Thursday, 24 December 2009

Boycotting Britain

It's hard to believe, but Israeli parliamentarians are threatening to boycott British goods. Fourty two MKs - over a third of Israeli parliamentarians - have signed the 'Knesset says no to British products' petition calling for:

"a boycott of British goods in the wake of the [British] government's recommendation that Israeli products made beyond the Green Line be marked as such."

Apparently they plan to start the boycott with Marks and Spencers. (Going for the quality then).

The boycott envisaged is shortsighted for the following reasons:

(1) It makes a mockery of previous arguments used by those opposed to boycotts of Israel. Statements such as 'boycotts don't work' and 'boycotts undermine collaboration and dialogue' seem less persuasive when the people saying it are themselves engaged in boycotting others.

(2) Israel is engaged in huge amounts of trade with Israel. If they start boycotting companies like Marks and Spencers, this could end up hurting the Israeli suppliers of those companies.

(3) Britain's proposed action is simply to mark products made in the West Bank as being products made in the West Bank. Why is this so controversial? If Israel launches a boycott in response it will be perceived as a childish overreaction.

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