Ten concise reasons why boycotting Israel won't work
Boycotts have a long history. Union members refuse to purchase Hormell
products. Jews avoid buying German cars. Homophobes say no to visiting Disney.
The boycott is widely understood to be a form of economic pressure that forces
the target to change behavior or suffer pain.
Of course, some things
never get boycotted. For example, the environmental movement hasn't called on
anyone to boycott coal power. Peta doesn't go after products from country X
because they harm animals. (France - geese, Spain - bulls, etc.) For a boycott
to be effective, the sponsor of the boycott needs a constituency large enough to
make an impact, and be able to do so. When it comes to boycotting Israel though
- the logic seems to fail. Here are ten concise reasons why boycotting Israel
Israel does not export a great deal of
clearly labeled consumer goods you can avoid buying.
A boycott that appears to be working
would generate a rise in purchases from supporters of Israel.
Local struggles to boycott Israeli
products have a history of failure when it comes time to vote.
enough public sympathy with the Palestinian cause for a boycott to have an
The boycott movement has no serious
celebrity spokespeople - and never will.
The Palestinian Authority is not
supporting a boycott. If the Palestinian government doesn't think this is
important, can international activists say they know better?
The purchasing power of progressives
only works to promote, not to harm. Stick with fair trade people.
The kinds of exports that really matter
to Israel are in military defense, technology and business-to-business areas.
These will never be affected by a consumer boycott.
The boycott is too blunt a tool. Even
people who support applying pressure on Israel for or against a specific action
are often opposed to boycotting a country. It feels anti-Israel instead of
The language of the boycott campaign is almost entirely internal. A dialogue
within the pro-Palestinian camp. There is no evidence that when faced with a
choice, a significant community from the public at large while adhere to a
boycott against Israel.
Note that this post is
specifically about the boycott - not divestment or sanctions.
Of course, there are
strategies for pressuring Israel or supporting Palestinians that DO have a track
record of success. The problem is (for some) is that they focus on specific
Israel behaviors, instead of carrying the subtext of being opposed to Israel's
very existence. But that's for another post.
PS: I'm inviting anyone
who wants to write a rebuttal to do so, on these pages. Tell us in ten brief
points why you think a boycott will work (as opposed to why you think its the
right thing to do) and it will come up as a guest post. If you don't see it - it
means no one has bothered to write it
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