February 4, 2014
Haaretz Editorial

Israel: Boycotting Reality

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's statement at the Munich Security Conference, that Israel will face boycotts should negotiations with the Palestinians fail, is a level-headed view of reality that the Israeli government chooses to continually ignore.

Two weeks ago, Denmark's Danske Bank, the country's largest, blacklisted Bank Hapoalim over its role in financing settlement construction. A week ago, Holland's second largest pension fund, PGGM, announced that it was divesting from Israel's five main banks, for similar reasons. Last Thursday, Norway's Finance Ministry ordered the government pension fund not to invest in the Israeli firms Africa Israel Investments and Danya Cebus. Germany recently said it intends to condition a scientific cooperation agreement as well as grants to Israeli high-tech companies on the exclusion of companies in the West Bank or East Jerusalem. In July, the European Union Commission released new guidelines forbidding EU organizations from providing grants or loans to Israeli organizations with ties to settlements. Even the compromise achieved over Horizon 2020 is indicative of the trend -- Israel is losing legitimacy in the eyes of many European states.

Instead of working toward an agreement with the Palestinians that would fundamentally alter Israel's political status, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet are trying to change the subject. It's embarrassing to hear Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz demand 100 million shekels for a public campaign against the boycott movement. He doesn't understand that the problem is policy, not public relations. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's claim that "settlements aren't an obstacle to peace," raises doubts over his ability to accurately perceive reality. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, on the other hand, prefers to chastise his underlings for saying the boycotts against Israel will only intensify, rather than addressing the reasons for the boycotts.

The prime minister beats them all: Instead of welcoming Kerry as an ally, he publicly quarrels with him and hints that the secretary of state is trying to pressure Israel to "give up essential interests." Netanyahu refuses to understand that Israel's most essential interest is ending the conflict, and that Kerry is a fair, dedicated, mediator who needs the support of all parties in order to complete this complex process. Netanyahu refuses to understand that now is the time for big decisions, not small politics.


BDS Movement

Rare Video: Nelson Mandela on Palestine, 1990

Israel-Palestine: Beyond the Headlines, CWRU, April 17, 2008

George Bisharat, "Israel and Palestine: A True One-State Solution,", September 3, 2010

"The Emerging Deal on Iran's Nuclear Program," The Wisdom Fund, October 16, 2013

William Booth and Ruth Eglash, "A Greater Israel?,", November 5, 2013

Thomas L. Friedman, "The Third Intifada,", February 4, 2014

Rania Khalek, "Abunimah: Justice in Palestine Is Fundamental to Global Struggle Against Racial, Economic Domination,", March 13, 2014

Chris Hedges, "Israel's War on American Universities,", March 16, 2014

"Israeli finance minister expresses boycott fears,", July 17, 2014

Samantha Brotman, "A point by point response to Alan Dershowitz's 'Ten Reasons Why The BDS Movement Is Immoral',", December 5, 2014

"The Amazing Things BDS Movement Achieved in 2014,", December 30, 2014

Rachel Zoll, "Anti-Israel Divestment Push Gains Traction at US Colleges," Associated Press, February 28, 2015

Glenn Greenwald, "In a Major Free Speech Victory, a Federal Court Strikes Down a Law that Punishes Supporters of Israel Boycott,", January 31, 2018

[Perhaps most significantly, BDS has challenged the two-state consensus of the international community. In so doing it has upset the entire industry of Middle East peace process nonprofit organisations, diplomatic missions and think tanks by undermining their central premise: that the conflict can be resolved simply by ending Israel's occupation of Gaza, East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, leaving the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and refugees unaddressed. . .

First, freedom for the residents of the occupied territories; second, equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel; and third, justice for Palestinian refugees in the diaspora - the largest group - including the right to return to their homes.--Nathan Thrall, "BDS: how a controversial non-violent movement has transformed the Israeli-Palestinian debate,", August 14, 2018]

Sam Bahour, "Israel's Mockery of Security: 101 Actions Israel Could Take,", November 14, 2018


Yossi Gurvitz, "No one wants to 'destroy Israel' (Or why the last Zionist defense rests on lies and misstatements),", January 20, 2019

"Debate: Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism," iqsquared, July 26, 2019

"Named: 112 companies linked to illegal Israeli settlements by the UN,", February 12, 2020

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