MORE THAN a few British Jews will have wearily sighed at Israel’s often perplexing approach to PR over the years, wondering when the state may finally master the art of public relations.
Such a sigh was heard once again over London this week, when 74 Palestinians lost their jobs with fizzy drinks manufacturer and boycott-target Sodastream because they were refused permits to work in Israel.
It follows the firm’s relocation away from the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumin, as a result of a mindless and malicious campaign by pro-Palestinian activists.
The natural response is to hit back hard at such boycott efforts, so in withholding the permits the logic may have been as follows: refuse permission and blame the loss of jobs on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, showing the world that BDS only hurts those it purports to help.
Unfortunately, and perhaps predictably, it backfired in spectacular fashion, with a blistering attack on that same logic by the company itself, which blamed authorities for needlessly removing the livelihoods of people they described as “ambassadors for peace”.
Sure, the BDS campaign is an assiduous attempt to defame the name of Israel, targeting those with little or nothing to do with politics. But to win the argument, Israel cannot cast away the economic lifelines of innocent people caught in the middle.
Doing so snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.