Thursday, January 23, 2014

Boycotts Bring Reality to Ordinary Israelis

The Harper Effect seems to have been decidedly short-lived in Israel.  It seems that Beelzebub's presence did little to assuage Israelis' concern over the growing, international boycott of their country or their awareness of what really lies behind it.

It all started on Saturday night with an in-depth, primetime expose by what is easily Israel’s most watched news program: Channel 2′s “Weekend” (סוף השבוע). This is how Larry Derfner at +972 Magazine described the moment:
On Saturday night the boycott of Israel gained an impressive new level of mainstream recognition in this country. Channel 2 News, easily the most watched, most influential news show here, ran a heavily-promoted, 16-minute piece on the boycott in its 8 p.m. prime-time program. The piece was remarkable not only for its length and prominence, but even more so because it did not demonize the boycott movement, it didn’t blame the boycott on anti-Semitism or Israel-bashing. Instead, top-drawer reporter Dana Weiss treated the boycott as an established, rapidly growing presence that sprang up because of Israel’s settlement policy and whose only remedy is that policy’s reversal.
... forcefully Weiss made clear that Israel’s settlement enterprise is to blame for Israel’s growing isolation, and how truly threatening the boycotts are becoming from an economic perspective. In one salient moment of many, Weiss interviews a food company executive in the West Bank who not only admits to losing approximately $140,000 a month due to boycotts, but also that the spread of such boycotts across Israel is inevitable.

A day after Channel 2′s watershed expose, Israel’s most popular newspaper, Yediot Achronot (ידיעות אחרונות), dedicated its entire front page to the issue of boycotts and their growing economic impact. Its main story contained the headline, “100 economic leaders warn of boycott on Israel.”

This headline was supplemented by a smaller headline which read, “The world is losing its patience and the threat of sanctions is increasing. We must reach an agreement with the Palestinians.”

Harper may find it expedient to accuse Israel's critics of anti-Semitism but that's plainly becoming an increasingly ineffective smokescreen.   Harper has no interest in bringing Israel to heel over the settlements fiasco but, once again, he's steered Canada out on a limb of international irrelevance.

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