And why it might even hinder a political solution.
By Yonathan Mizrachi
Political movements calling for an economic boycott of Israel are working to advance a model based on the boycott of Apartheid South Africa and the critical role it played in ending white minority rule in that country. The parallel drawn between the economic boycott of South Africa and the one advanced by Palestinians and pro-Palestinians activists against Israel reinforces the view that Israel is an apartheid state.
However without going into the question of whether Israel is an apartheid state, it is clear that one of the central motives underlying the boycott is anger toward Israel and its policies in the occupied territories, and the need to take action based on ethical standards. Despite the anger and the justified criticism of Israel, the economic boycott is destined to fail.
Take the political map in the 1990s compared to today. When the Eastern Bloc was in the process of dissolution and began its first steps toward Westernization, the West was at the peak of its political power. The collapse of significant political and military threats after more than four decades of the Cold War, along with the formation of the European Union, left no room for doubt regarding the undisputed status of Western states in global politics.
In those years, the GDP of Western Europe, North America, Australia and Japan comprised 62 percent of the world economy (according to the world GDP in 1991). If we add the newly-democratized states of Eastern Europe and the democracies of the Far East, such as South Korea, to the list, we will find that Western democracies controlled two thirds of the world economy.
Twenty-five years later, the same countries make up only 38.8 percent of global GDP (including Japan and not including the other Asian countries and Eastern Europe). Thus, economically speaking, a boycott by Western states would be less effective today than in the past.
Although Europe succeeded in affecting the economy of a strong state like Russia through sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine, Russian policy remained unchanged. The most notable case where economic pressure did is Iran. But can boycotting Israel have the same effect? In looking at the world political map in the context of Israel, it is safe to assume that countries such as the United States, Germany, Britain, and likely France and Italy, will not support a boycott...Read More