“Make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor.” (Esther 9:22)
This holiday season, the Israeli embassy in Washington DC is sending a message along with its annual gifts: Judea and Samaria are part of Israel and those who boycott Israel because of them are fanatics and fools.
Declaring his intention to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, popularly known as BDS, Israel’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, sent out elegant blue-striped boxes filled with products made in towns in Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights – all areas which much of the world does not recognize as Israeli territory.
According to the Israeli embassy, the gifts will include products for which Israel is known and renowned: wine, olive oil, body cream, and halva.
Dermer posted a photo of the embassy’s gifts, along with a letter explaining his reasoning, to his Twitter account.
This year I decided to send a gift for the holiday that would also help combat BDS pic.twitter.com/43haadtzvm
— Amb. Ron Dermer (@AmbDermer) December 21, 2015
“This holiday season, I decided to send a gift that would also help combat the latest efforts by Israel’s enemies to destroy the one and only Jewish state,” Dermer’s letter begins before identifying BDS as that enemy.
“The main forces behind this movement are fanatics who actively seek to eliminate Israel,” he warns. They are supported by “fools who naively believe that in promoting BDS, they are advancing peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”
Regardless of their reasoning, Dermer continues, “the fanatics and fools are simply promoting a new anti-Semitism.”
He points to the recent EU decision to label products made in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as an example of how Israel is unfairly demonized and held to different standards than other countries. “Of the over 200 unresolved territorial disputes around the world, Europe decided that only these Jewish-made products deserved to be labeled,” Dermer writes.
But worse than that, Dermer says, is the fact that Israel receives this unfair treatment despite upholding true democratic values in a dark region by giving equal rights to women and minorities, in stark contrast to most other Middle Eastern countries. In a part of the world where Christians are decapitated and systematically discriminated against, Israel boasts a “thriving Christian community,” Dermer’s letter proclaims.
This holiday season, he concludes, before wishing his gift recipients a happy New Year, he will not allow the efforts of BDS to “cast a beacon of freedom, tolerance and decency as a pariah state” go unopposed. His strong message will be heard in embassies and consulates throughout Washington, DC.