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May 27, 2016 3:47 am

Dalit Baum and BDS: Corporate Social Irresponsibility

avatar by Robin Joshowitz / JNS.org

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Dalit Baum on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions - CJPIP event 3/18/2012. Photo: YouTube/Screenshot.

Dalit Baum on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – CJPIP event 3/18/2012. Photo: YouTube/Screenshot.

JNS.org – In an interview earlier this month with The Forward, Dalit Baum, a leading Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement activist, boasted about an increased focus on corporate social responsibility — the idea that companies and investors ought to make decisions based on ethical principles beyond legal requirements and business interests. According to Baum, any company that profits from a business related to the Israeli occupation cannot claim to be socially and morally responsible, and therefore investors should remove them from their portfolios. Claiming altruism and impartiality, Baum declared that the same criteria for corporate responsibility are applied for every region in the world because “a human rights screen by definition is universal.”

In reality, however, Baum and anti-Israel BDS campaigners are attempting to manipulate the concept of corporate social responsibility to advance their highly discriminatory anti-Zionist ideology. Baum masks her single-minded agenda against Israel through loose language such as “universal human rights,” which, as seen through her actions, are far from universal.

Baum has been a longtime core leader of BDS. She co-founded the Israeli pro-BDS group “Who Profits,” and has also been associated with many virulent anti-Israel NGOs, such as in Boycott from Within, Zochrot, Anarchists Against the Wall, and Women in Black. Although Baum uses the language of morality and peace, her actions and involvement in these groups promote the demise of the Jewish state, not peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

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Baum is currently running BDS campaigns for American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker organization with a long history of pursuing anti-Israel agendas. In recent years, and with funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation in New York, AFSC has propelled itself to the forefront of the BDS campaign. According to Alex Joffe and Asaf Romirowsky, AFSC’s views on Israel have evolved from a “nominally neutral, though not particularly sympathetic, point of view to a violently hostile stance.” Their analysis shows that AFSC empathizes with anti-Israel terrorism, accuses Israel of crimes against humanity, and seeks to cripple Israel’s economy and security. Like Baum, AFSC’s preferred BDS methodology includes “support[ing] campaigns which aim to end corporate support for Israel’s settlement policy and thereby contribute to ending settlement growth and construction.” But in this as in other aspects of the BDS movement, opposing settlements is a façade.

The clear evidence notwithstanding, Baum dismisses any claim of an obsession with demonization and divestment from Israel, instead insisting that “no unique focus on Israel exists.” But the online tool created by Baum (as discussed in The Forward article) to help investors identify companies involved in “specific severe human rights violations” includes only violations related to “Israel’s occupation of the West Bank or to mass incarceration in the United States.” Baum has consistently disregarded similar issues in Cyprus, Ukraine, Iraq and many other conflicts and contexts.

And what “specific severe human rights violations” does Baum seek to combat by co-opting the ideas of corporate social responsibility? While Baum does not elaborate in the interview, the AFSC online tool identifies “severe violations” very broadly in order to subsume and injure the entire Israeli economy. The three dimensions (“screens”) in Baum’s social responsibility framework refer to prisons—specifically the supply of privatized services to the prison industry; occupation (with no mention of Palestinian rejectionism and incitement); and military — “the supply of weaponry used in war crimes perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians”—with no mention of terror.

For example, in calling for a boycott of Caterpillar (long a target of the anti-Israel BDS brigade), Baum speaks of their use to “raze Palestinian homes [and] construct the separation barrier.” In contrast, this self-defined crusader for human rights erases the fact that the demolished buildings were being used to shield attacks or belonged to terrorists who murdered innocent civilians, and that the security barrier was built to prevent terrorist attacks. She artificially and immorally separates the action from the reaction, patronizingly ignoring the underlying causes and Palestinian agency. Then, the moral standards that Baum cites to justify her campaigns are applied narrowly and exclusively to Israel, in direct violation to the universality required in applying the principles of corporate social responsibility.

In all of these actions, Baum inadvertently highlights the hypocrisy of BDS and the discriminatory targeting of Israel and companies that do business with or in Israel. For Baum and her allies, corporate social responsibility is simply the latest catchphrase used for political warfare against Jewish self-determination in Israel.

Robin Joshowitz is a researcher at NGO Monitor (www.ngo-monitor.org).

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  • Consider for a moment the ethical differences between a BLACKLIST and a BOYCOTT.

    The BLACKLIST is a tool of repression, usually involving State & Corporate collusion. Search under RED CHANNELS for a historical example of Blacklisting via the Post WW II Truman Doctrine Cold War struggle for hearts & minds in the Land of the Spree and the home of the Knave. A BLACKLIST is often implemented via anonymous bureaucrats, company men & women or oligarchs who conspire to subvert competition, prevent ideas, people, commodities or services from reaching the market. See HUAC and the Cold War-era careers sunk in academia, business, media, politics, research\development, ‘pure’ science and the arts during the McCarthy Witch Hunt years of Post WW II U.S. history.

    You can teach yourself how the ‘Free Market of Ideas’ worked in the book of essays edited by Christopher Simpson titled UNIVERSITIES AND EMPIRE: MONEY AND POLITICS IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES DURING THE COLD WAR. Or for an even more vivid illustration of this dynamic Wiki the name ROY COHN for a Profile in Parasitic Exploitation of Paranoia. Better yet, see the historical character of Roy Cohn in his full complexity by taking in one of the archived or filmed performances of Tony Kushner’s Broadway breakthrough ANGELS IN AMERICA.

    More recently you can find online counter-intuitive examples of the BLACKLISTING of folksinging activist-satirist Michelle Shocked as followed in the TEXAS OBSERVER and in discussion with Yippie co-founder and pioneering publisher of THE REALIST, Paul Krassner on KBOO Community Radio’s THE OUTSIDE WORLD, Portland, Ore. The Gay Mafia transforms after decades of civil struggle from repressed into repressor! Flexing its buffed BLACKLISTING and bullying muscles from San Francisco across what is left of the New Millennium’s FOLK MUSIC CIRCUIT.

    A BOYCOTT on the other hand is a tool of civil society resisting a freely marketed idea, person, commodity or service often with the goal of persuading free societies to change an unjust behavior.

    Think of the Cesar Chavez Farmworker-organized boycotts of table grapes and other fruits picked for California feudal lords before the union reached a settlement to raise the workers’ standard of living once the market effect was felt on down the supply chain. It took time, activist focus and much persistence around commercial mass media’s resistance to running paid advertising and equal time Public Service Announcements explaining the civil society action. Recall the goal of isolating the policies of the apartheid government of South Africa after decades of boycott in the face of Washington and the Cold War industry’s as well as the DeBeers EU diamond cutting & distribution monopoly not to mention Jerusalem’s own intimate nuclear ties with that apartheid regime.

    We can now lament that Arab Spring activists in exile were never able to mount any such civil society and global sympathy movement with western progressives to isolate the western-backed corrupt oligopolies. Here in Po’Town, Ore the Libyan activist-intelligentsia were out early to mobilize U.S. support for stopping Colonel Qaddafi’s mobilization of the best western weapons money could buy to wipe out the Benghazi Uprising. Only after coaxing an overextended U.S.-EU air defense of Benghazi leading to the ground capture of Qaddafi and his crumbling regime, did we learn the Benghazi Uprising was hardly a defense of civil liberties, rather a religio-Fascist herd masking an ISLAMIST CORE. Where has the boycott movement been against ARAMCO dba Saudi OILigopoly that has underwritten Islamist Wahabism since the Cold War Industry’s black budget folly of ousting instead of joining the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to combat the global mujahideen being coordinated in Pakistan. We couldn’t or wouldn’t give up that cheap source of oil. Ka-Ching.

    To understand how very pro-Israel diaspora Jews and Israeli citizens can continue to define and refine the tools and tactics of BOYCOTT while resisting the use of BLACKLIST by Jewish organizations the world over against Jews and others who support such BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT & SANCTIONS (not against Israeli academics, but against multi-national corporations and governmental institutions that profit from occupation or continue to build “facts on the ground” of conquered and occupied lands) and to deepen your understanding of the context systemically edited out of corporate news-entertainment coverage of these issues please sit down with a pad and pen, a cool or comforting drink and take in this guest lecture by Israeli Mathematics Professor at Haifa University Dalit Baum who visited Portland State University in 2012 when her country’s Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu was scoffing at the lack of effectiveness of BDS and crowing about the robustness of the Israeli economy:

    Check Zionist Military Hero General Peled’s son Miko Peled’s English language talks on YouTube for a taste of how Zionism can evolve its way out of the “building facts on the ground” path to Apartheid & Worldwide Pariah status.

    If you wonder about PM Bibi’s declaration back in 2012 concerning the robustness of the Israeli economy, search online for Bibi’s earlier appointment to the post of Accountant General his friend Yaron Zelekha, who upon reviewing the State of Israel’s finances through a macroeconomic macro-scope compared with the broadcast Mass Media’s micro-economic lens and reporting publicly to the Hebrew press, thereafter was hounded out of government in 2007 then chased back to the sanctuary of academics delivering a series of lectures (in Hebrew and approaching a quarter million views on YouTube without even the benefit of English subtitles) at Israel’s Technion titled OLIGARCHY 101.

    For an English language gloss on Yaron Zelekha’s whistle-blowing that has caught the attention of precisely zero U.S. journalists, despite the clear parallels with our own Crony Cartel Capitalism having reached critical mass in 2008, not just of corruption that intensified the eventual investigation of and conviction of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. After all, CORRUPTION (aka CRONY CAPITALISM) is merely a symptom of oligopoly. The OLIGARCHS themselves and their foreign enablers pauperizing the state of Israel get a pass from the less-than-inquisitive corporate-captured ANGLO BROADCAST MEDIA & BUSINESS PRESS.

    Please search for HAARETZ’s English edition articles on Yaron Zelekha’s whistle-blowing or more recently the coverage of not only Yaron Zelekha but of Israeli Business Editor Guy Rolnick’s participation in the smash tv news documentary series, MAGASH HA’KESEF\THE SILVER PLATTER as glossed by the TIMES OF ISRAEL in late 2015. Zelekha’s lectures (will somebody with the $ pay for English subtitles so that not only Hebrew speakers can understand what has been PAUPERIZING the 99.9% of the world sinking into THIRD WORLD status) titled OLIGARCHY 101 from TECHNION, KIRYAT ONO BUSINESS SCHOOL and various tavernas & pubs around Haifa accessible to everyone being fleeced by their own government’s global FREE MARKET SNAKE OIL PEDDLERS.

    “The superstar accountant: Yaron Zelekha’s crusade to save Israel from itself”
    “Forget the occupation, the Arab nations and the Haredim. The reason Israel is the poorest country in the west, says Yaron Zelekha, is crony capitalism.”
    By Asher Schechter | Mar. 20, 2013 ”

    When Broadcast News doesn’t report of the Jewish-Arab co-operation in shifting the paradigm from Mediterranean Tragic to Civic Cooperative Pluralistic in what the late Colonel Qaddafi liked to refer to as Isra-Stine, then we are locking in a death culture that outside investors are profiting from. Why can’t U.S. Broadcast News interview a Jeff Halper, an Israeli who has worked with Palestinians to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes and has to tour U.S. churches to speak on his new book about this co-operative political and human rights struggle because synagogues and well-funded Jewish Centers BLACKLIST such ISRAELI PEACE & JUSTICE ACTIVISTS.

    But you don’t have to BOYCOTT THEM!

    Same with Dalit Baum who came on intercession from teaching at the U. of Haifa to speak at Portland State University back in 2012 (see YOU TUBE) and the organization she works with represented by the tri-lingual (English-Arabic-Hebrew) – Who Profits DOT Org. Simple question any journalist following the money should ask: Who profits from the Israeli Occupation? See Dalit Baum’s lecture and wonderful Q&A with students posted to YOU TUBE April 12, 2012. Grab a pen, pad and comforting beverage and settle in to audit this public education session that is presented with much interactive wit and wisdom in English while visiting Portland State University because no American Jewish houses of worship or orgs would host her.

    Refer also to the WHO PROFITS.org tri-lingual (Hebrew, Arabic, English) website and clearing house of information pertaining to the Neo-Liberal transformation of Occupied Territories into a totally environmentally deregulated INDUSTRIAL ZONE as envisioned and enabled by former UK Labor Party PM Tony Blair at WhoProfits dot org.

    (C) Mitch Ritter
    Lay-Low Studios, Ore-Wa
    Nike-Town, Intel-Land, LLC
    Pheudal Phiephdom of Phil, Ka-Ching
    In Anti-Trust PERP-E-Tuity Throughout the Universe

  • Dante

    dalit baum – “she”? Psychopathology explains a lot about this disgusting, hateful, fool.

    so, after assessing the numerous conflicts, persecutions, etc., internationally, the fool decided to devote her life to attacking the Jews.

    one knows, then, that baum lives in a horribly contorted moral universe. for the fool, it’s all about the “occupation.” did she ever bother to ask why there was an occupation? when the Jews first settled in Judea & Samaria. whether, despite her adamant opinion and that of other haters and fools, the occupation is actually illegal. did the fool ever consider what the actual alternatives to occupation are? (Hint: if the fool were to say, as many of her accomplices do, “we don’t care”; “it’s OK, if hamas takes over any evacuated territory; it’s not our business,” you’d have further, conclusive, proof that, far from an advocate of human rights, this disgusting cretin is just another hateful fanatic posing as something decent.)

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