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Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaign against Israel Working

Ynetnews special:
Anti-Israel boycotters increasingly successful in strangling economy of
Jewish state: More than 20 organizations in Europe in 13 countries
endorse boycott of Agrexco, Israel’s leading flower exporter

Giulio Meotti

Many Israeli agricultural products have been recently targeted by the Israel boycott campaign:
tomatoes, peppers, citrus fruit, carrots, melons, strawberries and
celery. But the flowers have been the primary obsession of the
divestment movement, which wants to strangle the Israeli economy.

Agrexco, Israel’s leading flower exporter, has recently declared
bankruptcy, partially due to the global boycott of its produce,
according to some reports. More than 20 organizations in Europe in 13
countries endorsed a boycott of Agrexco.

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International pressure, boycotts and sanctions on South Africa’s
apartheid government played a major role in ending its power. Modeled on
that global campaign, the anti-Israel boycott movement has notched
notable victories of late, while making use of an old Marxist lexicon
(“imperialism,” “colonialism,” “occupation,” and “settler society”).
The first symbol of
the anti-Israel economic campaign, Caterpillar, was far removed from the
Western public consciousness. Yet Israeli roses were a better Jewish
scapegoat, as flowers are a pillar of Israel’s economy (in the 1980s
Israel became the world’s number two flower exporter. Agrexco was
boycotted because it’s partially owned by the Israeli government and
because the company has some farms in the Jordan Valley and in Tekoa, a
settlement at the gates of the Judean desert.

Last year, Norway’s oil fund withdrew its investment from
Africa-Israel and Danya Cebus citing their involvement in “settlement
construction.” Just recently, the Swedish Coop has decided to terminate
all purchases of Soda Stream carbonation devices. Meanwhile, the
Methodist Church had passed an “anti-Israel” motion demanding a boycott
of goods from “illegal” settlements. Quakers in Britain have also agreed
to boycott Israeli products.

Elsewhere, major Dutch pension fund Pensioenfonds Zorg en
Welzijn, which has investments totaling 97 billion euros, has divested
from almost all the Israeli companies in its portfolio (banks,
telecommunication companies, construction companies and Elbit Systems.) A
large Swedish pension fund also divested from Elbit over the latter’s
role in building Israel’s West Bank security fence. Meanwhile, the
Ethical Council of four Swedish buffer pension funds urged Motorola “to
pull out of the Israeli-occupied territories in the West Bank” or face

On the cultural front, a film festival in Scotland returned
funding to the Israeli Embassy after succumbing to boycott activists who
threatened to picket the event. Elsewhere, some major Indian artists
have announced the boycott of a show scheduled at the Tel Aviv State
Museum in the spring of 2012. Dozens of music stars also endorsed the
boycott this past year (Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Roger Waters).

Western universities infested
And there’s more: A major boycott is going to be approved soon at the
Park Slope Food Coop, a renowned cooperative in Brooklyn, affecting
Israeli paprika, bath salts, vegan marshmallows and the Soda Stream
seltzer machine. Norway’s governmental pension and Germany’s Deutsche
Bank divested from Elbit. The flagship London outlet of beauty company Ahava
has been closed after years of protest. A Scottish council recently
banned Israeli books from its public libraries. Eden Springs, the major
Israeli water company, will not have its contract renewed by the famous
London School of Economics.

The Hudson’s Bay Company, the oldest commercial corporation in
North America, also discontinued sales of Ahava. Although this decision
was made for “commercial reasons”, it coincided with an aggressive
campaign by several groups advocating a boycott of Ahava.

Most of the Western universities are now infested with a
virulent anti-Jewish mood. Students at Edinburgh University just voted
in favor of a boycott of Israel. The University of Johannesburg has cut
its links with Beersheba’s Ben-Gurion University. DePaul University’s
Student Association approved a boycott of Sabra hummus. The French
University of Aix en Provence cancelled a meeting with Israeli writer
Esther Orner after a boycott by Arab authors. Alan Dershowitz recently
charged that Norwegian universities are conducting “an implicit boycott
of Israel.”

Several companies, primarily Swedish firm Assa Abloy, which runs
Mul-T-Lock, and the partly Dutch-owned Wine Cellars, have pulled out of
the Barkan industrial area, near the Israeli city of Ariel. The Spanish
government disqualified Ariel University Center of Samaria from
competing in the finals of the international contest between university
architecture departments to build a self-sufficient house using solar
power. The Norwegian EL & IT union, which represents thousands
energy and telecommunications workers, has adopted a boycott of the
Histadrut labor union federation.

largest trade union voted for the boycott and called for the suspension
of Israeli-Brazilian economic agreements and military ties. French firm
Veolia, which operated the light rail project in Jerusalem, sold its
shares in the project. Deutsche Bahn just withdrew from the same
project, with German transport Minister Peter Ramsauer offeringthe
following reason for terminating the project: “Palestinian Foreign
affairs Minister Riyad al-Malki, members of the German Parliament and
media have criticized a project in which DB international is acting as
adviser to Israel’s state-run railway.” Italian company Pizzarotti is
now under pressure for the same train project.

When Italian stores last year announced the banning of Agrexco,
the company’s director, Shimon Alchasov, rhetorically asked me: “Should I
mark the products with a yellow star of David?” The late, great
historian Raul Hilberg explained that the economic strangling of the
Jews in business, education and employment was the first step in the
Holocaust. Now the same “Raus mit Uns” (out with us) boycott is bleeding
the State of Israel.

Giulio Meotti,
a journalist with Il Foglio, is the author of the book A New Shoah: The
Untold Story of Israel's Victims of Terrorism,7340,L-4115718,00.html

Added: May-23-2012 Occurred On: May-23-2012
Other Middle East
Tags: Israel, Jews, military, boycott, divestment, sanctions, working, economy,
Location: Israel (load item map)
Views: 6523 | Comments: 26 | Votes: 2 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 1 | Updates: 2 | Times used in channels: 1
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