When “Human Rights” Becomes a Cudgel to Beat the Jews

On November 19, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued instructions to his staff to identify those groups that support efforts to boycott the Jewish state—many of which happen to be nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) ostensibly devoted to defending human rights—and to ensure that they don’t receive federal funds. Gerald Steinberg explains:

There is ample evidence that the agendas of such groups and their impacts go far beyond straightforward criticism of [Israeli] policies, and venture into anti-Semitism. This problem has persisted at least since the 2001 NGO Forum of the infamous UN conference on racism in Durban—led in part by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International—at which anti-Semitism was very visible. The participants declared that their objective was the “complete isolation of Israel as an apartheid state.” In the two decades that followed, these groups have worked intensely to implement the goal of turning Israel into a rogue state.

From false accusations of “massacres” in Jenin in 2002 to the UN’s infamous Goldstone report on the Gaza war in 2009, and the repeat performance in 2014, to the UN Human Rights Council’s recent travesty of publishing a discriminatory blacklist, with many other examples, this powerful NGO network has led the way.

Officials of organizations who purport to promote human rights have repeatedly and obsessively singled out Israel for attack on social media, while systematically erasing the history of terror and rejection it has faced.

[Therefore] it is important that the State Department’s initiative be joined by both Democratic and Republican party leaders in the United States, and by Europeans. . . . Human rights, anti-Semitism, and the need to take a strong stand against campaigns that combine them are too important to be rejected on the basis of narrow political partisanship.

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Read more at Newsweek

More about: BDS, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Mike Pompeo, NGO

Will Costco Go to Israel?

Social-media users have mocked this week new Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich for a poorly translated letter. But far more interesting than the finance minister’s use of Google Translate (or some such technology) is what the letter reveals about the Jewish state. In it, Smotrich asks none other than Costco to consider opening stores in Israel.

Why?

Israel, reports Sharon Wrobel, has one of the highest costs of living of any country in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

This

has been generally attributed to a lack of competition among local importers and manufacturers. The top three local supermarket chains account for over half of the food retail market, limiting competition and putting upward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, import tariffs, value-added tax costs and kosher restrictions have been keeping out international retail chains.

Is the move likely to happen?

“We do see a recent trend of international retailers entering the Israeli market as some barriers to food imports from abroad have been eased,” Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Israel accounting firm, told The Times of Israel. “The purchasing power and technology used by big global retailers for logistics and in the area of online sales where Israel has been lagging behind could lead to a potential shift in the market and more competitive prices.”

Still, the same economist noted that in Israel “the cost of real estate and other costs such as the VAT on fruit and vegetables means that big retailers such as Costco may not be able to offer the same competitive prices than in other places.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Costco, Israel & Zionism