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Israelis only understand force — and it makes them angrier, polls show

New polls find that a majority of Jewish Israelis support the ‘voluntary transfer’ of West Bank Palestinians, a majority want to strip East Jerusalem Palestinians of Israeli residency. It’s true that most peace efforts followed war and violence — but not because the Israeli public wants them. Even in times of crisis, a brave leader can change all that.

The latest crisis of violence has become a successful campaign of terror: Israelis are profoundly shaken. Many have reverted to the Second Intifada mentality of personal risk calculations based on self-selected danger factors and fingers in the wind. People avoid Jerusalem and buses, and innocent people have been killed in frenzied anticipation of attacks.

It is too early to know what the lasting impact of the current violence will be, but Israeli attitudes being documented in real time raise some longstanding questions: is violence the only thing that shakes Israeli complacency and makes Israelis consider concessions? Or does it spark an eye-for-an-eye mentality?

A majority of Jewish Israelis supported giving up on the Palestinian areas of Jerusalem in two recent polls – 66 percent in a Maariv poll from mid-October, and 56 percent in a small poll of 300 Israelis for the Knesset channel, published in late October (Channel 2 reported 50 percent from the same survey). The reporting does not specify whether the sample includes Arabs, instead referring to “the Israeli public” – although it is a small sample with a nearly six percent margin of error.

Giving up parts of Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem has generally been considered a center-left position. It reflects the vision of the Oslo, Camp David and Clinton/Geneva two-state negotiations in which the city would be divided so that two states can have their capitals there.

Does this mean Israeli society has tacked to the left? If so, is it true that “Israelis only understand force?” (Of course Israeli Jews are also deeply committed to the image that Palestinians and Arabs only understand force. It is this axiomatic belief that the Right uses to advocate military action as the answer to nearly all political dilemmas.)

Some Israeli analysts insist that Israel has only ever made concessions or advanced peace negotiations after wars: the 1973 Yom Kippur War led to the first Camp David negotiations in 1977 and ultimately the peace agreement with Egypt; the First Intifada led Yitzhak Rabin to realize that the occupation must...

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Jerusalem becoming mini-police state and ghost capital

As tension rises in Jerusalem, Israelis stay away and debate how to resolve problems there while ignoring the West Bank and Gaza. It can’t be done.

It has become common over the last few days to hear that, ironically, the political Right is dividing Jerusalem and not the Left, putting up blockades around Palestinian neighborhoods in response to a spate of attacks. But after two visits to the city this week, it feels like this isn’t just about separating the Palestinian and Israeli neighborhoods — Jerusalem is increasingly divided from Israel itself.

Last week, a colleague who works in Jerusalem proposed a meeting at a Tel Aviv café – he said he wouldn’t dream of dragging anyone to Jerusalem these days. A friend had planned her son’s Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall, but moved it to Rehovot south of Tel Aviv. After attending a peace demonstration in Jerusalem Saturday night, I returned on Monday to speak on a panel. Organizers were worried about attendance. Apparently some people planning to travel from elsewhere had canceled, saying they had families and couldn’t take the risk.

Due to road work, cellular navigation apps automatically route drivers to Highway 443, which runs through the West Bank, rather than the main road from Tel Aviv. There have been scattered attacks on Highway 443 in recent months, but I decided to take it anyway, keeping my mind on the statistical odds. The road was empty – it could have been 2 a.m.

I have never seen less daytime traffic on the ring road around Jerusalem, or in the perennial car-swamp area of Talpiot. Only later, stuck in long strings of vehicles inching out of Palestinian neighborhoods, did I realize that Palestinian and Jewish areas that are adjacent, or intertwined, are one big jam.

I drove to the sprawling neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber to see the fresh-looking concrete panels that had been erected the previous day, a harbinger of more walls running through the city. The area lies next to the Jewish neighborhood Armon Hanatsiv –formally called East Talpiot. The website of Jerusalem’s municipality writes: “The construction policy [in East Talpiot] emphasizes the establishment of satellite neighborhoods to boost the Jewish population of the city, making it unnecessary of build additional… Jewish neighborhoods in the city.”

The lovely, landscaped promenade in Armon Hanatsiv overlooks the Old City. It is now dotted with olive-uniformed Border Police...

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Poll: Most Jewish Israelis think Arab citizens support terrorism

A new poll suggests regular people are now viewing everyone in the ‘other’ ethnic-national group as a violent threat. Is that an indication of the national conflict becoming an ethnic one?

Over three-quarters of Israeli Jews believe that either some (37 percent), most (33 percent)  or all (8 percent) Arab Israelis support the terror of recent weeks, according to a poll published by Israeli news site Maariv on Thursday. Just one-fifth (19 percent) of Jews said that “only a minority (of Arab citizens) support it and the majority oppose” the violence. The wording reflects how the survey was reported in Maariv; the Jewish sample included 503 respondents and a 4.3 percent margin of error; the Arab sample was 304 respondents, with a 5.2 percent margin of error.

The dramatic numbers reflect what I believe is a dangerous shift in the nature of the conflict. The fighting was once primarily over statehood, borders, territory, resources with embedded layers of identity, religion and ethnicity. Now regular people are committing violence primarily based on ethnic or national identity. The survey shows that Jews view anyone associated with the other ethnic-national group as prepared to commit violence against them.

The individual Palestinian attacks on civilians are a statement that for those regular Palestinians – not just members of terror organizations – Jews rather than just soldiers, are targets.

When regular people view all other regular people of the other group as a violent threat or target, it is open ethnic conflict.

Mass hostilities that characterize ethnic conflict are driven by rumor. The very idea that 78 percent of Jews broadly see Arab citizens as supporting the terror helps fuel the violent attacks that have been committed against Arabs in recent weeks.

But only two Palestinian citizens out of 1.7 million living inside Israel proper have actually been involved in attacking Israeli Jews. One brandished a knife, not actually stabbing anyone, before she was shot and wounded by security forces in Afula. Palestinians in East Jerusalem who received citizenship are not included in this count, since their lives and experiences are radically different from those who grew up as part of Israel.

The survey shows further indications that Israeli Jews view their fellow citizens who are Arab as inextricable from the violence. Over six in ten (61 percent) support an economic boycott against all Arab citizens of Israel despite the fact that only one in...

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What are the odds? A statistical look at the stabbing attacks

The chances I will be harmed in a terror attack are very low. A tiny fraction of one percent of Palestinians are involved in recent terror attacks against Israelis, and hardly any are citizens of Israel.

Walking past Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv recently on a crowded sidewalk full of jostling youngsters, I found myself imagining someone attacking me with a screwdriver. It had happened a few days earlier, about one kilometer away. I had a flash of alternate reality, imagining the sharp point digging into my back or side, and doubling over while catching a glimpse of a person running, being caught, pummeled or maybe shot as I fall. I wasn’t exactly scared but it felt detailed, almost physically real. Or maybe that’s what being scared is.

To rid my mind of the gruesome scenario, I considered the actual chances that it would happen.

I calculated. There have been eight Israelis killed in the recent wave of violence, which began on Rosh Hashana, just about one month ago. In 2015 so far, there have been 276 car fatalities, or an average of is 27.6 per month according to Israel’s traffic-safety advocacy group, Or Yarok. The monthly average will probably reach 28 by the time October is over. An Israeli is between three and four times more likely to be killed in a car accident than by a terrorist.

Out of a population of 8.3 million Israelis, that’s one for over a million people. However, many of these were in Jerusalem. If they had all died in Jerusalem, which is close to 900,000 people, that’s just over .00089 percent – or one out of every 112,500 people.

In addition, in the last two weeks, 92 Israelis were wounded, according to a tally published by Ynet a few days ago. That was before a false alarm about a terrorist on a crowded train led someone to pull the emergency break, causing some light injuries and great fear. The Israeli press reported that the injuries included panic attacks. Let’s approximate roughly 120 wounded, including those treated for panic episodes. That’s about .00144 percent of the total population of Israel, or one in every 69,167 people.

There have been about 27 such attacks against Israelis in the current wave of violence depending on exactly which incidents one counts: this includes 23 listed on Israel’s Foreign Ministry website, added to the stone-throwing death of Alexander Levlovich on the eve of...

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Racial attack on Israeli TV crew a sign of extremism turning normal

An attack on a television news crew indicates that the violence of the far right has reached the heart of Israeli cities.

A television crew from Israel’s Channel 2 was attacked on Thursday evening by onlookers while covering a stabbing attack in the northern city of Afula. The reporter, Furat Nasser, is an Arab citizen, while the camera and sound man were Jewish. The men who surrounded them shoved and struck the sound man, who was later hospitalized. In the video men in the crowd can be heard cursing the police, the press, and Arabs. Channel 2 anchor Yonit Levy was visibly shaken as she spoke with Nasser; top media executives immediately condemned the incident.

But the attack did not happen in a vacuum. In just the few minutes of violence, several troubling currents in Israeli society clashed.

First, one of the people in the crowd shouts, “the police are shit,” as the shoving begins. The scuffling goes on and another one aims his words at Nasser – “Arab asshole.” Just before the end of the clip, another one says “take your cameras and leave – you guys coming in to film us – leave.”

In the emotional aftermath of a stabbing attack, why is the anger being pointed at the police? The Israeli right has long nurtured the perception that Israeli authorities are too lenient on Palestinians and do not sufficiently protect Jews – the towering example was the assassination Yitzhak Rabin. But the attitude is usually associated with radical fringes and extremist settlers. The far-right organization “Honenu,” which provides legal representation to Jews detained for violence against Palestinians, has a series of cartoon illustrations on its website; three of them are incendiary attacks on the police.

The Channel 2 attack indicates that far-right suspicions of the police are not limited to settlers, but have reached the heart of Israeli cities.

Similarly, the right in Israel has long held that the entire media has a left-wing bias. They view the liberal daily newspaper Haaretz as no different from the top-viewed television station Channel 2, which is geared at the most mainstream of Israeli viewers.

I have spoken to mainstream centrist and center-right Israelis who take it as a point of fact that the media is left-wing. What that means to these Israelis is that the press portrays religious Jews poorly. The...

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The right-wing solution for the violence

The Israeli Right has offered up legislation to deal with stone throwing, supported new settlements, and at times even championed annexation. The result has only led to a worsening security situation.

In the thick of a wave of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, Israelis are either looking backwards to figure out how we got here, or forward to see if tomorrow things will get worse. And tomorrow looks like a mystery; the Israeli media treats Palestinian violence like the autumn rains that began this week — it  comes and goes arbitrarily.

But what about the longer-term future? Is there any chance for a policy shift? After three wars in Gaza, nothing there fundamentally changed. Regarding the West Bank, several main policy approaches have emerged in recent days: from the broad left, the far right, and the prime minister, who reflects the mainstream right wing in Israel today.

The Israeli Left calls half-heartedly for a negotiated two-state solution. But there is a feeling in the air that they must apologize or keep silent for the special crime of believing that ending military rule through a negotiated political framework could reduce violence. Their voice is stifled, because at moments like these, Israelis view a two-state solution as a prize for violence, or at the very least, a generous concession Palestinians do not deserve.

The left’s all-but discredited approach hardly matters anyway, since it has no political power. The two streams of right-wing thinking are those that will determine Israeli policy now and for the foreseeable future.

The prime minister, as usual, indicates no overall vision regarding the future of the conflict. Instead, Netanyahu used his press conference on Thursday to insist that the current violence is not caused by settlements (or by extension, the occupation). He scoffed that the attackers inside the Green Line “just want to destroy.” He talked about protecting the security of Israeli citizens; nary a word about the long term. It is fair to conclude that there will be no change in his no-policy approach.

The response of the further-right — settlers and certain members of the Jewish Home party and Likud — involves several themes.

Get tough. Many demand a crackdown, as if Israel has been soft until now. Over the summer, Israel passed legislation stipulating sentences of 10-20 years’ prison time for different types of...

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Israeli settler couple killed, and the band plays on

Our hearts are desensitized by horror fatigue, convinced that nothing can change. But we must still try, if not for the dead then for the living.

A lifetime of sorrow lies before four children who became orphans last night when their parents were killed in a hailstorm of bullets on a West Bank road. The children were in the car when it happened, including a four-month-old infant. The oldest was nine. They were unharmed physically, but their suffering is indescribable.

But it’s time to admit that aside from their circle of family and friends, no one else really cares. If we did, we would change our circumstances. Instead, the conditions and sentiments before and after the attack are routine — ritualized. We are caged inside a dystopian daily theater performance, in which actors respond like robots programmed to repeat their lines forever.

The Right, whose settlement expansion agenda has run roughshod through the West Bank for nearly five decades, says the attack demands further settlement expansion. On Wednesday, about 50 families made a pilgrimage to a new site they call “Shalem” – meaning whole – in the same area as the attack, dancing and celebrating the future settlement. Thursday evening, the family was killed on that road. Friday morning, right-wing websites announced a march to the site in response.  It’s a settle-die-and-settle dance.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also repeats his lines verbatim, like a mad caricature of himself: Palestinians, and first of all Mahmoud Abbas, incited the attack and didn’t condemn it. His “sounds of silence” speech in the UN just hours earlier now has a perfect bookend soundbite: “look at the PA’s deafening silence,” despite the fact that “we condemned the attack in Duma.” To Israeli ears, this translates as: Israel wants peace, Palestinians are “bloodthirsty,” as per the right-wing commenters.

The Left, too, offers the usual answers: Zuhair Bahalul from the Zionist Union (Labor Party) said that regular people are paying the price for the frozen political situation. After another recent death, my colleague Lisa Goldman argued that the only way to stop stone throwing in East Jerusalem is to give residents full rights and end the occupation. The left-wing script reads, broadly: the lack of a political resolution feeds the violence. We don’t condone such things, but what can you expect. If we end the occupation and reach a final status accord, the violence will subside.

But these stock lines...

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Polls: Israelis despair of peace, Palestinians have other priorities

New polls show most Israelis supported last summer’s Gaza war, are not interested in taking in Syrian refugees, and agree with Netanyahu on the Iran deal. 

At the start of a Jewish New Year, Israelis took stock of their lives in a series of polls. The highest circulating newspaper, the free right-wing daily Israel Hayom, wrote flashy headlines on the cover of its holiday supplement about what “Israelis” think, but conducted its survey only among Jews. Haaretz’ survey included Arabs but not politics, instead posing fun questions about life habits and some public issues, while ignoring the conflict. The Peace Index, a monthly poll by the Israeli Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, asked about the conflict and other foreign policy issues, which is its raison d’etre. But the results confirm longtime patterns: the majority of Israelis fear existential threats, and despair of peace.

The media-commissioned polls reflect what Israelis prefer to think about: the optimistic personal and public mood, pastimes and choices such as vegetarianism, reading, pot-smoking, vacation activity and sex, social values, cost of living, a smattering of politics. Here are some highlights about how the country thinks.

Closed military zones

- Consistent with all historical findings, the IDF is the most trusted institution tested, with 8.1 average on a scale of 0-10 (10 indicates the highest trust); but Arabs were not asked. (Israel Hayom)

- Seventy percent say it was the right decision to go to war in Gaza last summer – among Jews, 80 percent. Nearly 70 percent percent of Arabs said it was not the right decision. (Peace Index)

- Less than half of the Israeli public (43 percent)  think the results of the war were “good” or “very good.” (Peace Index)

- A majority (53 percent) of Jews believe Israel is a “villa in the jungle.” (Israel Hayom)

- Over three-quarters (78 percent) of Israeli Jews say Israel should not open its doors to refugees from Syria, Iraq, or other countries. (Israel Hayom)

- When told that Europe is absorbing hundreds of thousands of refugees, half of Jews (51 percent) are unmoved. Nearly half (46 percent) say this made them less interested in taking refugees. (Israel Hayom).

- A minority of Jews say Israel should take in a few thousand refugees (16 percent) or an unlimited number (2 percent — Israel Hayom)

Existential threats,...

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A place of dignity for refugees in Berlin

An outpouring of hospitality is on full display at a shelter in the German capital, where volunteers insist on treating refugees as people, not just victims. But as the gifts pour in, how deep is the well of kindness — and what is brewing under the surface?

BERLIN — A few young teenage Arab boys line up loosely, side by side, in a concrete courtyard. They are concentrating hard on four big guys dressed in black, who are busting hip-hop moves to music blaring from an amplifier. The boys bounce a little with the beat, then follow after the big guys, giggling and shaking their legs and hips, executing jumps and turns. One wears sport pads over his knobby knees.

A girl of four or five runs by, curls flying, her face painted from the nose up with swirls of red and silver. A skinny boy tries to stand straight, his feet plunged deep inside bright pink plastic roller blades. A group of men gaze at a guitar player, clapping and filming on their phones.

As scenes of misery roll in from the borders of Hungary, Austria, and the Balkans, this is not a calm country fair, but a snapshot of 763 refugees (last Thursday) from 32 different countries, living in a vast, vacated city hall building in the Wilmersdorf district of Berlin.

In mid-August, German authorities began sending refugees here, with no infrastructure. The Arbeiter Samariter-Bund (Workers’ Samaritan Federation), an independent charity, got involved.

“When this place started,” said Holger Michel, one of the volunteers who is there every day, “there were 150 people, a security team that the municipality brought in, and nothing else.”

That was the situation when a young man named Philipp Bertram heard about it and came to see what he could do to help. He is 24 years old, with the blond boyishness of a surfer. He is originally from Saxony – an area with heavy anti-refugee sentiment, where the anti-Islamic movement Pegida was born. Philipp had worked with refugee projects in the past, and quickly developed “an idea” of the kind of place he wanted to be able to provide.

A few days later, Philipp established a Facebook group to recruit help. Within hours, 300 hundred people had “liked” the page. By that evening, there were one hundred actually volunteering, he says. One month later, there have been a thousand volunteers, some...

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Are Israelis too scared to have opinions anymore?

A law barring public broadcasters from expressing opinions is just the latest in a long line of legislative and regulatory attempts to limit speech in Israel.

At 3:24 a.m. on September 3rd, Israeli parliamentarians passed a controversial law to revamp the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA), the body responsible for public radio and television. At the last minute, right-wing members of Knesset from ultra-Orthodox party United Torah Judaism and Likud snuck in an article stating that public news broadcasters must “avoid one-sidedness, prejudice, expressing personal opinions, giving grades and affixing labels, ignoring facts or selectively emphasizing them not according to their newsworthiness.”

Only 43 out of Israel’s 120 legislators were present and voting at that hour: 25 supported it, with 18 opposed. Journalists were furious and instantly dubbed it a “gag law.” Radio hosts joked that they could no longer say things like “very interesting!” to their guests. Public radio and television in Israel offers high-quality reporting and hard-hitting interviewers who lean both left and right. Most assumed the article would eventually be used to target specific shows – left-leaning ones.

After the outcry, the prime minister promised to strike the offending provision. Ofir Akunis, the Likud minister who had advanced the bill, stepped down as minister responsible for the IBA (he continues as minister of science, technology and space). Nevertheless, The Marker reported that the legislation is already on the books as passed, since it cannot formally be changed until the Knesset returns from recess after the Jewish holidays.

The Communications Ministry said it will not enforce the law. But its Orwellian description as part of the “ethical code” and justifications have been ringing through the public sphere. The Jerusalem Post quotes what amounts to an irreconcilable clash of meanings of freedom of speech:

I’m for freedom of expression,” Eichler (from UTJ, who initiated the item – ds) said…“but no one should be paid with tax money to give one-sided opinions…using a microphone that belongs to the nation… “it is unthinkable that I, as a taxpayer, am paying someone who incites against my beliefs and views.”

… (Ofir) Akunis defended the provision…Journalists send out rude tweets against politicians and don’t show any respect,” he lamented on Army Radio.”

It is the latest in a trend of Israeli politicians using their formal powers to...

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The Left cannot ignore violence against Jews

Two recent incidents in Hebron illustrate the dangerous and wrongful manipulation of violence against civilians to advance political ideology. The Left is guilty too — and it must change.

Masked settlers in Hebron attacked a Palestinian man who was being detained by the Israeli army on Saturday. When a soldier tried to stop them, the Israeli settlers turned on him as well, before discharging pepper spray at the Palestinian.

Last Thursday in Hebron, five young ultra-Orthodox American yeshiva students driving towards the adjacent settlement of Kiryat Arba took a wrong turn into the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabel Johar. A gang of young Palestinians spotted them and attacked their car with stones, then set it on fire.

When I started writing this article, it was supposed to only be about the two violent incidents in Hebron. By the time I finished writing, another person had fallen victim to the conflict. Reham Dawabshe from Duma, near Nablus, became the third person to die of her wounds from a firebomb attack that incinerated her home, her husband and her toddler son.

The incident in Hebron could easily have mirrored the grisly scene in Duma. Instead, the five Jewish students were led out of the car by another young Palestinian who took them up a steep dirt alley. Another Palestinian man rushed them into his home to shelter them. The Jerusalem Post reported that he used one of the students’ phones to call the Israeli security authorities, who came to get the yeshiva students out about an hour later.

The close timing of these attacks creates a sense of helpless symmetry to the violence: Israelis and Palestinians kill or try to kill each other.

Yet that paralyzing sentiment too easily gives way to something worse: each side quickly exploiting the events to prove the evils of the other side.

It is troubling to me that the Left does this too. Even here on +972 Magazine, we reported the settler attack on Palestinians in Hebron, without mentioning the mob that nearly killed the Jewish students just a few days earlier.

The error comes from a mentality that political context is a trump card; that the violence is not symmetrical because (insert “your side”) is the victim.

Context is of course essential, and the political situation in Hebron is explosive: it is the most divided city...

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Nabi Saleh's weapon against occupation: Humiliation

The residents of the small West Bank village, who were recently propelled into the international spotlight, know that neither slingshots nor sophisticated camera angles are their best weapon against military rule.

Many Israelis never heard of Nabi Saleh before a video of a soldier struggling with a child and his women family members went viral.

It wasn’t just the violence of a soldier’s overwhelming might rushing the delicate body of an injured kid that made the video upsetting. There was something horrible about seeing a grown man lose his armed-to-the-teeth cool to a mere child, struggling and cursing as if fighting for his life. He had lost control, not only of the situation, but of himself.

The women who harangued him caused no physical damage. But his soul and his distorted mouth, pulled wide by the women’s fingers, looked tormented.

Military injuries — a bullet or even a rock — can look heroic in popular imagination. Having one’s mouth pried open and the fingers of your enemy stuck inside robs the soldier even of his heroism. The pain of this video for Israelis is that he looks wrecked, violated — humiliated.

The political background to Nabi Saleh’s demonstrations is simple. The villagers are protesting against the settlement of Halamish, across from the village on a neighboring hill, and specifically for the spring that lies between the two communities. Every Friday since 2009, residents of Nabi Saleh march down the road leading out of the village to reach the spring; at the end of the road, the IDF waits to block their exit.

The barricade is a line of Border Policemen bulky with visor helmets, vests, automatic weapons and buzzing communications equipment. They try to disperse the protests with stun grenades, tear gas, rubber and occasionally live bullets and in previous years, tank trucks spewing miasmic “skunk” water. The demonstrators bring flags and chants, and the shabab: the teenage boys or young men hovering on the rocky slopes above the road with stones ready.

This week, right wingers held a demonstration in support of the soldier in the video. A small group gathered at the bottom of the road from Halamish and marched to the spring. Nobody stopped them.

Read: In Nabi Saleh, an occupier’s sense of entitlement

Despite the simple issues, when last...

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The quieter, more dangerous boycott

Three recent divestment cases indicate that even when there are no flashy headlines, maybe especially so, boycott and divestment efforts can have a major impact where it hurts.

The largest supermarket chain in Luxembourg, Cactus, may be considering taking Israeli produce off its shelves unless suppliers can prove they do not come from occupied territory, Israeli news site Ynet reported this week.

If the chain follows through, this would be the latest in a number of related incidents that show European companies’ growing discomfort with contracts, holdings and investments in Israel. The discomfort appears rooted not in ideology or politics, but in dollars – and sense.

In June, the CEO of French telecom giant Orange stated that its brand-use contract with an Israeli mobile operator was becoming a costly political headache in France and overseas, and that he would be prefer to end the contract. His statement prompted a diplomatic incident: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at the company, and France’s foreign minister responded with fast back-peddling.

In August, another massive French company, Veolia, sold the last of its holdings in Israel after several years of phased withdrawal, according to Israeli group “Who Profits.” Veolia had been involved in a range of projects in the region, from bus lines, water and waste management, and perhaps most prominently, the Jerusalem light rail. The company has been a target of boycott activists for years due to its involvement in West Bank projects including transportation services and ownership of a landfill. Critics also charge that the light rail underserves the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem, while contributing to the de facto annexation of the eastern, Palestinian part of the city.

BDS supporters consider Veolia’s move a major victory, while Veolia completely denies any political basis for its decision. In a written statement conveyed through a spokesperson, the company told +972 Magazine that it began a strategic divestment plan in 2011, with all subsidiaries divested by August 2015, but that “[i]n no case has this divestment, or its decision, been the result of a boycott campaign or the opposition of any group whatsoever.”

However, already in 2010 rumors surfaced that Veolia sought to exit the Jerusalem light rail operations due to boycott pressure and concern that it would lose contracts elsewhere. California-based group Global Exchange has documented projects Veolia lost in recent years, claiming links to political campaigns highlighting Veolia’s Israel-Palestine activities and directed at local clients....

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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