people and supporters of Israel
Being a Zionist group, I don’t expect them to be strong with detail, such as the fact that the BDS movement doesn’t target people:
Unless violating any of the above criteria, in the absence of official Israeli sponsorship, the individual product of an Israeli cultural worker per se is not boycottable, regardless of its content or merit.
I also don’t expect them to explain hysterical, unsubstantiated claims:
The Fair Play Campaign Group was originally set up to fight boycotts of Israel. These boycotts hurt both Palestinian and Israeli societies, damage prospects for peace and literally achieve no good whatsoever. Boycott campaigns are also upsetting to many British Jews. We should be encouraging more engagement between Israelis and Palestinians and fighting divisive boycotts.
I do wonder what engagement between Israelis and Palestinians the Fair Play people have been encouraging lately.
How Dangerous is the Buycott Campaign?
Honestly, your guess is as good as mine. I’m usually optimistic and I don’t plan to stop now. My analysis of the situation is that despite the tech-savvy and powerful organizations behind this campaign, it fails to reach out to the diverse community it’s faking interest in. The organizations behind it are homogeneously Jewish Zionists, and Zionists tend to traditionally ghettoize themselves. In complete contrast, the BDS campaign is all-inclusive, calling for international, Israeli and Palestinian solidarity. It may sound biased coming from me, but I think that anyone who’s active in the Palestinian struggle can attest to its international nature. Never have I been surrounded by so many faiths, nationalities, ethnicities, political ideas, ages and genders. Another point is the fact that while the Buycott campaign is just another bit in the larger Zionist effort to whitewash human rights violations, the BDS movement has a presence of its own. It’s so big and all-encompassing that it had to be specifically addressed by counter Hasbara campaigns.
Countering the Counter-Boycott Campaign The only problem with the Buycott campaign is the fact that it could turn out to be very effective, as it speaks to businesses in the one language they understand: Money. The campaign is, in fact, not centered around Hasbara, but around action. As such, I propose the international BDS movement prepare itself and take a few positive steps, to make sure the Buycott won’t be profitable for the targeted businesses. Taking example straight from the Buycott campaign, here are a few steps to a successful boycott [pardon the grammar-sic]:
- Buy Palestinian Goods - This is the most important part of countering Buycott campaigns. is actually buying Palestinian goods. Especially buy them from shops that are being targeted by Buycott campaigners. This supports the Palestinian economy, and ensures that a consumers are not being scared off by the Buycott campaigners. And you also get to eat lots of Palestinian food and drink afterwards!
- Tell your local shop that you’re buying Palestinian - Make sure the shop knows you are especially looking for Palestinian goods – perhaps ask the staff there for help in finding them. In a supermarket, tell the Customer Service desk that you are buying Palestinian goods. If there are particular products that you want, write to the shop and ask them to stock them too.
- Thank the shop management - If the shop is a member of a chain, send a letter or email to the Head Office. Thank them for stocking Palestinian goods and explain why a boycott would be a good idea. Make sure your letters are clearly supporting Palestinian human rights; a busy customer-service department might not read it that closely. Also remember that the shop is usually an innocent victim of the Buycotters, so be polite and supportive.
- Spread the word - Let your friends know about the BDS campaign and encourage them to join in too.
- Sign up to the Global BDS Movement mailing list (on the bottom of the sidebar) and your local BDS group!