Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Effects of "Boycott Israel Products" on Israel Finance

This Document Contents an Introduction to Boycott Israeli Products. But the main goal is to show the effects on Israel Finance. This document is to break the International censorship to the effects data:
The global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005, and is coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), established in 2007. BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.
For decades, Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through ethnic cleansing, colonization, racial discrimination, and military occupation. Despite abundant condemnation of Israeli policies by the UN, other international bodies, and preeminent human rights organizations, the world community has failed to hold Israel accountable and enforce compliance with basic principles of law. Israel’s crimes have continued with impunity.

In view of this continued failure, Palestinian civil society called for a global citizens’ response.On July 9 2005, a year after the International Court of Justice’s historic advisory opinion on the illegality of Israel’s Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), a clear majority of Palestinian civil society called upon their counterparts and people of conscience all over the world to launch broad boycotts, implement divestment initiatives, and to demand sanctions against Israel, until Palestinian rights are recognized in full compliance with international law.
The campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is shaped by a rights-based approach and highlights the three broad sections of the Palestinian people: the refugees, those under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians in Israel. The call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:
Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
The BDS call was endorsed by over 170 Palestinian political parties, organizations, trade unions and movements. The signatories represent the refugees, Palestinians in the OPT, and Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Boycotts target products and companies (Israeli and international) that profit from the violation of Palestinian rights, as well as Israeli sporting, cultural and academic institutions. Anyone can boycott Israeli goods, simply by making sure that they don’t buy produce made in Israel or by Israeli companies. Campaigners and groups call on consumers not to buy Israeli goods and on businesses not to buy or sell them.
Israeli cultural and academic institutions directly contribute to maintaining, defending or whitewashing the oppression of Palestinians, as Israel deliberately tries to boost its image internationally through academic and cultural collaborations. As part of the boycott, academics, artists and consumers are campaigning against such collaboration and ‘rebranding’. A growing number of artists have refused to exhibit or play in Israel.
Divestment means targeting corporations complicit in the violation of Palestinian rights and ensuring that the likes of university investment portfolios and pension funds are not used to finance such companies. These efforts raise awareness about the reality of Israel’s policies and encourage companies to use their economic influence to pressure Israel to end its systematic denial of Palestinian rights.
Sanctions are an essential part of demonstrating disapproval for a country’s actions. Israel’s membership of various diplomatic and economic forums provides both an unmerited veneer of respectability and material support for its crimes. By calling for sanctions against Israel, campaigners educate society about violations of international law and seek to end the complicity of other nations in these violations.
Have BDS succeeded?
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
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 divestment.
 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, and Roger Waters).
Findings by the Israeli Union of Industrialists revealed that following the attack on Gaza, one in five Israeli exporters are having difficulty selling abroad due to the boycott. Yair Rotloi, chairman of the association's foreign-trade committee revealed "21 percent of local exporters report that they are facing problems in selling Israeli goods because of an anti-Israel boycott, mainly from the UK and Scandinavian countries". The Israel Export Institute reported in Feb 2009 that 10% of Israeli exporters were receiving order cancellations due to the boycott. The boycott coupled with the economic climate has forced 66% of Israeli exporters to slash prices, and they have called for government intervention to protect them from a growing boycott. In Feb 2009 Israel’s daily finance paper, the Marker, in an article titled "Now heads are lowered as we wait for the storm to blow over" reported that Israeli businessmen were in hiding, trying to "remain anonymous to avoid arousing the attention of pro-boycott groups".
The situation is so bad that it has led some exporters and retailers in Europe to falsify the country of origin on the packaging of Israeli goods. The Cyprus Mail newspaper reported on 19th March 2009: "A leading German supermarket yesterday admitted to effectively misleading European consumers by selling re-labeled Israeli Grapefruit as a product of Cyprus before passing it on to the public. The decision to pass off the Israeli fruit by the German ALDI chain came after a widespread boycott of Israeli goods in the aftermath of the Israel’s invasion into Gaza in December. Since then, shoppers across Ireland especially, have been turning their backs on Israeli goods such as fruit, vegetables and electronics and it is thought that stockpiles of Israeli produce are rotting at supply depots." Amid fears that this scam could lead to genuine Cypriot produce being boycotted, farming unions in Cyprus are furious and the Cypriot ambassador to Ireland, Sotos A. Liassides has referred the matter back to his government for vigorous action commenting that Aldi are "trying desperately to get rid of their (Israeli) stock by presenting it as Cypriot." Environmental Health Officers from the Health Service Executive who are under contract to Food Safety Authority of Ireland have also become involved in the issue as it breaches EU regulations on food labeling.
A few weeks later, in April 2009, another Irish supermarket chain, Dunnes Stores, was caught in a similar scam of palming off Israeli grapefruits to customers as Cypriot. Seasoned campaigners will recall that Dunnes Stores was the site of a historic victory in the struggle against South African apartheid when on July 19, 1984 a 21 year old till worker, Mary Manning, courageously refused to handle two South African Outspan grapefruits which resulted in a bitter strike lasting nearly three years, before forcing the Irish governments hand to imposing a total ban on the importation of South African goods. Twenty years after the strike the city of Dublin honored the strikers with a commemorative plaque outside the store and today there is a street in Johannesburg named after Mary. Nelson Mandela recalled: "Young workers who refused to handle the fruits of apartheid 21 years ago in Dublin provided inspiration to millions of South Africans that ordinary people far away from the crucible of apartheid cared for our freedom"
In the aftermath of the Gaza attack the UK supermarket Tesco set up a special customer helpline for those who are boycotting Israel. It gauged that the number of calls it was receiving from people complaining about its' selling of Israeli goods was jamming their general customer helpline. When customers rang Tesco's helpline they would now be greeted with the message "If you are ringing regarding Israeli goods, please press one." They would then be connected to specially-trained call center staff. The extra cost to Tesco of having to setup a dedicated call center because of the Israeli goods on its shelves was not lost on Jonathan Hoffman, co-vice chair of the Zionist Federation; he feared "The risk is that supermarkets will say it's too much of a problem to stock Israeli goods." After Tesco came under fire from the pro-Israel lobby who complained that Israel was being picked on as Tesco's had never before singled out a country, Tesco's finally relented and closed the boycott helpline on 6th April 2009.
Non-Israeli companies who fear 'boycott by association' are taking action to distance them. In January 2009 El Al's website ran a promotion stating: "Now, more than ever is the time to come to Israel. Come express your solidarity with Israel. Fly with EL AL and receive 3 or 4 day car rental for free!” The advert had a clearly visible Hertz logo. Hertz were furious and demanded El Al immediately removes their logo from the advert. Their spokesman stressed that Hertz had not been aware of the promotion being run by EL AL and did not want to be associated with it, further they "regret if any individuals were offended by the language that EL AL used to promote this offer".
Another example of such pre-emptive action is that of Lidl and Aldi. During the attack on Gaza, chain SMS's and emails had circulated claiming that "Lidl and Aldi supermarkets declared publicly on TV from their HQ's in Germany that they will donate all their takings/ revenue to Israel during this war on Gaza." Normal company practice would have been to ignore such chain mail, but both companies fearing a mass consumer boycott immediately issued press releases that they do not fund Israel. The Adli press release read "Aldi confirms that it does not provide Israel with any source of financial funding or support the Israel – Gaza conflict. Aldi has never declared that it will donate store revenue to Israel during the conflict and any such claims are completely untrue."
Some companies are themselves taking the moral stand and boycotting Israel. On 30th December 2009, a British telecommunications firm FreedomCall terminated its cooperation with Israel's MobileMax. Richard Ramsey, the managing director of FreedomCall, sent an e-mail to the Israeli tech firm MobileMax. "As a result of the Israeli government action in the last few days we will no longer be in a position to consider doing business with yourself or any other Israeli company." MobileMax CEO Raanan Cohen was shocked by the boycott "We weren't expecting this from them and there was no prior warning.”
In January 2009 Israeli news Ynet reported that a London based Pashmina Company was refusing on-line orders from Israel, email correspondence revealed they had joined the boycott of Israel due to "horrors committed by the Israeli army."
Is the public ready to boycott?
A survey conducted for the Jewish Chronicle  in January 2009 found that 47% of British people support the Palestinian position compared to just 22% who support the Israeli line. Nearly 1 in 3 British people (29%) are in favor of boycotting Israeli goods, and of those who aren't sure(30%) or feel its a bad idea(41%), most reason that sanctions would have no effect(48%) or worry that it would just harden the Israeli position(14%). This survey clearly shows that British people empathize with the Palestinians and are willing to boycott Israeli goods but need encouragement and convincing that it will make a difference.
Shunned Israeli fruit being sold as Cypriot, March 19, 2009, by Nathan Morley
Fraudulent Aldi are selling Israeli grapefruit labeled: "Produce of Cyprus"

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