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Thursday, February 17, 2011

BDS fails in California

An effort to force California's public retirement systems to divest their investments in Israel has failed for the second time.
A year ago an initiative was introduced in California that would require state public retirement systems to divest from Israel. (See “California initiative to divest from Israel.”) By May 2010, it had expired, but BDS activists vowed to return. (See “Initiative to force California to divest from Israel fails, proponents will try again.”) And try again they did, under the rubric of the Israel Divestment Campaign. The text of the second initiative is here; notice the explicit demand that Israel give “Palestinian refugees their rights in accordance with United Nations Resolution 194,” which is code for the Palestinian “right of return” and the elimination of Israel.

Under California law the initiative’s proponents had from September 1, 2010 to January 31, 2011 to collect signatures from 433,971 registered voters. The campaign has announced that it failed to reach that goal. Not enough Californians share their vision of a world without Israel, it seems. The initiative is dead.

The BDS-niks have an annoying habit of portraying their losses as wins, a tendency on display on their website: “’This was truly a grassroots effort that established deep significant coalitions in several areas of the state that will enable the campaign to continue our advocacy efforts in this state on behalf of Palestinian human rights,’ said Andy Griggs of the IDC. . . . ‘We reached and educated many California voters over the past five months who were not aware that their tax dollars supported Israel's human rights and international law violations,’ said Caroline Kittrell an IDC coordinator in Butte County.”

The Israel Divestment Campaign website urges the public to “CHECK BACK after FEBRUARY 15th when we will launch Phase II of the Israel Divestment Campaign.” Can’t wait.

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