Divestment from Israel = A Triumph for Illness

Divesting Minnesota's holdings of Israel bonds will not bring the realization of a Palestinian State one day closer. In fact, this idea is misguided and wrongheaded.

Seventy percent of Israel's exports are in the high-tech sector. Per capita, Israel has more high-tech startups, scientists, engineers, civilian research and development spending, venture capital investments and patents registered in the United States than any other country in the world.

The contributions of the Israeli economy to the world include:

  • Cell phone technology
  • Voicemail
  • The Pentium processor for computers
  • Firewall and anti-virus technology
  • Instant messaging
  • The first fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer
  • Drip irrigation
  • ICQ
  • Voice over IP
  • Both of the leading drugs used to treat MS patients, Beta-interferon and Copaxone
  • SIM card

Indeed, to boycott Israel is to boycott 30% of the world's medicines and flu vaccines which were developed in Israel.

Israel has long been a pioneer in technological innovations. Industrial research was pioneered, even before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. These innovations were performed at The Dead Sea Laboratories in the 1930s, and advances in basic science and technology were initiated at the Hebrew University (est. 1925), the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (est. 1924 in Haifa), and the Daniel Sieff Research Center (est. 1934 in Rehovot); which later became the Weizmann Institute of Science (1949). Israel has had a deep commitment to cutting edge technology with which the entire world has benefited.

It is regrettable that the Palestinian people do not have a state by 2010. It should be recognized, however, that at the end of the British Mandate for Palestine on May 14, 1948, the Palestinians could have realized their place among the nations had they accepted the two-state solution for Palestine adopted by the United Nations partition vote in November of 1947. Instead, 1948 joins the 1937 Peel Commission Recommendation and 2000 Camp David and Taba negotiations as missed opportunities for the Palestinians for implementation of a two-state solution. Again, divestment is a non sequitur in connection with the historical events at issue.

For decades the United States' close relationship with Israel has enjoyed sweeping bipartisan political support. These strong ties are based on mutual respect and shared values. Divestment efforts are completely contradictory to this strong relationship.

It is not surprising that according to a recent Pew Survey, 51% of Americans sympathized with Israel and only 12% sympathized with the Palestinians.

We must all continue to work toward the realization of two states living side by side, a safe and secure Israel, and a free and democratic Palestinian state.

For more information on Israel's contributions to the world please check out: