Friday, April 15, 2016

'The solution is radical inclusion'

Steve Ganot, Israel Hayom

image from article, with caption: Revered Israeli entrepreneur Yossi Vardi
Yossi Vardi, considered the godfather of the Israeli high-tech industry, says entrepreneurship "cannot be taught, it can only be unleashed" • He insists that the divided Israeli society must "agree on a vision of a shared future" if it is ever to unite. ...
Q: Do you see the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement as a threat to Israel, and in particular to Israel's high-tech industry?
"I'm not at all concerned about the economic effect of BDS. We have been subject to boycotts before. I've always said the two founders of Israeli high-tech are [former French President Charles] de Gaulle [who declared an arms embargo against Israel three days before the outbreak of the Six-Day War] and the Arab boycott.
"But I'll tell you the main problem with BDS: It provides a very low barrier of entry to people who want to delegitimize the State of Israel. If someone throws [Israeli] bell peppers on the supermarket floor, the damage is not the few dollars that they cost, but the fact that this shows his objection to the State of Israel. It's much easier to mobilize people to do this than to attend some intellectual discussion on the occupation. BDS is a lubricant for people who want to show their reservations about the State of Israel."
Q: What about the argument used so often in public diplomacy, that if you support BDS you'll have to throw out your computer and cellphone since they are full of Israeli technology? Is this argument compelling or silly?
"I think it's not an argument at all. I think that you have to deal with the issue, with what the occupation is leading to, and what you have to do to maintain the occupation."

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