Boycotts and Ice-Buckets

Everyone has been throwing buckets of ice cold water over themselves this summer. Livnot’s Facebook newsfeed is saturated with videos of past chevre dousing themselves in water. Overall there’s been at least 2.5 million #IceBucketChallenge videos posted to Facebook, and over 28 million people have commented, liked… or been nominated themselves. All in all, well over $100m has been raised for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association, and many hundreds of millions of more people now know about a dreadful disease than before. Even those diagnosed with ALS, the most famous being physicist Stephen Hawking, have done the Ice Bucket challenge too. Whilst this summer has been one of bucket-drenching, it has also been one of rocket-firing. Well over 3,500 rockets have been launched at Israeli cities by Hamas terrorists, after the abduction and murder of three teenage Yeshiva students. Not only this, but a network of tunnels kilometres long stretching from Gaza into the kindergartens and dining halls of kibbutz’s has been found, and thankfully destroyed. Operation Protective Edge, whilst saving countless Israeli lives, has caused a spike in anti-Semitism and calls to boycott Israel around the world. The hypocrisy of posting on Facebook (Mark Zucerkberg) with an iPhone (Israeli technology) about boycotting Israel can be laughable, but it has real world consequences, especially for everyone’s new favourite disease. ALS patients in Israel live longer than anywhere else on earth, at least three to four times longer, thanks to advanced treatments available to everyone in a public healthcare system. Israel is also leading the world in developing a cure for the disease, with ongoing clinical trials about to enter Phase II. In 2012, an Israeli Rabbi with advanced stages of ALS underwent a miraculous reversal of his symptoms. After receiving the breakthrough Israeli drug now being trialled in the US, Rabbi Refoel Shmulevitz was breathing, speaking and walking. 361px-P_Israel_Flag.svgIsraeli scientists, doctors, researchers and academics, working in partnership with their colleagues from around the globe, are at the forefront of curing not just this but many other diseases, but it doesn’t stop the Boycotters. Stephen Hawking, who once toured and lectured in Israeli and Palestinian Universities, whose speech machine runs on Israeli technology, whose debilitating disease is on the cusp of a cure from Israel, last year succumbed to pressure from Boycotters. Based on ‘advice’ from pro-Palestinian academics, the Professor cancelled his appearance at Shimon Peres’ Presidents’ Conference. Even though the Conference is regularly attended by top officials from the Palestinian Authority, and is precisely the sort of forum of great thinkers which can actually solve some of the world’s most intractable problems, from war to disease. Maybe if the Boycotter’s spent more time throwing buckets of ice-cold water over themselves, they would wake up and see that Israel is actually at the forefront of solving the world’s problems. Nick Henderson Livnot Intern

Nick Henderson
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Before making Aliyah from Scotland, Nick ran an international NGO called Youth End Poverty and worked with a number of non-profits and social change organisations, including the British Council, Oxfam and Save the Children. Nick was previously Social Media Manager / Alumni Relations Manager at Livnot. Now he lives in Jerusalem and is passionate about public health issues, and represents Israel at various international conferences on health policy.