Anyone who has read this blog the past months knows that I take the international boycott threat against Israel very seriously.

It is a venomous movement conceived by propagandists that has had some success in Europe, but few victories in the U.S.

Israel has lived all of its existence under boycott. The current boycott movement is a shadow of the Arab League boycott that started even before Israel was a nation and grew with great force as Arab oil wealth grew in the 1970s. Yet somehow Israel’s economy survived and prospered nonetheless, helped in great part by U.S. anti-boycott legislation that mostly kept the boycott disease from our shores.

The Israeli economy is more diverse, high tech, and privatized than it was in the 1970s. Israel also is less dependent on Europe, and a sought-after participant in the global economy, most of which wants no part of the boycott movement.  The leverage of Europeans who capitulate to anti-Israel groups is much less than in the past.

The U.S. Congress also could significantly deflate the boycott movement once again by extending current legislation to cover the new form of boycott movement.  Congress should do so now, and in so doing will aid the peace process by letting the Palestinians know that they cannot achieve more through international boycotts than through negotiations.

While it seems invincible because largely unchallenged, the boycott movement is susceptible not only to legislation, but the type of pushback academic boycotters in the U.S. are receiving.

The boycott movement, while it should be taken seriously and combatted, should not be allowed to dictate Israel’s strategic security needs as part of peace negotiations. Doing business with a few extra European banks will be a hollow achievement if the West Bank is turned into another Gaza-style Iranian missile base.

Don’t let the boycott tail wag the security dog.

Yet John Kerry is playing the boycott card to pressure Israel, running around like chicken little screaming that the sky is falling.

Whether done by design to pressure Israel, or because he is incompetent, Kerry’s pronouncements of impending doom simply reinforce the rejectionist elements in Palestinian society who believe that the international community can deliver more than negotiations with Israelis.

Benjamin Netanyahu was absolutely correct to summarize the situation as follows:

“The attempts to boycott the State of Israel are immoral and unjustified,” Netanyahu said in his opening statement at the cabinet meeting. “Aside from this, they will not accomplish their goal. First of all, they entrench the Palestinians deeper in their positions, pushing peace farther away; and second, no pressure will force me to give up the vital interests of the State of Israel, above all the security of the citizens of Israel.”

Unfortunately, some Israeli politicians are playing the chicken little games as well, particularly Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid. Their dire predictions are quoted by boycotters with great joy and excitement.

Take the boycott seriously, engage friends of Israel to help in the fight, but stop the scaremongering.


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