April 04, 2009

Boycott news goes mainstream

I already reported the fact that Israeli exporters are reporting that business is down on account of the boycott Israeli goods (BIG) campaign. I noticed the BBC reporting the same thing on its website a few days ago:
Israeli manufacturers say that they are already feeling the effect of an informal boycott.

A private survey carried out by the Manufacturers Association of Israel has identified a huge decline in demand for Israeli exports.

That has been caused, in large part, by the global economic slump. But one in five exporters said that "being Israeli causes some problems".

In this case, the problem stems from the recent conflict in Gaza. An official from the Association, who asked not to be named, because the publicity had not been helpful, said that a boycott "happens every so often" - during wars, or Palestinian uprisings.

And now here's the Guardian:
"There is no doubt that a red light has been switched on," Dan Katrivas, head of the foreign trade department at the Israel Manufacturers Association, told Maariv newspaper this week. "We are closely following what's happening with exporters who are running into problems with boycotts." He added that in Britain there exists "a special problem regarding the export of agricultural produce from Israel".

The problem, said Katrivas, is in part the discussion in the UK over how to label goods that come from Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. Last week British government officials met with food industry representatives to discuss the issue.

In recent months, the Israeli financial press has reported the impact of mounting calls to boycott goods from the Jewish state. Writing in the daily finance paper, the Marker, economics journalist Nehemia Stressler berated then trade and industry minister Eli Yishai for telling the Israeli army to "destroy one hundred homes" in Gaza for every rocket fired into Israel.

The minister, wrote Stressler, did not understand "how much the operation in Gaza is hurting the economy".

Of course, "the operation in Gaza" is just a symptom of what it is that the boycott is intended to cure.


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