27 April '16..
The boycott, divest and sanction movement, despite all its noise, has so far avoided the logical step of actually boycotting all Israeli products and inventions. This is because it would make life too difficult, as Israeli inventions and products are integral to so much of modern technology and are very often a necessary and unavoidable part of products that people simply cannot live without.
Boycotting Israel only to the extent that it suits you, while taking advantage of Israeli IT or medical technology is, of course, a particularly sickening form of hypocrisy and possibly a completely new breed of bigotry. Nevertheless, it would appear that some state officials on the European continent have indeed tried to bring BDS to its logical conclusion, even when it meant that they might find themselves at a considerable disadvantage in an area of grave importance to national security.
According to news reports, France was offered Israeli security technology to track terrorists, which might possibly have prevented the disastrous terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015 and in Belgium in March 2016. The technology tracks terrorists by finding and matching intelligence reports from a number of national and international databases and employs powerful analytical tools and unique algorithms to navigate and process the information. According to an Israeli counter-terror specialist, French authorities liked the technology, but were told that there was a higher-level instruction to abstain from purchasing it. No official reason was stated for the rejection.
If true, this shows that not only has BDS made significant inroads into official France, but also that there is at least one European government willing to disregard its own citizens' security just to pursue the goals of the BDS movement. It should give every concerned European pause that a European government puts the twisted and basically racist policy of boycotting Israeli products before its obligations of securing its own citizens and keeping them safe from terrorism -- especially recently, with the Islamic State terror threat at an all-time high.
Being offered advanced terrorist-tracking technology from Israel – an indisputable leader in this field -- and refusing it simply because it is Israeli does not merely constitute a terrible form of mindless bigotry but also gross malfeasance toward the citizens of France.
The incident opens up an even bigger question: How many governments and state agencies across Europe have refused Israeli technology simply because it was Israeli and not for objective or legitimate reasons? How many countries allow arbitrary hatred of the Jewish state to dictate their policy?
We will probably never know the answer, but the victims of adherence to such policies are the Europeans themselves. Israel sells its technologies across the world – Europe only constitutes a small part of the market. But every European should be interested in getting the best available technology and if that means choosing an Israeli product, then Europeans should insist on it, especially in those technological fields spearheaded by Israel.
We will also never know whether the purchase of Israeli terrorist-tracking technology would have indeed saved those 200 European lives snuffed out in the Paris and Belgium attacks. However, I imagine that it must be a heavy burden for the French officials who refused the Israeli technology to carry, knowing that they might possibly be indirectly responsible for all those deaths by refusing to obtain more advanced technology.
Europeans would be wise to wake up to the fact that when it comes to Israel, the policies that their governments pursue are not only wrong because they are anti-Israel and based on stubborn, often bigoted and anti-Semitic misperceptions, but that they may frequently be to the direct disadvantage of the European citizens that these governments were elected to serve. Clearly, a government that chooses to follow the principles of BDS rather than the best interest of its citizens is a government that has lost its moral compass entirely and is groping in the dark. Europeans should start asking some hard questions. The sooner the better.
Judith Bergman is a writer and political analyst living in Israel.
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