Israeli settlement exports from the Jordan Valley down $29 million in 2013 due to international boycott

An Israeli farm in the Jordan Valley (Photo: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

An Israeli farm in the Jordan Valley (Photo: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

The Associated Press reports that the success of the international boycott movement is starting to squeeze Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley:

An international campaign to boycott Israeli settlement products has rapidly turned from a distant nuisance into a harsh economic reality for Israeli farmers in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley.

The export-driven income of growers in the valley’s 21 settlements dropped by more than 14 percent, or $29 million, last year, largely because Western European supermarket chains, particularly those in Britain and Scandinavia, are increasingly shunning the area’s peppers, dates, grapes and fresh herbs, settlers say.

“The damage is enormous,” said David Elhayani, head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, which represents about 7,000 settlers. “In effect, today, we are almost not selling to the (Western) European market anymore.

The article continues:

But economic worries are growing for some of the valley’s farmers.Niva Benzion, who lives in the Netiv Hagdud settlement, used to sell 80 percent of her sweet peppers and grapes to supermarket chains in Western Europe, particularly in Britain.Sales to Western Europe plummeted in the past two years, she said, adding that she now sells mostly to Eastern Europe and Russia, for up to 40 percent less. She reduced her growing area by one-third this season and doubts she can make ends meet in the future.Zvi Avner, head of the agriculture committee in the Jordan Valley, confirmed that sales of peppers and grapes to Western Europe — mainly Britain and Scandinavia — have dropped by about 50 percent and fresh herbs by about 30 to 40 percent.Avner and Elhayani said they are confident they can overcome the difficulties by selling in new markets and by farming more effectively.

Michael Deas, a coordinator for the BDS movement is Europe says, “Supermarkets are now starting to realize that there’s a really big reputational risk involved here.”

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel/Palestine, Occupation

{ 25 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. amigo says:

    Gee, are not the zios telling us BDS is of no consequence.

    People are beginning to find it far less intimidating to speak out about this subject.

    I will always bend someone,s ear if I see them hovering around Israeli products.Mostly they respond by telling me they were not aware and will be on the lookout for more “Contraband”.

    BDS –the best food to cure your zionist disease with.

    • People are beginning to find it far less intimidating to speak out about this subject.

      you know what’s really interesting to me amigo. this AP article was first published (or i first saw it) by the star tribune (minn.) on sat morn, a friend sent it in an email. then someone posted it here from ynet yesterday. then a friend sent it to me from wapo. i just think it is very interesting it’s gotten such wide coverage. i also read a report in hebrew over the weekend, really devastating. i’ll see i can find the link.

      • link to google.com

        speaking of wide coverage, here’s my point:

        Reporter Newspapers

        Israeli settlements face “harsh” European boycott: report
        Philly.com (blog)-32 minutes ago
        “An international campaign to boycott Israeli settlement products has rapidly turned from a distant nuisance into a harsh economic reality for Israeli farmers in the …

        Settlers: Boycotts starting to hurt
        Waterbury Republican American-9 hours ago
        … An international campaign to boycott Israeli …

        Israeli settlements hit by boycott campaign
        HeraldNet-Jan 12, 2014

        Jordan Valley settlements hit by boycott campaign
        Washington Observer Reporter-Jan 11, 2014

        Israel settlements hit by boycott campaign
        Yakima Herald-Republic-Jan 11, 2014

        Jordan Valley settlements hit by boycott campaign
        Iron Mountain Daily News-Jan 11, 2014

        Jordan Valley settlements hit by boycott campaign
        Westfield Republican-Jan 10, 2014

        Jordan Valley settlements hit by boycott campaign
        Salt Lake Tribune-Jan 10, 2014

        Jordan Valley settlements hit by boycott campaign
        Shepherdstown Chronicle-Jan 10, 2014

        Jordan Valley settlements hit by boycott campaign
        KDWN-Jan 10, 2014

        Jordan Valley settlements hit by boycott campaign
        The Inter-Mountain-Jan 10, 2014

        Israel’s Jordan Valley settlements hit by international boycott campaign
        The Herald-Times -Jan 10, 2014

        Jordan Valley settlements hit by boycott campaign
        Marietta Times-Jan 10, 2014

        Jordan Valley settlements hit by boycott campaign
        Steubenville Herald Star-Jan 10, 2014

        The Idaho Statesman-, Daily Mining Gazette-, Southernminn.com, etc etc and it goes on like that in little papers across the country for 6 pages. i watch trends in the news and it’s not that common for BDS or a story about the jordan valley to get this kind of coverage. why now? is this a way of pressuring israel?

        • amigo says:

          Annie, I would like to think it is the exponential factor at work.That is probably overly optimistic but something is different in just 1 or 2 yrs.

          Maybe it,s the Nietanyahu/Lie-berman/Bennet factor.

          Either way, it is all good.

        • pabelmont says:

          It’s one thing to report the boycott and its results (merely) as BUSINESS or ECONOMIC news. It’d be another to explain WHY the boycott is happening — thereby to allow Americans to wonder either [1] why these Europeans are such awful antisemiters or [2] why Americans are not also boycotting.

          Danger here. But the boycott (and also the Dutch Pension pullout) are NOT merely ecomonic.

        • ToivoS says:

          annie, good catch. This is an interesting development. I suspect it might mean that there are many reporters across this country that are very skeptical of Israel but do not have many avenues to report their feelings. This is simple business news and cannot be easily construed as a criticism of Israel.

          The question is why the Jordan Valley farmers are publicizing their plight. I suspect that the target audience is inside Israel. They might be trying to pressure the Knesset to provide them with support. Perhaps hoping that laws will be passed giving Jordan Valley products special advantages inside the Israeli markets by encouraging green line farms to increase their exports to Europe.

          Whatever the reason, they seem to have lost control of the story and it is a major propaganda boost for the BDS movement.

        • brenda says:

          Annie, I resonate strongly to your observation and I think it does in fact carry a lot of significance. I noticed an excellent AP story on the I-P peace negotiations a couple of weeks ago, very widely distributed, and for the US market, unusually fairly balanced:

          link to salon.com

          The writer is the same as this piece on the boycott of the occupied territories, Karin Laub. I was so taken with that AP story on the peace negotiations and then I noticed a sentence at the end describing the writer:
          “Karin Laub is the chief correspondent for the Palestinian territories and has covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1987.”

          yes, it’s a big step forward for mainstream American media, to use a journalist based in Palestine, not Tel Aviv

  2. Mike_Konrad says:

    But how much industrial technology is coming out of the West Bank? This may offset the losses.

    BDS will not work. Israel is not South Africa. She has control of key industries.

    • ToivoS says:

      BDS will not work.

      Now that is an interesting response to incontrovertible evidence that BDS is in fact working. Mike you invite us to speculate on the working of your mind.

      • puppies says:

        @ Toivo : I think I can guess what he means in his kinky mind.
        “It’s not working” means that he is (rightly, IMHO) convinced that his brand of crazies are really crazy, not like the logical operators of South Africa. So racist that they are sincerely ready to go down in flames, as long as said flames also burn the Philistines and the Pali-loving Eurotrash goys. So boycott and sanctions by themselves are not likely to pull down their racist dictatorship. It will take a lot more, including a major crack in the US Empire and a huge amount of violence to all.

        PS Of course his comment shows that BDS is working as a wake-up call, and how!

      • piotr says:

        Yes, this is a proper usage. Beats me why: there are definitely guys named Israel, and among women, I am not familiar even with an Israela. As a result, Israeli’s are often confused about gender and the country has flourishing GLTG movement.

        I also would like to know what industries are controlled by Israel. The main export of South Africa was gold, and they were the World’s main supplier, so cutting off export markets of SA was surely not easy. In case of Israel, the most cited product was Intel chips, and clearly Intel is a multinational with production facilities and design labs around the world. The second example were military drones etc. Pretty soon Iran will be offering knockoffs of American drones (copied from an intercepted drone).

    • Dutch says:

      @ Mike_Konrad
      ‘BDS will not work.’

      So what exactly is this article about?

    • libra says:

      Mike_Konrad: She has control of key industries.

      There are always substitutes Mike. Let’s say Phil cut off all Israeli-sourced hasbara at Mondoweiss. I bet we’d hardly notice the difference. The void would instantly be filled by an increase in locally-produced lies, half-truths, deceit, distortion and off-the-wall lunacy from assorted Israel Firsters, Liberal Zionists, Not-a-Zionists, Christian Zionists and other Useful Idiots. Plus the odd Useless Idiot.

      • Keith says:

        LIBRA- “Plus the odd Useless Idiot.”

        Ah, recognition! Thanks, Libra, I feel better already!

        • libra says:

          Keith: I feel better already!

          Keith, I hate to spoil your day but unless I see you post a comment that it’s the Empire currently pushing for new sanctions on Iran and not the Lobby I’m keeping you in the Recovering Idiot category. Let’s just hope Dan doesn’t turn up again in 2014 and drag you out on all night bender.

          • Keith says:

            LIBRA- I had forgotten about your obsession with The Lobby and your denial of empire. I can tell that you miss Dan. Like you, I hope he returns! That would be great fun! However, I am afraid that I am not up to an all night bender since I go to bed at 10:00.Try to remember that there is more to life than The Lobby and that Israel is but a part of a much bigger picture. Take care.

  3. American says:

    I saw the strangest thing on MSNBC yesterday…well maybe not so strange considering—-it was a program on the Palestine ‘terrorist’ bombing and attacks on Israelis (years ago) —had Israelis and Jewish Americans injured by the attacks describing their injuries and moaning and etc…..
    I didnt have time to watch the whole thing so dont know if it ever showed the Israelis attacks on Palestine—–I really doubt it…….if they didnt then this was **pure political propaganda** by US news outlet….
    When major media can be recognized by people in the know as a ‘Propaganda Arm of a State—then we can assume some people are desperate and really panicing over the growing BDS and isolation of bad Israel….and of the growing number of people willing to call it out.

  4. oldgeezer says:

    There is no visible, organized BDS movement or group in my area. I have personally avoided buy Irsaeli products (and a few other countries at the same time) whenever possible.

    One product that is difficult to purchase is clementines. They tend to fly off the shelves and if you’re a day late then you are out of luck. A supermarket may have a couple of hundred pounds when it gets a shipment.

    A while ago a local superstore have had what I would estimate to be a ton of Israeli (clearly labelled) clementines. I’ve never seen a display as large for any single item. Despite sales prices the product remained on the display rotting. A few months later they attempted the same thing with the same result.

    Despite the lack of organization and advertising it is clear that people are boycotting Israel products.

    I have seen the same thing with with a pre minced garlic product.

    • Dutch says:

      @ oldgeezer
      ‘I have seen the same thing with a pre minced garlic product.’

      I guess we see the same thing happening to the state of Israel.

    • puppies says:

      Remarkable. What country do you live in?

    • piotr says:

      I buy Israeli products only on deep sale, Kedem tea biscuits. When on sale they seem to move off the shelf. Concerning clementines, I decided to avoid. Easy to peel, but big oranges actually are easy hard to peel, taste better and are cheeper even on peel-free basis. The best clementines are better, but they are quite inconsistent.

      Soda Stream is a strange case indeed. When and where I grew up, this type of seltzer water bottle with a replaceable cartridge was in most households, and very cheap, even in a poor country. This is a product that uses a technology which is at least 60 years old and should be very easy to make everywhere, so the content is styling and marketing. For strange reason, all equivalent products are expensive. How high lords of the markets decide what is cheap and what is expensive is unclear to me.

      Take fresh herbs. Poor Moroccans use them in large quantities (especially mint). I bet that getting them from Morocco would be very cheap. Or from Central America. Why are there insanely expensive Israeli herbs in American supermarkets?

  5. just says:

    Sweet, sweet news!

    R. Cohen has another, mostly nutsy, “editorial” in wapo, but he does say this:

    “What matters most about the boycotts is what they represent — widespread and growing antipathy toward the Jewish state. It’s facile to attribute this entirely to anti-Semitism, although it surely lurks here and there. But in the United States at least, anti-Semitism is a spent force — witness the appointment of the third Jew in a row to head the Federal Reserve.”

    and

    “I had lunch with Ariel Sharon about a month before he suffered the stroke that incapacitated him and led to his death Saturday. He strongly suggested that he would do in the West Bank what he had done in Gaza — pursue some sort of withdrawal. The details were murky, but his general intentions were not. Sharon realized that Israel faced a demographic nightmare — too many Palestinians, too few Jews — and maybe also he realized that the occupation was tarnishing one of the 20th century’s resplendent achievements, the creation of a nation from the ashes of Auschwitz. He did not say.

    The boycott resolutions are coldly barren of historical understanding or empathy, and they are painful to read. But what they say is not as important as the sound they make. The Israel I love is increasingly hated.”

    link to washingtonpost.com

    • Ellen says:

      The Cohen article repeats an imagined fantasy that Is now making the rounds among the pundit gatekeepers:

      that Sharon was going to completely dismantle the same settlement project he built. But there is absolutely no evidence of his intention to do this. As for pulling settlers out of Gaza? It was not only his stated formaldehyde strategy, but also one based in military tactics. Surrounding and slow strangulation of a territory. Hamas (an Israeli creation, btw) was the justification to the world for strangulation of a people and territory.

      The ole’ “Anti Semitic” Jewish phobia meme is put in for good order. That some Judeophobes will always be around and will jump into any criticism of Israel, right or wrong is irrelevant. So what? Israel is not Judaism. It is a State. And like any real state does not hide behind, false cries of irrational anti-whatever.

      (Besides, criticism of the Catholic Church, or Arab Kingdoms, for examples, brings out anti-Catholic or anti Arab bigots like flies. So what? No reason at all to suppress well-deserved criticism that is part of the package. Bring it on.)

      Then he repeats the ugly “hate” word. Everyone “hates” us….blah blah. It is the rhetoric of the unhinged adolescent shouting at his parents in a rage of victim hood.

      The orders are out.

      We’re going to hear more memes and fantasies that Sharon was really going to dismantle the settlements (as if that is relevant what one projects the dead leader thought );

      Deflections that BDS/criticism is a guise for Judeophobes, and we’ll hear lots more whining about “hate.”

      It is all so unhinged, dishonest and weak, really.

  6. piotr says:

    ” We haven’t managed to create an effect around the Iranian agreement, because our voice was not sufficiently heard, because our standing is not as it should be.”

    It is confusing because I do not keep track what does Richard and Roger Cohen say, and they are not “all the same”, even though plural is used in this sentence ( = all R. Cohens? all Cohens? all Jews?). R. Cohen in question remains confused. “Our standing is not as it should be”.

    On the issue of Iran it is ludicrous to claim that the voices of Jews who are sponsors of sanction resolution in the Senate are not heard. They almost control the chamber. And they are heard in the House, in the media and so on. The problem is that the ideas advanced on the Iran issue by Zionist mainstream are so fantastically bad that they cannot be implemented. A military attack on Iran would result, at best, in short term economic calamity and long term diplomatic disaster, because enough Eurasian countries would oppose it: very few are fond of the idea of regime change accomplished by military force, so it would be GCC, Israel against everybody else. Under those circumstances every possible American action can be countered (up to an economic and/or nuclear ultimatum).

    Thus would warmongers prevail, orchestrated by “major Jewish organizations” working in concert, it would be a total disaster for people like R. Cohen (yes, both of them). This is Lobby perspective for you. Keep pressing your chosen causes and leave it to others how far it can be accommodated without making of the disaster, and scream bloody murder when a disaster is averted (or sob sadly).

    The issue of Iran reveals collective Lobby insanity. As Derschowitz observed, “I know nobody cares about Palestinians”. So if mistreating Palestinians is a collective hobby of the Lobby, they can pull it out. Done and done. But then comes anobservation that Palestinians are not as obedient as they should be, and diagnosis: it is because they get and hope for outside support. So we have to neutralize and isolate their supporters. And their supporters. And now the chain reached Iran. Iran is a little to large and too strategically located to get isolated, barring totally irrational leadership. And the leadership is remarkably rational. The further links of the chain go to Russia, China, India and Pakistan. We are talking about The Great Game where Israel is what it is: a puny state, however skillful the lobbying is.