This is a cross-post by Marc Goldberg
The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has a curious history of claiming phantom victories. The latest article written by the BDS site in the US, End the Occupation, joyfully claimed a victory in the war against Israel when Anna Baltzer, sporting the title National Organizer, wrote:
“Big news! We just received confirmation that Veolia Transdev — a long-standing target of boycott and divestment Palestine solidarity campaigns worldwide along with its partial owner Veolia Environment – has sold off all bus services in Israel/Palestine! Until last week, Veolia Transdev, through its Israeli subsidiary Connex, operated bus lines for settlers on segregated roads in the Palestinian West Bank, and other lines throughout Israel. Today it operates none.”
Indeed this is absolutely true, but then Anna Baltzer walked off the cliff into fantasy land when she wrote:
“This marks one of the most significant, tangible victories to date for the international boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. Veolia represents the global flagship BDS target, having lost more than $16 billion in contracts following campaigns across continents citing Veolia’s complicity in Israel’s gross violations of Palestinian human rights.”
If Baltzer had bothered to do even the most fundamental check she would have found out that Veolia have gotten out of the transportation business in every market, that they have in fact sold off their transportation assets all over the world. This article in Haaretz covers the Israeli aspect of Veolia’s decision to get out of the transportation game saying:
“The negotiations started after the international firm decided to close down its transportation businesses all over the globe and sell off its operations in the sector. Veolia’s Israeli transportation business is estimated to be losing NIS 20 million a year.”
Notwithstanding the fact that Veolia have sold off all of their interests in transportation worldwide, including Israel, Globes recently reported that they are looking to expand their Israeli operations:
“France’s Veolia Environnement SA (Euronext: VE) is in talks with a European investment bank to make a strategic investment in its Israeli operations. The objective is to expand Veolia Israel’s operations, after it decided to focus on its energy, water, and environment businesses.”
It doesn’t seem to have been enough for Baltzer to sell one blatant lie, she feels the need to try her luck with a second, not only claiming that the decision to get out of the transportation business has something to do with BDS but also that Veolia lost $16 billion in contracts due to BDS campaigning. It might be nice to see some kind of evidence for that assertion.
This isn’t the first time and I doubt it will be the last that people are sold outright lies by the BDS movement with regards to Israel. There is something terribly insidious about a campaign that feels the need to lie in this way. How can Baltzer expect her organisation to have any credibility at all when she behaves this way?
The ongoing battle of bloggers when it comes to BDS V Zionists is but a footnote really in a much wider struggle, but the sad thing about all of this is that Palestinians (you know those living in dare I say it…Palestine) get lost in the ambitions of Americans and British activists who are quite happy to fight to the last Palestinian for their own ideas of what should exist here in the Middle East. In short, the BDS movement is as far away from understanding the reality of this conflict as it is from reporting the truth.