I love science.
In part, that inclination was handed down to me by my father, who was a physician. To an equal extent, it speaks to my optimism that the secrets of the universe can be unlocked to solve humanity’s problems. Curing virulent diseases, combatting climate change, eradicating world hunger, increasing the world’s fresh water supply and tapping into unlimited alternative energy resources all seem to be within humankind’s reach.
I loathe the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, aka BDS.
BDS is economic warfare targeted at Israel to delegitimize the Jewish state’s very existence. It is rightly labeled as antisemitism, which is why numerous U.S. states – including New York – have enacted anti-BDS legislation. At its core, BDS is hatred of Jews masquerading as political activism.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul recently invoked the power of that law to force international consumer goods conglomerate Unilever to cave on ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s controversial Israeli boycott. She threatened to divest Unilever from NY State’s stock portfolio, which would have had a deleterious effect on its stock price.
A major tactic of the BDS movement is to shun the usage of Israeli made products and services. One doesn’t need to be exceptionally focused on Israel’s technical prowess to know how hard that is to do. Israel produces more patents per capita annually than any other country on the planet.
To live in the modern world, BDSers need to be hypocrites. They wouldn’t be able to use their cell phones and personal computers, eat cherry tomatoes, get MRIs or take the Covid vaccine, otherwise. That reality doesn’t seem to dissuade them from remaining both exceedingly self-righteous and annoyingly persistent.
My personal Facebook posts frequently reflect my coincidental reverence for both science and Israeli scientific achievement and my disdain for the BDS community’s ill-conceived policies. These items always start with the phrase “Dear BDSers: I’m sad to relate…” The most Zionist leaning of my friends and family think I should turn it into a blog.
I satirically pretend to be sympathetic to their plight as I focus attention on yet another Israeli invention destined to save lives or improve the human condition. I point out that BDSers must shun these advancements in their entirety to be true to their most cherished vales. It’s a tough row for them to hoe, believe me.
The daily news is replete with Israeli inventions, especially in the health care arena. Often, the Israeli roots are passed over by U.S. media in favor of news regarding a promising FDA study or commercial introduction of a groundbreaking new product. Israeli media and international scientific journals memorialize the origins, however.
For instance, the first successful Corona virus vaccine was invented at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. The chief medical officer at Moderna, one of the big three pharma companies that produced the U.S. supply of Covid vaccines, is an Israeli citizen.
For both climate change and geopolitical reasons, the nations of the world are rushing to discover renewable forms of energy. Recent media reports note an organism found in sediment along the shores of the Potomac River produces electricity out of thin air. University of Massachusetts, Amherst scientists announced their development of a device for harvesting this electricity. That research has been going on for years at Israel’s Technion University. Just this year, Technion researchers also created electricity from seaweed.
Israelis have come up with a potential cure for some tumors and metastatic cancers using Alpha radiation that works 70 percent of the time. It’s already in international clinical trials around the world and received EU approval in 2020.
Israeli technologists invented a handgun that can’t be used without entering a simple code. Far fewer accidental discharges, and no more criminals and terrorists stealing firearms to commit crimes. Not again ever, if this technology enters widespread use.
In an Israeli breast cancer treatment study using cryoablation (freezing and excising of malignant tissue) only 4 of 194 patients experienced a recurrence.
Shall I go on?
Israeli physicians are restoring eyesight to macular degeneration patients using stem cells.
Medical researchers invented the “Dermaclip,” a non-invasive skin closing procedure that replaces stitches. It’s now in international clinical trials.
Looking to the future, research involving stem cells and “extracellular matrix” (a kind of biological “scaffolding” cells need to grow) is taking amazing strides forward; regrowing damaged organs and even fingers appears possible. Much of the research behind this possibly earth-shattering advancement is being done at the Weizman Institute in Israel.
One drug could treat Alzheimer’s, MS, Crohn’s and other myriad other diseases. A special peptide under development in an Israeli lab evidences extraordinary effectiveness against all chronic inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases.
If proponents of BDS have an ethical compass, they will enthusiastically opt out of these lifesaving and other practical innovations. I suspect they will not, to any significant degree. But it won’t stop them from propounding a policy that, at its core, is fundamentally antisemitic, plus hurts Arab citizens of Israel, too.
Just ask former employees of Soda Stream, whose factories in Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank) were renowned for its Jewish and Arab workers peacefully cooperating side-by-side for equal wages. It was prosperous for workers and management both, but BDS backlash forced them to close the factory and move elsewhere.
That’s the sad status of truth vs. hypocrisy in contemporary anti-Israel politics and rhetoric. You can lead mules to water, but you can’t make them drink. Alas, science has no cure for that.