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Settler Leader: Main Victims of BDS Movement Are the Palestinians Themselves

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

Oded Revivi, the mayor of Efrat and the chief foreign envoy of the Yesha Council. Photo: Yesha Council.

Oded Revivi, the mayor of Efrat and the chief foreign envoy of the Yesha Council. Photo: Yesha Council.

The fight against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was one of the hottest topics at the National Israeli-American Council Conference in Washington, DC this weekend.

Oded Revivi, the mayor of Efrat and the chief foreign envoy of the Yesha Council — the umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish communities in the West Bank — told The Algemeiner on the sidelines of the conference on Sunday that the main victims of BDS are actually the Palestinians themselves.

The BDS movement, Revivi emphasized, “does not serve the interests of private Palestinian individuals. It has an agenda that is remote from the needs of the Palestinian people and it jeopardizes the potential of reaching a peace agreement.”

“If we have a factory that employs Palestinian workers and it is threatened with being shut down due to BDS, it is Palestinians who will lose their jobs,” he said.

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While the economic impact of BDS has been limited thus far, Revivi noted, the threat must not be underestimated.

“The BDS movement is building an atmosphere that is dangerous,” Revivi, whose US trip was coordinated with Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, said.

According to Revivi, the best way to combat BDS is to “spread the facts.”

Yehuda Cohen, the owner of a plastics factory in the Barkan Industrial Park near Ariel, told The Algemeiner, “I have 90 workers — 40 Israelis and 50 Palestinians. We work together, we dine together and we go on trips together. I give people hope – hope for their families, hope for their all-around lives. My first goal, of course, is for my company to be really successful, but my second goal is to build a bridge between Israelis and Palestinians. I think if we bring more hope to people, then maybe we will find a way to peace.”

“Most Israelis and Palestinians are living in peace,” he said. “The question is if leaders will make an agreement.”

While Cohen said his business has not been directly affected by BDS, he called the movement a “danger for the future.”

“We must stop it now if we can,” he said.

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