The boycott begins to bite

on 31 Comments

The Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions movement against Israel is picking up steam due to the war in Gaza. First, the British telecommunications company FreedomCall "severed all ties" with the Israeli company MobileMax. YNet reported, "The email from FreedomCall said, '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.'" 

Then, Naomi Klein let loose in the Nation:

Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause,
and talk of cease-fires is doing little to slow the momentum. Support is
even emerging among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly
500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a
letter to foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel. It calls for "the
adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions" and draws a
clear parallel with the antiapartheid struggle. "The boycott on South
Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves…. This
international backing must stop."

Yet many still can't go there. The reasons are complex, emotional and
understandable. And they simply aren't good enough. Economic sanctions
are the most effective tools in the nonviolent arsenal. Surrendering
them verges on active complicity.

Now, Israeli fruit growers are saying their crops are rotting on the docks resulting in "massive losses."  From the YNET article "Farmers claim UK, Jordan boycotting Israeli fruit":

Eshel says the boycott did not exist before
the Gaza offensive was launched. "It's getting worse, and more voices
can be heard calling to boycott Israeli merchandise," he said. "Until
the operation began we had excellent business, though the economic
recession in Europe was causing a slight fall in the market."

Who's next?

31 Responses

  1. syvanen
    January 16, 2009, 4:20 pm

    BDS is the only practical thing that those of us the West can do. The boycott part should be extended to those businesses that financially support the West Bank settlement movement. There should be some list of those businesses somewhere. What is there besides Leviev jewelery, Lowes and Los Vegas Sands?

  2. citizen
    January 16, 2009, 4:26 pm

    Nobody. Hollywood is not on board with economic pressure on Israel. Nor is the Free Press, Fourth Estate, our system of checks and balances and the free play of ideas. We all live in Goebbelsland now.

  3. A blogger from Lebanon
    January 16, 2009, 4:43 pm

    This should not stop but only be intensified. Only when it bites real deep, only when it bites to the bone, will zionists get the idea.

  4. A blogger from Lebanon
    January 16, 2009, 4:48 pm

    I wrote about the boycott here:

    link to

    It is important to note that it is not enough to boycott settlement products or businesses that do business in the settlements. The boycott must target ordinary folk in Israel. They are the supporters and enablers of the settlements and the mass-slaughter in Gaza. Just read the zionist press and take a look at Israeli poll results.

    I wrote:

    "Okay, so Klein raises a number of good points. But it is not nearly as extensive an article as I was hoping for. She does not mention universities. Israeli universities are the main centers for researching the best methods and planning the genocidal campaign against the Palestinian people. She should also have pointed out that for the boycott to work, it is not nearly enough to boycott businesses or industries functioning in the so-called “occupied territories” (the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) as the British government falsely claimed it was preparing to implement (at the same time as it was upgrading economic and trade ties with Israel!) ; the boycott must extend beyond, hit every industry in Israel, even those that have nothing to do with apartheid. Klein’s suggestion of picking and choosing which factories and firms to boycott and which to spare, makes the application of the boycott a practical impossibility — and a moot point. After all, firms whose owners are actually supportive of apartheid and vote for apartheid-supporting parties and leaders (all politicians standing elections in Israel are in favor of apartheid), could always engage in the kind of double-speak that has kept Israeli apartheid going for the past 60 years, claiming they are not supporters of apartheid. By Klein’s logic, the firms would have to be spared sanctions. Doesn’t work. The Israeli economy must be brought to the verge of collapse if need be, should Israelis maintain their stubborn adherence to apartheid. ONLY a divestment and sanctions campaign of this nature can force zionists to abandon their genocidal policies — although it is also possible that it would not bring about the desired effects, necessitating a military campaign to put an end to the existential threat to the entire region posed by Israel and zionist genocidal frenzy."

  5. Dan Kelly
    January 16, 2009, 5:03 pm

    Thanks blogger. Naomi Klein is an intelligent woman. One can't help but wonder how she wouldn't raise the exact same issues you have. This then leads one to wonder where her true motivations lie.

    Don't get me wrong – she's done excellent work. But, like Chomsky and so many others, it doesn't go far enough, and it's very hard to understand how such otherwise intelligent people so often miss what's so obvious to us ordinary "laypeople".

    And again, it makes one wonder…

  6. Glenn Condell
    January 16, 2009, 5:21 pm

    'BDS is the only practical thing that those of us the West can do.'

    It's the most effective (especially if as you say domestic firms profiting from Israel are included), but I would also like to see some pressure for:

    (a) downgrading of diplomatic ties, even expulsion of consulate and embassy staff;

    (b) a balancing of the situation where people or institutions may send funds to Israeli settlers freely but those who do the same to Hamas are prosecuted;

    (c) a formal examination of the antidemocratic means by which Lobby organisations co-opt politicians (whole parties, really) and pressure journalists to toe the line;

    (d) a commitment from government to use the policing and intelligence resources (surveillance, particularly) of the state to monitor current and review past actions of Israeli partisans deemed inimical to American interests, just as they do with Islamists, or indeed anyone with a foreign axe to grind;

    (e) prominent people, particularly Jews who have expressed a sometimes rather ugly solidarity with Israel (let's say Jon Voigt and John Malkovich for starters) to make a clear statement as to what they think of Israel's actions;

    (f) a genuinely fair and thorough public inquiry into the USS Liberty tragedy;

    (g) a high-level effort to increase public awareness of the Nakba, including mandatory inclusion, alongside the Holocaust, in approved curricula, and

    (h) a public effort to lift the number of Arabs/Muslims in government, particularly with regard to foreign policy.

    One other thing would be to challenge the EAA and TRA amendments which function as 'antiboycott' laws in the US, which may prevent BDS action from fulfiling it's promise.

    But perhaps the very best thing Mr Obama could do on his first day at work would be to acknowledge the dreadful bias of the US approach to the conflict over decades, apologise for it, and promise to do all he can to rectify it.

    Such a statement would need to include a message to American Jews that the interests of Israel will not be ignored but will from here on take their rightful place in US governance as subsidiary to the interests of the US as a whole. Israel will be supported, but murderous behaviour which sullies America's good name in the world will not.

  7. A blogger from Lebanon
    January 16, 2009, 5:25 pm

    Here are two pictures proving Israeli "successes" in Gaza:
    link to

    News straight from the heart of Gaza. :)

  8. Jim Haygood
    January 16, 2009, 6:09 pm

    Hey A blogger from Lebanon, two weeks you told us there had been hundreds of Israelis killed and captured, including a Colonel taken prisoner. I know you're busy interrogating them and everything, but could you please send me some evidence of this? A picture, some hair, something? Oh yes, you also saw several helicopters and dozens of tanks destroyed. I'm so anxious to see these dead zionazis!

  9. syvanen
    January 16, 2009, 6:20 pm

    For those interested in boycotting Israeli goods here is a list:

    link to

  10. syvanen
    January 16, 2009, 6:28 pm

    There is also this:

    link to

  11. Richard Witty
    January 16, 2009, 6:41 pm

    Boycotting is an idiotic approach.

    Fix the problem, don't repeat the problem directed at another.

  12. American
    January 16, 2009, 6:41 pm

    If you really want to hurt Israel….go after the US pension funds that invest in Israeli bonds,,….the NY state Employees pension ,the Labor unions funds, the Calif Teachers pension. Investing in Israeli bonds is in effect financing the governmnet of Israel. Pro Israeli activist have been for years sucking money out of the US pensions. Yea.. you have to be crazy or a zionist State Sec. of the Treasury like in NY atate to think putting American workers retirement funds into Israel is smart….but trillions have poured into Israel in this way.
    I doubt most employees even know that has been done with their retirement contributions. Investing in Israel is high risk and alway has been…..the only way Israel is even able to make payments on some of the billions in loans we have given them, (most are"forgiven"..see the Crandston amendment) over and above our annual 3 billion in aid to them, is because they use the annual aid to make payments. The last CIA Country Report in 2004 said Israel is still not a self sufficent country and is heavily dependent on US and German aid and contributions from zionist organization in the US and other countries.
    Israel is the only country on our welfare list that gets their aid up front in a lump sum every year and does not have to account for what it is spent on. They deposit it in treasury notes and draw interest as they drawn down the principal for their needs.
    If you think Madoff had a big ponzi scheme going.. it was peanuts compared to the US-Isr ponzi scheme on US taxpayers. And the US Pentagon-Isr ponzi is almost as big.

    Go after the pension funds
    Boycott US companies that do business with or have business in Israel.
    And boycott Israeli goods.

    Then you will be getting somewhere. Israel is going down eventually and US employees with retirement funds invested there need to get out while and if they can.

    If you get the pension funds. Israel's balance sheet would be upended, their country credit rating would drop to zero, they would be dead in the water credit wise and totally unable to do any business in any market.

  13. Richard Witty
    January 16, 2009, 6:43 pm

    What behavior do you want for Israel to do?

    Don't say something as oblique as "end the occupation".

    IF Hamas agrees to return to the cease-fire, then relations between Israel and Gaza can normalize, beyond what existed during the cease-fire.

    The question "What are you willing to do to get your way?" applies equally to Israel, to Hamas, to dissenters.

    Punitive actions ARE the same as Israel's.

  14. John Lewis-Dickerson
    January 16, 2009, 7:18 pm

    FROM ABOVE: "There should be some list of those businesses somewhere. What is there besides Leviev jewelery, Lowes and Los Vegas Sands?"

    Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Type Public (NASDAQ: TEVA)
    Headquarters Petah Tikva, Israel
    Website link to

    Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Hebrew: טבע תעשיות פרמצבטיות בע"מ‎), NASDAQ: TEVA is an international pharmaceutical company headquartered in Petah Tikva, Israel. It specializes in generic and proprietary pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients. It is the largest generic drug manufacturer in the world and one of the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies worldwide.[1] In 2007, its sales totaled $9.4 billion, of which 80% was in Europe and North America. After its acquisition of U.S. rival Ivax Corporation in January 2006, the company has about 28,000 employees in 50 countries. Teva's facilities are located in Israel, North America, Europe, and Latin America….

  15. syvanen
    January 16, 2009, 7:22 pm

    Here's another list of Israeli products available in the US.

    link to

    Read this list if you support Israel so you know which goods to buy.

  16. Colin Murray
    January 16, 2009, 8:16 pm

    American's observation about our pension funds is disturbing. I hope our vulnerability is limited, and diminishing.

    "Punitive actions ARE the same as Israel's."

    I'm enthusiastically in favor of comprehensive voluntary economic, political, and social sanctions. Non-violent voluntary actions, like external sanctions, aren't even remotely close to being in the same league as Israel's punitive actions against Palestinians. All Israeli punitive economic actions are enforced at gunpoint, and Israelis have never been shy about pulling the trigger. Look at a map of the convoluted Palestinian transportation network in the West Bank. Villages are cut off from their farmland by fences with arbitrary times of access. Transit times between towns and cities are an order of magnitude higher than what they would be without the maze of checkpoints and detours away from Jewish-only roads, etc, etc, etc. And then ……….. and then there is Gaza.

    We have a right to choose from whom we will buy goods and services, and a right to lobby others freely and openly to choose to do the same. This is not the technique that Israel is using against Palestinians. I will never support, against Israelis or anyone else, either Israeli-style sanctions or the kind of murderous 'dual-use' sanctions that neocons were able to implement against Iraq after the first war.

  17. Duscany
    January 16, 2009, 8:45 pm

    It might be a good idea to boycott Israel but it's also currently illegal. The Department of Commerce has levied massive fines against any company doing that. This from their web site:

    Conduct that may be penalized under the TRA and/or prohibited under the EAR includes:

    Agreements to refuse or actual refusal to do business with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.

    Agreements to discriminate or actual discrimination against other persons based on race, religion, sex, national origin or nationality.

    Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about business relationships with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.

    Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about the race, religion, sex, or national origin of another person.

  18. D.
    January 16, 2009, 9:52 pm

    Duscany, EAA applies to companies. As individuals, we're still allowed to spend our money where we like (so far).

    link to

  19. Marcus
    January 16, 2009, 10:15 pm

    Hertz gets a message:

    link to

  20. American
    January 16, 2009, 11:47 pm


    As D said,that applies only to companies that come under the Commerce dept regulations…not to individuals, groups or any kind of investment entities.

    BTW…we had the same kind of regulations on the books for S. Africa and they were boycotted anyway and the law not enforced.

    And …the Commerce dept has not levied massive fines on any companies…in 10 years they have only fined two companies to the tune of 50,000 and less and one of them was a foreign company operating the US.

    Israel will be boycotted. They are already being boycotted in several European countries.

  21. Eurosabra
    January 16, 2009, 11:54 pm

    Of course, you have to stop taking Teva pharmaceuticals and using Intel computers with chips made in Kiryat Gat. And no IM Chat, pill cameras, or CAT scans. Good luck with that then.

  22. D.
    January 17, 2009, 12:33 am

    Your strategy for ingratiating yourself with the nations might need some honing, Euro.

  23. Duscany
    January 17, 2009, 1:47 am

    American: "we had the same kind of regulations on the books for S. Africa and they were boycotted anyway and the law not enforced."

    I hope you're right, though I fear anyone starting any boycotts will soon start getting government threats.

  24. Colin Murray
    January 17, 2009, 8:47 am

    Duscany, can you please post a link to the DoC website from you you cite? I'm not at all disbelieving you. I just think it is important and I want to examine it very closely. I wonder if it is a 'regulation', perhaps enacted by executive order, or if its authority stems from Congressional legislation.

    I found a webpage that describes the html for hypertext links, Hypertext Links in HTML. I'd post the code myself, but I don't know how to disable its interpretation. There are a gazillion sites that show basic html, just google for more.

    quick and dirty way: use the following as a template, but without the periods following the < 's.
    <.a href=>PUT YOUR TEXT TO LINK HERE<./a>

  25. anon
    January 17, 2009, 11:33 am
  26. Richard Witty
    January 17, 2009, 1:13 pm

    You said that Israel's use of the point of the gun is different than the solidarity against Israel.

    I differ.

    The point of punitive sanctions are to FORCE, from outside, and by force.

    If the actions of Hamas are included in the set of what is being done to hold Israel accountable, then the point of a gun is in the portfolio.

    Israel is accused of starving Gaza. And in, "non-punitive" response, the intent of solidarity is to starve Israel.

    You've got to look at yourself, not only at the other.

  27. chimpsky
    January 17, 2009, 2:18 pm


    there have been many reports of problems with Teva's generic drugs. ask your pharmacist what generic they're using and if it's teva you could choose to go elsewhere. Joe Graedon (the people's pharmacy) blew the whistle on this:

    FDA Report Disappoints
    Joe and Terry's Blog April 22, 2008

  28. John Lewis-Dickerson
    January 17, 2009, 5:37 pm

    Gaza Stirs World Boycott of Israel Goods

    As their army is continuing its deadly blitz in the bombed-out Gaza Strip, Israeli farmers are reporting a wide-scale boycott of their produce by Arab and European countries over the Israeli onslaught in Gaza……

    link to

  29. libhomo
    January 18, 2009, 1:18 pm

    Richard Witty: You are playing silly word games that no reasonable person would ever take seriously.

  30. John Lewis-Dickerson
    January 19, 2009, 2:33 pm

    From South Africa to Israel
    Time for a New Divestment Campaign

    ……First, we must see Israel with the same eyes as we saw South Africa in the apartheid years – as a racist nation deserving of international isolation and sanctions. Second, we must demand that the United States end its $30 billion a year military support to the country. Third, we should organize, confront and demand that public bodies such as universities, local and state governments divest their portfolios from companies that do business in or with Israel. Fourth, we should identify and boycott those companies that do business with and in Israel. Fifth, we should call for a cultural boycott of Israel, and boycott those artists who perform in the country…….

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to

  31. Dameocrat
    January 22, 2009, 3:26 am

    A boycott is the best approach in light of the complete impossibility of getting any kind of evenhandedness from the American Government.

    You need to go after easy targets and not hard to impossible ones, otherwise your just pissin in the wind.

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