Israeli finance minister expresses boycott fears
Israel’s Finance Minister Yair Lapid has warned that the world, United States included, is losing sympathy and patience with Israel
Speaking to a group of representatives from American Jewish organizations on Monday, Yesh Atid party chairman Lapid warned that the increasing boycott campaigns against Israel will have devastating effects on the economy.
After a top US acedemics union ASA decided to boycott Israeli academics and educational institutions that operate in and support illegal settlements in the West Bank, Dutch pension giant PGGM and Denmark’s Danske Bank also boycotted Israeli banks for the same reason.
Meanwhile, Germany’s largest bank, Deutsche Bank (DB), has blacklisted the Israeli Hapoalim bank as an “unethical company” due to its funding of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Israel’s Maariv newspaper reported.
Dutch firm Boskalis Westminister and Italian firm Condote de Agua also withdrew bids to build private seaports in Ashdod and Haifa, fearing political reprecussions for working with Israel.
According to the Israeli Haaretz, they join Spanish companies FCC and Cyes, as well as Germany’s Möbius Bau, who also dropped out of the bidding process months back, citing threats to their business interests in the Middle-East.
Last year, boycotts on products like dates and grapes grown in the occupied Jordan Valley caused a $29 million loss for illegal Jewish settlers in the region. As reported in the Washington Post, income from exports dropped 14%, mainly due to big supermarket chains in Europe deciding to boycott the products.
David Elhayani, head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, told the Washington Post, “In effect, today, we are almost not selling to the (Western) European market anymore.”
Zvi Avner, head of the agriculture committee in the Jordan Valley, said that sales of peppers and grapes to Western Europe have dropped by about 50% and fresh herbs by up to 40%.
In 2009, the UK gradually started labeling or completely boycotting settler products. Together with Scandinavian countries, the UK has made the 550,000 odd illegal Jewish settlers in the West Bank very nervous.
Marks & Spencer, Morrisons and Waitrose are among many British firms to stop selling settler goods in recent years. Germany’s Kaiser Supermarket has also made a moral decision against selling settler products.
Many feel that a trend is slowly starting to develop in the West against Israel, similar to that which brought down the apartheid regime in South Africa.