Israeli Industrialists Counter Boycott Calls With Hotline

To fight growing concern over calls to boycott Israeli companies, business leaders launched a hotline this week to help counter potential damage to businesses.

“Boycott efforts have grown and expanded recently and aren’t expected to disappear any time soon,” Shraga Brosh, president of the Manufacturers Association of Israel and Presidium of Israel Business Organizations, told members in a July 29 letter announcing the planned hotline.

The measure is a response to increasing pressure in Europe and elsewhere to sanction Israel for settlements on land the Palestinians claim for a future state. While the boycotts have had a negligible effect on the economy so far, officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have identified the sanctions movement as a major threat.

The hotline will put professionals including international trade lawyers and economic consultants at the disposal of any business operating in the West Bank or Israel, according to Brosh’s letter.

Dan Catarivas, director of foreign trade at the Manufacturers Association, said by phone Tuesday that while it’s too early to predict the hotline’s success in countering the boycott, the trade group has successfully helped some companies dealing with similar issues in the past.

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