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July 14, 2013

On Date Boycott, BDSers Feed Chicago Tribune Rotten Fruit

Not for the first time, BDSers are feeding media outlets with false information about Israel. This time, Chicago Tribune reporter Manya Brachear Pashman swallows whole some BDS falsehoods in her story about efforts to boycott Israeli-grown dates ("In midst of Ramadan, Chicago-area Muslims urged to boycott dates linked to Israel").

First, Brachear Pashman reports that that American Muslims for Palestine "asks shoppers to boycott Israeli fruit companies and any brands distributed by an Israeli date consortium -- business that represents about 35 percent of the world's date market."

According to most recent figures published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (see chart below, 2011), Israel ranks 14th among all nations in date production, and represents a tiny percentage of the world's date market -- some 3.4 million tons as of 1990. Those countries ahead of Israel include Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq, Algeria, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Sudan and Morocco. As of 2012, Israel exported a mere 13,000 tons of dates.

FAOSTAT dates.jpg

Even if Chicago area anti-Israel Muslims and their supporters managed to make a dent in the consumption of Israel's limited date export, the boycott would hardly deliver "a powerful economic message" to a country which enjoys some $65 billion in exports. Somebody should tell Kristin Szremski, media director for American Muslims for Palestine.

Second, in an egregious falsehood about West Bank roads, the Tribune's Brachear Pashman writes:

Marwa Abed, 24, of Palos Hills, said she sympathizes with the campaign.

She said she had seen the Jewish-only road built at the edge of her grandfather's olive groves in the West Bank. (Emphasis added)

There are no "Jewish-only" roads in the West Bank. There are some West Bank roads prohibited to Palestinian traffic, there are no roads either in Israel or the West Bank reserved only for Jews. The difference is significant; while most Palestinians are restricted from traveling on a limited number of West Bank roads, Israeli Arabs -- Christians and Muslims -- most certainly may use those roads. Several media outlets, such as AP and the Washington Post, have corrected this falsehood in the past.

While there are no Jewish-only roads in Israel or the West Bank, there certainly are Muslim-only roads in Saudi Arabia, which produces three times as many dates as Israel. Only Muslims are allowed to even set foot in Mecca and Medina and the surrounding areas known as the Hejaz. See for example, the Saudi Embassy website, which on the Traveler's Information page helpfully states that:

Makkah and Madinah hold special religious significance and only persons of the Islamic faith are allowed entry.

Here, in Arabic and English, are two of the Saudi highway signs openly enforcing this apartheid and discriminatory policy:



But, as Brachear Pashman reports, the anti-Israel boycotters are only too happy to buy Saudi dates:

Mike Nobani, manager of the Shop & Save who also is Muslim, said the store sells a steady stream of dates throughout the holy month, though none of the fruits piled high in the store's produce section come from Israel.

Instead, an entire wall was covered Thursday with boxes from South Africa, California, Saudi Arabia, Palestine and Tunisia. Nobani said he doesn't see the point of selling a product that customers tell him they won't buy.

"Our clients were asking," he said. "They know what they want."

Indeed, they do. Marwa Abed, the interviewee who feeds the journalist the lie about the "Jewish-only road," says at the end of the article:

"Ramadan is all about doing justice," Abed said. "Doing justice between you and your creator, between you and the world, between you and your soul. Doing justice in all your actions. If I went the other route I don't think I'd be pursuing justice."

Welcome to the upside-down world of BDS, where "pursuing justice" is all in the eye of the boycotter.

Posted by TS at July 14, 2013 05:25 AM


One day Arabs will have to explain to their children why they rejected Peel in 37; UN 181 in 1947; and why they failed to create a State of Palestine in 1947 - 67?

Then they can talk about "justice".

The anti-Zionists who segue into anti-Semitism are meanwhile enjoying the cosy schadenfreude of feeling big in their hatred; feeling cosy in their lazy tradition of blame rather than the hard work of self criticism and self improvement; and delighting in self satisfied preening of their moral pomposity at how simple is the solution because they have ignored the case of the other party.

Posted by: Frank Adam at July 18, 2013 11:53 AM

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