While claiming that it opposes the boycott of Israel, the EU is making the dreams of BDS (boycotts, divestments and sanctions) activists come true. For these anti-Israel campaigners, product labelling is a first step towards a comprehensive boycott of Israel. The insidious nature of BDS and the unfortunate contribution of the EU and European governments to this campaign is especially prominent when viewed in the context of recent BDS incidents, which reflect the campaign’s racist and antisemitic nature. Rather than promoting peace and coexistence, and paving the way for a more productive Palestinian economy, BDS campaigns aim at harming anyone or anything that even has a slight affinity for anything Israeli or Jewish.
There is a blatant paradox in the fact that governments that are officially opposed to BDS, nonetheless provide substantial funding to highly biased and politicized NGOs. Some of these NGOs promote international BDS campaigns and contribute to the broader campaign of delegitimization and demonization of Israel. NGO Monitor has systematically documented direct and indirect funding from European governments and the European Union funneled to political campaigns that involve demonization of Israel, including anti-Israel BDS, which stand in stark contradiction to the official European policy. Furthermore, often government donors provide funds without oversight and without knowing where the money is going.
Take the BDS campaign against the Orange mobile phone network in Israel (hereafter Partner Communications, the official name of the Israeli firm; Orange is the France-based holding company). In this case, the French government funded its own boycott. Three NGOs behind the campaign, Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development-Terre Solidaire (CCFD), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) are all funded directly by the French government. The same French government which owns 25% of Orange and is “firmly opposed” of any boycott of Israel.