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The writing on the wall: Boycott is top story in Israel's No. 1 paper

Following Channel 2 News’ remarkable Saturday night prime-time feature on the boycott of Israel, ‘Yedioth Ahronoth’ delivers same warning in big, bold letters on Monday’s front page.

Front page of ‘Yedioth Ahronoth’, January 20, 2014

“100 leaders of the economy warn of boycott on Israel,” reads the lead headline in Monday’s Yedioth Ahronoth. The sub-headline includes the quote, “The world is losing its patience and the threat of sanctions is increasing. We must reach an agreement with the Palestinians.” The commentary next to it by star columnist Sever Plocker is titled, “It’s the economy, Bibi.”

Yedioth is almost as popular and influential an Israeli newspaper as Channel 2 is an Israeli TV news show. Between Channel 2’s Saturday night prime time wake-up call about the boycott and now this one, it’s likely that the Israeli public is beginning the process of waking up. The Israeli government – probably not so much. Which means the boycott will continue to grow, until some Israeli government in the indeterminate future is awakened by it, too.

The Yedioth story reports that some members of “Breaking the Impasse,” a recently formed group including the biggest names in Israeli and Palestinian business, took their warning to Netanyahu a week ago in a meeting ahead of Wednesday’s World Economic Forum in Davos. “Israel must reach a diplomatic solution – urgently,” a statement from the business leaders said. The group, led by Israeli high-tech partriarch Yossi Vardi and Munib al-Masri, long-time titan of the Palestinian economy, are to meet in Davos after the four-day conference to plan their next moves.

The stagnation in the peace process, which began with the Second Intifada in September 2000, couldn’t last forever. It appears to be stirring now, thanks to one thing: the spread of the boycott from protesters to professors to European governments, a dynamic that has come in response to that stagnation. And I expect the boycott movement to go through a major growth spurt very soon. The nine-month allotment for the Israeli-Palestinian talks runs out on April 29; my guess is that John Kerry is now looking for a way to cut his losses. Everyone understands that when Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was quoted last week in Yedioth  trashing Kerry and his peace mission, he was just echoing Netanyahu’s views.

No matter what Kerry or Obama say on the record about who’s to blame for the failure of the talks, everybody outside of Israel and the Republican Party will know that the guilty party is this country and its ultra-nationalist leadership. At that point the boycott movement will start to gather sympathizers not just from the international Left, but from Western liberals. And the Obama administration will have very little enthusiasm to go to bat for Bibi, Lieberman, Bennett and the settlers. And at some later point the Israeli public will elect a new leadership with a mandate to end the occupation. And then we’ll see …

But for right now, the back-to-back Channel 2 prime-time feature and Yedioth front-page story are the writing on the wall.

Related:
Boycott goes prime-time in Israel
The academic boycott of Israel: No easy answers
What can we learn from the Israel apartheid analogy? 

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  • COMMENTS

      • Ginger Eis

        You the Muslim-Arab Holocaust-denier now thinks that Zionism is the enemy of the Jews? You ain’t very quick, are you?

        Reply to Comment
    1. Mark, London

      “At that point the boycott movement will start to gather sympathizers not just from the international Left, but from Western liberals”

      The BDS movement goes way beyond political allegiances. When it is a simple question of what is right and what is wrong, politics don’t matter. The majority of people instinctively will always, eventually, go with what is right.

      Reply to Comment
      • Marcos

        What a pompous way of ignoring any discussion. Not so cut and dry my friend

        Reply to Comment
      • jjj

        BDS is morally wrong.
        Calling for the destruction of Israel for the so-called rights of the Palestinians is not morally right. You can’t demand rights of one people by destroying another.
        And this is, by and large, the fundamental aspiration of the BDS movement, i.e., the termination of the Zionist regime, and as a consequence, of the Jewish presence in so called Palestine.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          Thanks for exposing them BDS, yet again. Somehow the BDS-buffoons think they are extremely clever and that the world would not see through their treachery, hate and immoral abuse of International (Human Rights) Law. In their pomposity and false righteousness they fail to see that the proverbial death-nails on BDS-coffin is situated inside the aims and goals of BDS itself.

          Reply to Comment
        • Peter Hindrup

          ‘You can’t demand rights of one people by destroying another.’

          Exactly the point made by those of us who support the Palestinians.

          Israels/Zionists believe that their ‘rights’ come before those of the Palestinians. They do not.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Mikesailor

      The trends are leaning against the status quo; therefore watch for a major distraction to get the idea of BDS off the proverbial ‘front pages’. Perhaps the scuttling of the Iran deal or an ‘attack’ upon US national security; something to give the Jewish right-wing a ‘breather’. Of course, publishing the truth: that Israel is due to receive at least $3.1 billion in US taxpater funds, without sequester or major cuts like the American citizens are supposed to weather–that story will not see the light of day in the American main-stream media.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Danny

      I would be encouraged by this if I thought even for a second that the Israeli public is mature and rational rather than the infantile, fantasy-harboring people that they really are. As such, no amount of warning in the media will sway these people until they experience BDS for themselves. When a liter of gas reaches 20 NIS, then the average Israeli will finally take notice.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        The average Israeli will notice, blame the Arabs, the Israeli extreme left (aka traitors) and the Europeans (aka anti-Semites). Seeing Israel weakened by boycotts he will expect a more aggressive defense policy and will reject the idea of making security concessions. Where does this lead to anywhere good?

        Reply to Comment
        • Danny

          הפוך, גוטה, הפוך

          The average Israeli may be childish and stupid, but he/she is far from crazy. When it becomes clear that Israel’s policies are becoming detrimental to the Israeli standard of living, I’m willing to bet we’ll start seeing a lot more born-again leftists demanding, above all, that their government restore the good life they’ve become accustomed to. The average Israeli will never agree to forfeit his/her bread & games for any settlement.

          Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            One almost never blames oneself for his problems. This is especially true when the problems are quite apparently imposed from without. On a national level a similar process applies. This is especially true where there are trivial ideological currents to fall back on and a government in whose interests it is to push people in that direction. There is quite a lot of historical baggage that boycotts and international isolation would fit right into.

            Israelis aren’t crazy. The just happen to be historically traumatized and their reactions are unlikely to be entirely rational by European standards. Also, they are not in Europe. Our neighbors at this very moment are dropping barrels full of explosives and metal debris from helicopters on people they don’t like.

            Born-again lefties? Haha. Look how the left is treated right now when Israel is doing well economically. You are more likely to find a lot more closet lefties in the future you dream of than to find ‘born-again lefties’. You scream boycott and settlements all you want from whatever foreign country you live in. I’ll say that yes there is some economic damage caused by people that wish to destroy the state (aka you leftists) and then point out that the concessions you demand are likely to increase the odds of a bus blowing up with their children on it or of all of them being massacred by the Arabs like in Syria. If the goal is to make Israelis turn left or be more willing to make security concessions, the sanctions/pressure/weaken Israel argument is a losing one.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            You do indeed reveal that you know nothing about the average Israeli and the Israeli government. The average Israeli knows exactly when it is right to force the government to take a different route. The government most often take a different route NOT by giving in to Arab demands, but by smashing the enemy with an iron fist between the eyes. I remember very well when folks like you and “Rehmat” were gloating that suicide-murderers will eventually force on ordinary Israelis the EXACT SAME THINGS you guys are fantasizing on now. Where are we today? Suicide bombers gone! Dead Israeli civilians reduced to almost ZERO! And behold you weep and cry apartheid, apartheid, etc. Brianiac.

            Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        DON’T get your hopes up. BDS has always been with us. But is consistently failed to date. If you are really serious about BDS, start with yourself. Begin by stop using PCs and laptops because many of their basic soft- and hardwares are Israeli. Throw away your USB-sticks right now (they are all Israeli, in case you don’t know), etc. And even if there were to be BDS, BEFORE “a liter of gas reaches 20 NIS” in Israel, WE shall have ruined the economies in Saudi-Arabia, Qatar, etc. and you won’t even be able figure out how it happened. The existence of the State Of Israel will be defended – AT ALL COST. Anyone who does not understand this basic truth is a proverbial “deadender”.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Tzutzik

      “ZIONISM: The Real Enemies of The Jews‘.”

      LOL you people must think we are really stupid, right?

      Had Zionism come to fruition in the 1920s or 30s, millions of Jews would have been saved bacause there would have been one country, Israel, that would have taken Jewish refugees from Nazism in, instead of turning them back at the borders as many countries did. Yes, “the humane”, democratic countries too. FACT!!

      Reply to Comment
    5. Kolumn9

      A bunch of left-leaning businessmen have decided to resort to old fashioned fear mongering to push Israelis into making security concessions. This has got to be the dumbest possible political strategy ever devised. Let’s frighten people into giving up their security! This is about as brilliant as the ASA’s campaign to ‘boycott academic institutions in the interest of academic freedom’. The complete absence of basic reasoning skills on the left is truly mind-blowing.

      At least it is nice to see that they have the capacity to improvise. Until a few months ago the fear-mongering was built on demographic arguments.

      Look, I get it. Kerry called and demanded that they line up and they did. Kudos. I like Kerry. He gets stuff done. Before calling these guys he called some European officials to issue a couple of communiques against doing business in the settlements along with some vague other threats. That got a lot of play too. Barak Ravid over at Haaretz is always game for a leak or two from unnamed European or ‘high-ranking American officials’ on a slow news day to maintain the ‘tension’. The choreography is just marvelous. It is really entertaining to watch this campaign play out.

      Reply to Comment
      • Danny

        Tell me something – what color is the sky in the fantasy world in which you live?

        Kerry called Israeli business people and asked them to apply pressure on their government? Did he actually call up Rami Levy who, last I checked, was a card-carrying Likud member? That would have made for an interesting conversation indeed.

        Why don’t you try to inject a little reality into your thinking and see that these business people – some of them as right-wing as you are – are genuinely afraid for Israel’s future, as they see it with their own two eyes becoming a new version of South Africa.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          You give too little credit to the US State Department. The State Department puts together a nice little group of Israeli and Palestinian businessmen called “Breaking the Impasse” and when it needs some news to put political pressure on Bibi, “Breaking the Impasse” puts out a press release or simply calls one of those nice reporters that are always happy to talk to businessmen and even happier to scare their readers. All it takes is one phone call to Yossi Vardi.

          When it needs some ‘security experts’ to declare any Israeli withdrawal to be reasonable it calls ‘המועצה לשלום ולביטחון’ to put out a ‘report’ that suggests that any and all Israeli security needs can be met with less territory. They just pick up the phone to Shaul Arieli and he puts something together.

          When it needs some ‘international pressure’ it dials up the British Foreign Service or the Ministère des Affaires étrangères or their other European equivalents to put out an ‘advisory’ advising British or French or whatever businesses that settlements are illegal. Few of these organizations ever really liked Israel so it really doesn’t take much prodding to get a choreographed ‘show of displeasure’ which the American government can’t itself display.

          It isn’t that there is a conspiracy. Most of these bodies are extremely happy to comply with American directions because it fits nicely with their goals and in any case the Americans are really powerful friends to have. And certainly the USDoS is capable of running a very nice PR campaign when the SoS is obsessed with an issue. This is a body that has a budget roughly the same size as the State of Israel and can rely on intelligence and defense assets as needed when they have presidential support.

          Honestly, I am not really complaining. I think that it is a bloody good show and look forward to the next act. It is just so hard to take it seriously when it is so obviously a choreographed campaign that started at roughly the same time as Kerry came into office and decided he was the messiah.

          Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          One very important aspect of the Power Israel wields over her Arab/Muslim enemies is that almost all of them are just as smart as you, “Rehmat”, etc. With brainiacs like you guys, Israel is in no real danger.

          Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          Israelis are always thinking, brainstorming, developing different abstract possible future catastrophic scenarios and developing different contingent plans to handle them. This is what is called thought-experiment. The laboratories are in the mind/brain. In Israel, the proverbial Gate Keepers don’t sleep. Such is symptomatic of a Hero-nation and one of the major differences between Israel and Arab States. Now, for you to equate concerns with fear is really telling. As said, with brainiacs like you and “Rehmat”, etc., Israel will be well taken care of. Watch us!

          Reply to Comment
    6. Kolumn9

      “No matter what Kerry or Obama say on the record about who’s to blame for the failure of the talks, everybody outside of Israel and the Republican Party will know that the guilty party is this country and its ultra-nationalist leadership.”

      If by ‘everyone’ you mean the extreme left, then sure. But then again, regardless of what Israel does they see it as the ‘guilty’ party. Guilty at birth so to speak. For everyone else, when Kerry and Obama say that the Palestinians rejected a generous offer, that is going to be taken seriously. More importantly, if the Palestinians reject the generous offer, they will be held accountable by the United States and her allies which provide the overwhelming majority of the financial support on which the Palestinian National Movement currently survives. And, yes, that includes Europe, because despite the hopes of those on the international extreme left, Europe cares far more about its relations with the United States than it does about the Palestinians.

      You people are really not helping the Palestinians by holding out false hope. They are going to be back at the negotiating table within several years even if they choose to reject Kerry’s proposals. All the hoopla about going to the UN, the ICC, the ICJ and BDS is such pompous nonsense compared to the basic and obvious fact that the Palestinians are entirely reliant on the goodwill of the Americans and the Israelis to get anywhere and nothing they can do in the foreseeable future is going to change that.

      That the Americans managed to sit the Palestinians down at the negotiating table despite their preconditions not being met should have been a very clear sign to people who think like you. But no, you still think that the Palestinian leadership has better options. Its like some kind of ideological circle-jerk. The Palestinian leadership threatens some meaningless step like going to the ICC or the ICJ and then all the authors on the extreme left go crazy with wild fantasizing about how amazing such a step would be. The Palestinian leadership doesn’t carry out their threat because they at least (one would hope) know it is meaningless. Now the extreme left sees the leadership as traitors because their magical fantasy of the ICC sending special forces to arrest Bibi for building houses has been postponed or cancelled. So you build new fantasies about how amazing it would be to eliminate the current Palestinian leadership entirely and.. wait for it.. have a new one spawn ex nihilo which has none of the constraints imposed on the current one. This new leadership will at once be Mandela and Obama and Godzilla. It will have trillions of dollars to spend. It will turn Israeli weapons to dust, turn the Kinneret to oil, and lead a march into Israel, crashing through the security wall along the way, with the Jews welcoming their new overlords and submit to the liberal democracy that Mandobazilla will bring in his stead. What did I forget? Oh yes, the UN army will rappel in to secure the territory and set up reeduction camps where the Jews will be taught that they have no connection to Israel before being sent along on their way to live in the United States of Palestine which at this point will be richer and more liberal than America with gay couples regularly preaching in mosques and the country will gather together on a weekly basis in one giant hora circle to sing the new anthem Biladi haTikva.

      Seriously.. If nothing is signed this time, the next time the peace talks take place the offer will be even less generous and the Palestinians even more desperate. They have been getting weaker and weaker every year for the past 25 years at least. It is almost sad that the advent of the internet has allowed people who choose to avoid reality to do so with the reality filters it provides.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Tzutzik

      Those who wish the BDS to bite and hurt Israel, better heed the story of King Midas who made the wish that everything that he touches should turn to gold.

      According to Aristotle, legend held that Midas died of starvation as a result of his “vain prayer” for the gold touch.

      The same would happen to the BDS wishful thinkers if ever their wish would come true. If they think that they can force Israel to evacuate 500,000 Israelis from their homes to return a few kilometers into the green lines, just to appease unreasonable Palestinian demands, then they will find that the Midas touch is not all as worthwhile as they thought it would be. And a beleaguered cornered Israel would not necessarily behave how they think it would behave.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Do you really believe that one tittle on an avreg magezin will be that segnificent for us as a society?!
      You ignorens and stupidity will only damaged you..
      I can heardly believe that the most segnificent news that you can dill with every day is about the smallest country in the middle east!!!!
      And the greatest think is that you actually think that your ideas and crazynes will influence us!!!
      As we grow older we will become stronger and not by that that we will see how you’ve been up to.. Only by us depending on us as a society to be successful!
      Have a great week every one!!:)

      Reply to Comment
    9. Ginger Eis

      Before the creation of the State Of Israel, Arabs used massacres of Jews to prevent Jews returning to their ancestral Home Land. Upon the creations of Israel, Arabs pompously went to war to annihilate the young State and drive the Jews into the sea to drown to death. But the Jew defeated the Arabs – comprehensively. The Arabs then declared total boycotts of Israel and subsequently engaged her in other wars. Again and again the Arabs were defeated. In 1967 the Arabs again went to war against Israel and were again dealt a very humiliating defeat on the battlefields – in just SIX DAYS! Upon said defeat the pompous Arabs went to Khartoum and declared the three famous no’s: a. no negotiations, b. no recognition and c. no peace with Israel, while the Arab-boycott of Israel continued unabated. However, in the ensuing years Israel blossomed, boomed and emerged as Regional ECONOMIC and MILITARY Power and a Global HUB for RESEARCH, SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY, while the Arab States spiraled into economic decline till present day, with rising poverty and hundreds of thousands of refugees from all over the Arab countries fleeing to Europe, the Americas and elsewhere (begging for food, shelter and nationality). Nonetheless, the Arabs still fantasize that they will one day somehow manage to eliminate Israel and throw the Jews out of their ancestral Homeland. Evidently the Arabs don’t- and won’t get it and their intrinsic debased pompous and prideful nature won’t allow them otherwise: what it takes to defeat the Jews, they the Arabs don’t have in them! As the Jews comprehensively defeated the Arabs on the battlefields, so the Jews will defeat them again on the BDS-front. The Jewish cause is Righteous. Bring on BDS. Cowards!

      Reply to Comment
      • Titia

        I really like this comment, do you mind if I post it on the “I hate Israel” page on facebook?

        Reply to Comment
    10. Samuel

      Two posts were removed from this blog. One was Richard Witty’s the other one was mine.

      It would be nice to know why?

      Reply to Comment
    11. John Dowdle

      What a bunch of apartheid deniers you have commenting on here.
      I saw the same thing decades ago taking place and being said in South Africa.
      You are clearly way behind the curve in realising what your smart business leaders have obviously grasped.
      You are all experiencing Future Shock. Learn to extract yourself.

      Reply to Comment
      • JohnW

        “What a bunch of apartheid deniers you have commenting on here.
        I saw the same thing decades ago taking place and being said in South Africa.”

        You are a liar. Watch this video:

        http://youtu.be/v27sNLIEOes

        Reply to Comment
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