Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What Israeli boycott?

by Leo Rennert

The Palestinian Authority has issued a report on PA imports from Israel, according to local media. It again demonstrates that, despite all the talk about a boycott of Israel, Palestinians continue to buy blue-and-white Israeli goods worth billions of dollars. Economists estimate 70 to 80 percent of Palestinian imports come from Israel. There seems no letup in Palestinians forking over billions of dollars to buy Israeli goods. 

It's not that Palestinians have no other options. They are free to purchase imports from Arab countries, from Europe, and from Palestinian manufacturers in the West Bank under Mahmoud Abbas's rule. It's just that they prefer better and higher-quality wares from Israel, when they're asked to explain their buy-Israel habits. 

A Palestinian merchant illustrates the point. In line with calls for an economic boycott of Israel, he relabeled his Israeli soap as much cheaper Palestinian soap. His sales plummeted. Why? Because Palestinian customers equate Israel-originated goods with higher, more reliable quality.

Such facts on the ground completely belie claims of boycotters that their campaign of halting purchases of Israeli goods will force Israel to bend to Palestinian demands. That's not how Palestinians see it, and more importantly, what decisions they make when they go shopping. The Israel label still commands their allegiance.

Leo Rennert


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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