Start A Petition

Operation Cast Lead Taking Toll on Israeli Businesses Overseas

Business  (tags: corporate, abuse, business, corruption, ethics, GoodNews, humans, politics, money, world )

- 3408 days ago -
Although there have been no reported cancellations of existing deals, the union of Turkish cooperatives, affiliated with the Turkish Agriculture Ministry, announced on its Web site Wednesday it would place an embargo on financing purchases from Israel.

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


Pete m (67)
Monday January 19, 2009, 5:58 pm
Although there have been no reported cancellations of existing deals, the union of Turkish cooperatives, affiliated with the Turkish Agriculture Ministry, announced on its Web site Wednesday it would
place an embargo on financing purchases from Israel.

The organization offers subsidies to farmers in place of the state agricultural bank. With such an embargo, Turkish farmers will prefer to buy their agricultural supplies from other sources.

Israel's commercial attache in Turkey, Doron Abrahami, said that although it is very difficult to develop new business in Turkey, no cancellations of existing contracts had been reported.

The Turkish government had also rejected pressure from MPs to cancel security-related contracts with Israel. Nevertheless, the Manufacturers' Association here recently reported that a delegation of 30 industrialists in the furniture sector that had planned to travel to Istanbul had canceled the trip in view of anti-Israel hostility and concerns for the
delegation's safety.

Britain has seen isolated instances of company's refusing to negotiate with Israeli companies over the fighting in the south. "There have been two or three small information technology companies who refused proposals by Israeli companies to do business," reports Israel's commercial attache in Britain, Gil Erez.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken an unequivocal stance in favor of Israel and against Hamas, which appears to have contributed to the mood of doing business with Israel, says Israel's commercial attache. Nevertheless, there have been some cancellations of planned tourist visits to Israel from January through May, due to the security situation.

In Paris and New York, there were similar reports. While there have been no major shifts in commercial activity between Israel and local businesses so far, the shadow from the war in the south could grow longer.

Marion Y (322)
Monday January 19, 2009, 7:50 pm
They brought it on themselves. Thanks Pete!

pete O (242)
Tuesday January 20, 2009, 1:54 am
Chancellor Angela Merkel ? that will be the h word, Brown says he will be sending our navy to prevent arms from getting to Hammas. who is pulling his strings.

AWAY AWHILE Cal Mendelsohn (1067)
Tuesday January 20, 2009, 4:09 am
Thanks for the information--a very good article. Every worthwhile (controversial) endeavor has its side effects!

Simon Wood (207)
Tuesday January 20, 2009, 11:21 pm
Hey Cal, are you saying that you think that it is worthwhile for Israel to massacre hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including hundreds of children???

Free Palestine from Israeli military oppression!!!

Pete m (67)
Wednesday January 21, 2009, 8:06 am
Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction

By Naomi Klein - January 8th, 2009

It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa.

In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on "people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era." The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions—BDS for short—was born.

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 even in the face of these clear calls, many of us 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. Here are the top four objections to the BDS strategy, followed by counterarguments.

1. Punitive measures will alienate rather than persuade Israelis. The world has tried what used to be called "constructive engagement." It has failed utterly. Since 2006 Israel has been steadily escalating its criminality: expanding settlements, launching an outrageous war against Lebanon and imposing collective punishment on Gaza through the brutal blockade. Despite this escalation, Israel has not faced punitive measures—quite the opposite. The weapons and $3 billion in annual aid that the US sends to Israel is only the beginning. Throughout this key period, Israel has enjoyed a dramatic improvement in its diplomatic, cultural and trade relations with a variety of other allies. For instance, in 2007 Israel became the first non–Latin American country to sign a free-trade deal with Mercosur. In the first nine months of 2008, Israeli exports to Canada went up 45 percent. A new trade deal with the European Union is set to double Israel's exports of processed food. And on December 8, European ministers "upgraded" the EU-Israel Association Agreement, a reward long sought by Jerusalem.*

It is in this context that Israeli leaders started their latest war: confident they would face no meaningful costs. It is remarkable that over seven days of wartime trading, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange's flagship index actually went up 10.7 percent. When carrots don't work, sticks are needed.

2. Israel is not South Africa. Of course it isn't. The relevance of the South African model is that it proves that BDS tactics can be effective when weaker measures (protests, petitions, back-room lobbying) have failed. And there are indeed deeply distressing echoes of South African apartheid in the occupied territories: the color-coded IDs and travel permits, the bulldozed homes and forced displacement, the settler-only roads. Ronnie Kasrils, a prominent South African politician, said that the architecture of segregation that he saw in the West Bank and Gaza was "infinitely worse than apartheid." That was in 2007, before Israel began its full-scale war against the open-air prison that is Gaza.

3. Why single out Israel when the United States, Britain and other Western countries do the same things in Iraq and Afghanistan? Boycott is not a dogma; it is a tactic. The reason the BDS strategy should be tried against Israel is practical: in a country so small and trade-dependent, it could actually work.

4. Boycotts sever communication; we need more dialogue, not less. This one I'll answer with a personal story. For eight years, my books have been published in Israel by a commercial house called Babel. But when I published The Shock Doctrine, I wanted to respect the boycott. On the advice of BDS activists, including the wonderful writer John Berger, I contacted a small publisher called Andalus. Andalus is an activist press, deeply involved in the anti-occupation movement and the only Israeli publisher devoted exclusively to translating Arabic writing into Hebrew. We drafted a contract that guarantees that all proceeds go to Andalus's work, and none to me. In other words, I am boycotting the Israeli economy but not Israelis.

Coming up with our modest publishing plan required dozens of phone calls, e-mails and instant messages, stretching from Tel Aviv to Ramallah to Paris to Toronto to Gaza City. My point is this: as soon as you start implementing a boycott strategy, dialogue increases dramatically. And why wouldn't it? Building a movement requires endless communicating, as many in the antiapartheid struggle well recall. The argument that supporting boycotts will cut us off from one another is particularly specious given the array of cheap information technologies at our fingertips. We are drowning in ways to rant at one another across national boundaries. No boycott can stop us.

Just about now, many a proud Zionist is gearing up for major point-scoring: don't I know that many of those very high-tech toys come from Israeli research parks, world leaders in infotech? True enough, but not all of them. Several days into Israel's Gaza assault, Richard Ramsey, the managing director of a British telecom specializing in voice-over-internet services, sent an email 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."

Ramsey says that his decision wasn't political; he just didn't want to lose customers. "We can't afford to lose any of our clients," he explains, "so it was purely commercially defensive."

It was this kind of cold business calculation that led many companies to pull out of South Africa two decades ago. And it's precisely the kind of calculation that is our most realistic hope of bringing justice, so long denied, to Palestine.

*On January 14, in response to Israel's aggression in Gaza, the EU called off its plans to upgrade the EU-Israel Association Agreement, a sign of growing understanding that political sanctions can be brought to bear to bring an end to the war.

This column was first published in The Nation

nurith k (93)
Wednesday January 21, 2009, 11:42 am

Marion Y (322)
Wednesday January 21, 2009, 12:59 pm
Thanks Pete. Naomi Klein is an outstanding example of an educated Jewish citizen who understands the need to end Israel's reign of terror against the Palestinians. I am so proud of her work.

Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction

Blue Bunting (855)
Wednesday January 21, 2009, 1:02 pm
Israeli human rights activists: Arrest Olmert, Livni, and Barak for war crimes -

Lynn C (94)
Sunday April 28, 2013, 2:35 pm
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


butterfly credits on the news network

  • credits for vetting a newly submitted story
  • credits for vetting any other story
  • credits for leaving a comment
learn more

Most Active Today in Business

Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.

New to Care2? Start Here.