The excellent Italian journalist Giulio Meotti, who writes regularly in Ynet, has written an incisive column on the boycott war on Israel. He shows how the boycott weapon is not just an ad-hoc tool used by BDS groups against certain Israeli companies or supporters, but is another weapon in the war against Israel altogether. (Emphases are mine). Apologies for quoting almost the entire article. It was difficult to find anything to skip.
In the aftermath of the Gulf War and the fall of the Soviet Moloch, the Arab boycott of Israel’s economy seemed on its way to extinction. Fifty years of boycott had cost the Jewish State a whopping $45 billion in lost trade and investment.
The boycott’s best-known feature was the prohibition of direct trade between Israel and the Arab countries; but this in fact was the least harmful of its provisions. The blackballing of companies that merely dealt with companies doing business with Israel enlarged the circle of hatred to immense proportions (Pepsi, among others, participated in the boycott).
For decades, the major trading nations of the world, including the US, did nothing to combat the boycott. Yet pressure to abandon the boycott eventually bore fruit, and business with Israel was gradually legitimized by Arab leaders, albeit tacitly.
Now this trend seems to be reversing and the global pressure to strangle Israel’s life is focusing on Western Europe, where anti-Jewish emotional blackmail is likely to be much more effective than in the US. There are many alarming signs.
A few days ago a UK supermarket chain banned Israeli settlement products, while a major Norwegian retailer suspended sale of Israeli Ahava products. It’s an anti-Jewish policy that resists any rational exorcism, a war waged by a group of powerful countries against a fellow member of the United Nations.
If yesterday the orders came from Damascus, where the Arab League headquartered the boycott operations, today the boycott virus is spreading through Dutch pension funds, Scandinavian universities, UK labor unions, Italian food co-ops, German industrial companies, US churches and Belgian cultural institutions.
However, the raison d’etre is the same: It is not about the settlements or the checkpoints, but rather, about freezing Israel’s future. Caterpillar, Ahava, Soda Stream, Elbit, Veolia, Motorola… It’s impossible to list all the Israeli and foreign companies targeted by the boycott.
No serious NGO, no Israeli ministry, no academy has yet calculated the impact of the boycott on the State of Israel. How many commercial deals and academic works have been severed and lost?
As in the past, when companies that did business with Arab countries were sometimes questioned as to whether they have Jews on their board of directors, today the boycott has anti-Semitic overtones. …
This boycott blacklist not only violates international free trade, it is an obstacle to Mideast coexistence and constitutes the revival of racism. It’s time to ban once and for all a boycott reminiscent of the 1933 first official Nazi boycott of Jews, in which youth held posters in German and English urging the boycott: “Germans, defend yourselves against Jewish atrocity propaganda.”
The poster of the boycott lobby now says: “Europeans, defend yourselves against Israeli atrocity propaganda.” Where is the difference?
On the subject of the British Co-op settlement boycott, Elder of Ziyon uncovered a fascinating piece of severe hypocrisy on the part of the “ethical boycotting” Co-Op:
The bank is just as hypocritical as the supermarket is.
According to their stated policies:
“We will not finance any organisation that advocates discrimination and incitement to hatred.”
The right to freedom of speech underpins the values of a democratic society and individuals and organisations should be free to express their views or beliefs. However, 99% of customers who participated in the review supported the bank’s decision to withhold finance from those extremist organisations that advocate not only discrimination but hatred.
It warms the heart to know that such highly ethical people have no problems with being involved in hosting an organization that funds an unrepentant terror group.
Is anyone here surprised? I’m not.
The new US online paper The Algemeiner (I highly recommend it) also writes about the boycott, this time from the angle of the harm it causes davka to the Palestinians whom the boycotters presume to be helping.
The question however should not be about how effective they are, but rather who is affected by them. The answer is that those most harmed by boycotts on Israeli products imported from Judea and Samaria are first and foremost the Palestinians themselves.
There are fourteen industrial centers dispersed throughout Judea and Samaria, which include some eight hundred factories and businesses. Seventeen thousand employees work at these centers, eleven thousand of them are Palestinians. According to data presented by the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics, the employees earn two to three times more than the average pay earned by the general Palestinian population, and receive as prescribed by Israeli law, full social benefits. Based on the Arab familial structure in a region that plays host to a number of large families, these workers may support up to 100,000 people who are dependent on them.
A secondary source of livelihood has developed around these centers of industry in the form of the provision of transportation for the employees, haulage of product and materials and services and equipment suppliers, so in truth an even larger segment of the local population makes a living as a result of Israeli entrepreneurship in this region.
The Palestinian Authority has recently encountered a severe financial crisis, which intensifies the Palestinian need for these places of work provided at the settlements.
… Therefore, boycotting Israeli products from the settlements essentially harms Palestinian livelihood.
Read it all. Again, it’s not surprising that the antisemitic haters never think of the implications of their actions. Hypocrisy reigns supreme.