A few weeks ago I was in Jordan, and attended a powerful and disturbing lecture in Amman by Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian physician who has been working in Gaza, who many of you may know, or know about. The event was a fund-raiser for BDS Jordan, which seems to be a very dynamic organization, yet only a year or so old. A double-sized hotel ballroom was filled to over-capacity. People were turned away at the door. I estimated somewhere between 1500-1800 people in the room.
Besides the usual conversation about BDS, especially in terms of personal responsibility and individual action, a main issue in Jordan is a pending deal between the governments of Jordan and Israel related to a proposed gas line that would provide natural gas to Jordan from Israel, via the Mediterranean sea ports. (The off-shore gas reserves that are being developed are actually part of Gaza's off-shore territories; therefore this amounts to Israeli theft of Gazan natural resources. Furthermore, any proposed pipeline will likely need to be routed through Palestine -- Gaza or West Bank or both. There are also off-shore gas reserves off the coast of Lebanon, which are a potentially contentious issue with Israel.)
As I understand it (imperfectly) the deal involves a consortium of Israeli and Jordanian companies. When the news hit the papers, all hell broke loose. As you undoubtedly know, 67% of the population of Jordan is Palestinian. This issue seems to be catalyzing BDS Jordan and yielding a groundswell of protest, such that there are indications that the Jordanian Government may be forced to back down. A major public protest is planned in a few days (if it has not already happened) in a country where public protests are not common or even tolerated. Jordan is not a country that openly encourages freedom of expression, so this by itself is a significant action.
Furthermore, another main message of the event was to encourage Jordanian businesses to reconsider their business ties with Israel -- an appeal for a BDS response directly to the business community -- much of which is Palestinian owned. This is a real thorny economic issue that hits Jordanian loyalty and morality right in the gut.
So the word is that BDS is alive and very well, even in the Middle East.
Larry Harder, Guelph
Financial Times Report: Israel to supply up to $15bn of natural gas to Jordan
By John Reed in Jerusalem