Sunday, March 24, 2019

  • Sunday, March 24, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
At Yale Insights, Ian Shapiro, Sterling Professor of Political Science, professor of management, and Henry R. Luce Director of the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, talks about the potential of economic conditions laying the groundwork for peace between Israel and Palestinians.

This mirrors a lot of what Israeli leaders have said, and I have no problem with helping Palestinians gain economic advantages that may lead to them having something to lose if they decide on another intifada. But his even-handedness strays into fantasy in this section of the interview:

SodaStream is very interesting because the original idea was to create employment for Palestinians in the West Bank. It immediately got attacked. The BDS [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] movement aims to use activism to get Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories. It was really aimed at pressuring business tied to the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, not at ventures like this, but SodaStream was attacked.

At the same time, the Jewish settlers don’t like SodaStream either, any more than they like Rawabi. So with pressure from both sides, SodaStream moved back into Israel.

It’s one of very few ventures in which you have Palestinian managers supervising Israeli line workers. There are even now Bedouin managers in supervisory roles. It’s a kind of microcosm of cooperative production in the Middle East, and of course extremely successful. It’s just been bought out for billions. It’s sort of a demonstration project of the possibilities that can actually occur.
I have never heard about any Jewish settlers being against Sodastream, or being against economic benefits to Paletinians. Perhaps a fringe element were but they have no political clout at all - later on Shapiro makes this claim as well:

 The far right-wing Israeli settlers would really like the Palestinians to go to Jordan, so they don’t want a thriving Palestinian economy. They’re worried that far from Palestinians going to Jordan, Jordanians might start coming into the West Bank.
The "Jewish settlers" I know want to be friendly with their Palestinian neighbors, they have no problem when (properly vetted) Palestinians come into their communities to work, and they fondly remember the days before the first intifada when they could freely go into Ramallah or other Arab cities in the West Bank without fear to go shopping or get services done by Arabs.

Shapiro is not terrible - he shows that BDS is meaningless to Israel economically - but his desire to say that settlers are as bad as BDS in wanting to hurt ordinary people on the other side is simply not true. 

The author of the piece also tries to be even-handed when the facts do not back it up, from the first sentences of the article:
Israel has controlled Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and Gaza, since the Six-Day War in 1967. The roots of the conflict date even further back, to the founding of Israel and to the emergence of the Zionist and Arab nationalist movements in the 19th century. 

Funny how in 1967 no one - and I mean no one - ever referred to the territories as "Palestinian." And there was no Palestinian nationalist movement to speak of until after the Six Day War.

This is the sort of subtle bias that one can see even in articles that aren't bad. But Yale should strive for accuracy, not political correctness. 

(h/t Shmuel Yosef)



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