Maariv: MEPs warn Peres of gathering boycott momentum
[Headline] European Parliament: “Phenomenon of boycotts against Israel gaining momentum”
[Sub-headline] Members of the European lobby for Israel warn: The deterioration in the political climate is increasing boycotts of Israeli products, companies and businessmen; requested that Peres utilize his stature and appear before the European Parliament
David Lipkin, Maariv, June 28 2010 [page 4 of business section; Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]
The leaders of European Friends of Israel (EFI), the European lobby for Israel and its economy, warned yesterday of a deterioration in the political climate in Europe against Israel, and an increase in the phenomenon of boycotts of Israeli products and businesspeople throughout Europe. They noted that there was a growing phenomenon of European investment funds that were divesting from Israeli companies, for reasons defined as “business ethics.”
Ronny Bruckner, leader of the lobby, which includes members of Parliament in the European Union and senior European businesspeople, asked President Shimon Peres yesterday to use his unique international standing and appear before the European Parliament. Bruckner also asked the president to step up his activity vis-à-vis the EU institutions and to invest in smaller European states, which have recently joined the EU.
Bruckner noted that the significantly expanding Arab population in the large European countries might help Muslim bodies join radical coalitions and boycott products from Israel, not only those produced east of the Green Line. He said that Arab activists have already taken to harassing Israeli businessmen and that recently, companies that engage in business ties with Israeli companies have received threats.
Senior EFI officials told President Shimon Peres that there is an expanding trend whereby European investment funds declare they are pulling out their investments in Israeli companies, citing reasons such as “business ethics.” There is fear, the officials warned, that the phenomenon will expand further.
EFI CEO Michelle Gorari told Asakim that the economic boycott against Israel is accelerating in Europe in view of the recent political developments. He believes that in view of the rising pressures, the boycott against Israeli exports might affect some 30% of Israel’s exports to Europe. There is a dangerous trend that aims at imposing a total ban on the sale of Israeli products on certain European markets.
Gorari pointed out that the pro-Israeli lobby has managed to foil an emerging trend whereby the European Parliament intended not to ratify a new aviation agreement between Israel and the EU. After EFI made efforts to gain support for Israel, the agreement was approved by a majority of 465 against 65. They are currently considering whether it is the right time to ask the European Parliament to approve an agreement on the harmonization of standards between Israel and the EU because there is a fear that, given the current anti-Israeli atmosphere, it may be hard to attain a majority that would approve it.