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Taking Action in the Fight Against BDS

A major theme of Chanukah is the battle that is fought for the Jewish right to live in freedom in Eretz Yisrael. Unfortunately, this ancient fight continues to this very day. For most of us, the drama that plays out in Israel on an almost daily basis is something that we can only view from afar. However, there is one area of this battle where we can engage. As I’m sure you are aware, there is an anti-Israel movement known as BDS, which stands for Boycott, Disinvest & Sanction. The movement’s goal is to advance a Palestinian agenda through encouraging individuals, companies, institutions and countries to pressure Israel and Israelis with financial sanctions.

Last month, the BDS movement gained a major victory. Under pressure from anti-Israel groups, the European Union demanded the labeling of products made in parts of the Land of Israel known as Judea & Samaria to indicate if the business is Jewish-owned or Arab-owned. This labelling is an example of blatant anti-Semitism, since no other products from disputed territories across the world require such fine-grained ethnic labelling. Given the increasing anti-Semitic sentiment in Europe, labelling "Jewish products" could cause serious economic damage to some Israeli companies and to their many Arab and Jewish employees. For example, last week one major German department store removed some Israeli wines from its shelves because they were not properly labeled as "made by Jews."

Boycotting Jewish businesses will not bring about any political solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict. It will simply cause more poverty and misery amongst the many Arabs employed by Jewish-owned businesses in Judea & Samaria, who will lose their jobs if the businesses fail.

To fight back against European anti-Semitism and to support those courageous families who risk their lives for the mitzvah of yishuv Eretz Yisrael (living in the land of Israel), I encourage you to buy from two Israeli companies that are the targets of boycotts and anti-Jewish labelling campaigns:

1. Shiloh Winery is located north of Jerusalem next to Tel Shiloh, an ancient capital of Israel. The population of Shiloh is approximately 3,000 people. It is a national-religious (dati leumi) community. There is a wide variety of wines available from Shiloh Winery. Please note that unlike most Israeli wines, several of these wines are mevushal (flash pasteurized to avoid certain kashrut issues). I recommend buying mevushal wine if possible. You can order directly from jwines.com. If you want free shipping, email your selection to Jonathan Esensten  and he'll consolidate and deliver your order:

All wines from Shiloh Winery
Mevushal wines from Shiloh Winery

2. Ahava is a major Israeli cosmetics company that uses mud and minerals from the Dead Sea to make a wide range of skin products for men and women. The mud and minerals are harvested from various locations on the Dead Sea in Israel, Jordan, and Judea & Samaria. Ahava products can be purchased on Amazon.

By supporting these companies, we are doing our share to support our fellow Jews in a struggle, which may seem far away, but hits all too close to home.