Europe’s Israeli Boycott Obsession
Last week I met Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, for a thirty-minute interview. We talked on many issues, like Iran, Egypt, the settlements, the Palestinians and also the European boycott of Israeli goods and companies. Lieberman said: "It’s nothing new.” True, the Jewish people have already been boycotted in the past. But I left Lieberman with the feeling that the Israeli diplomatic chief didn’t really understand the impact of the new economic warfare.
If in the past the orders came from Damascus, where the Arab League headquartered its operations, today the boycott obsession is spreading through Europe’s pension funds, supermarkets, firms and companies, labor unions and food co-ops.? The campaign is led by transnational groups, mainstream media, charities, pressure groups and campaigning networks. And it has already proven very successful.
Last week Norway’s finance ministry has excluded Shikun & Binui, Israel’s largest real estate company, from the Government Pension Fund Global (the largest in Europe) "over its construction of illegal Israeli colonies in East Jerusalem.” Norway’s oil fund already withdrew its investment from Africa-Israel and Danya Cebus, citing involvement in "settlement construction.”
Last month, South Africa instructed commercial importers not to use the label "Product of Israel” for goods manufactured in Judea and Samaria’s Jewish communities. Then the Danish government also announced the adoption of this policy. Irish Foreign Minister, Eamon Gilmore, proposed that the European Union consider banning products from the settlements. The move follows a British decision to allow retailers to distinguish whether goods are "Israeli settlement products” or "Palestinian products.” (...)