Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Is the Boycott Movement Gaining Traction?

Gal Beckerman at the Forward thinks it is.

Yet note that his article, like most pieces that seek confirmation that the boycotters are beginning to hurt Israel, never gives numbers. Ultimately it's an economic matter, after all: can Israel be made to hurt so badly that it makes a difference. So you'd think the boycotters would have a big chart with numbers: the size of Israel's economy, stats on various segments of it, targets that need to be reached so as to make a difference - that sort of thing.

But of course there is none of this. As even Beckerman sort of admits, the boycott movement is fundamentally about having a world without Israel; if that's the goal, the boycotters might note that the Jews have faced much worse foes in the past, and from abysmally worse starting positions.

So far, 2009 is proving less of a problem for Israel's economy than for most developed countries. (See the various financial and economic indicators of The Economist).

Then, of course, you've got the ludicrous aspects of the movement:
Ironically, Barghouti, who appears to be one of the movement’s chief strategists, is currently in a master’s degree program in philosophy at Tel Aviv University — even though he is one of the founding members of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. He has been one of the activists strongly pushing the greater BDS movement in the direction of opposing any institution associated with Israel. Asked about his affiliation with an institution he wants boycotted, Barghouti declined to discuss his personal life.


Anonymous said...

Absurd, beyond reproach.

Gob-smacking, in fact. These boycotters have no honor, brains or inner-monologue.

Anonymous said...

But a lot of the recent boycott announcements have been limited to companies that do business directly connected to the occupation, whether building the Wall or settlements. Shouldn't a distinction be made between boycotts designed to protest a particular policy (lets say, settlements) and boycotts designed to protest the very existence of the State of Israel?! Let's say I were to boycott an American company involved in the upkeep of Guantanamo Bay. Would that make me "anti-American"???

Anonymous said...

Does this mean that Barghouti will be boycotted at institutions that boycott Israeli academics?

Victor said...

Let's note, also, that 99.9% of the Arab world has been boycotting Israel since its creation.

To this day, Saudi Arabia forces American companies to sign a disclaimer attesting that none of the components used in their products are of Israeli origin.

This happens to be against US law, and is causing a mini-furor on Capitol Hill in the last week. Saudi Arabia had promised to stop such an overt boycott prior to entering the WTO (trade boycotts, for ANY reason, are against WTO laws), but the volume of such disclaimers it is forcing American companies to sign is growing something like 70% year on year since 2003.

Yes, Israel is also in the WTO, so in theory Israel could sue Saudi Arabia for putting up trade barriers. Hmm... Maybe someone should follow up on that.