Israeli industrialists set up BDS hotline to help exporters

Israeli industrialists set up BDS hotline for exporters

Dan Catarivas

The Presidium of Israel Business Organizations is responding to growing harrassment by BDS activists.

The Presidium of Israel Business Organizations today opened a special channel for queries about reports and complaints by business owners about cases of a boycott or concern about a boycott, following the global activity of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. According to Dan Catarivas, Director of the Division of Foreign Trade and International Relations at the Manufacturers’ Association of Israel and International Relations at Israel Business Organizations, “The new line will enable us to provide individual and discreet solutions for Israeli businesses exposed to boycotts and attempted boycotts. BDS is not a uniform phenomenon; it is expressed differently in each country. When complaints or reports of such cases are received, we will address the situation specifically, using the tools we have, in order to provide them with a relevant and correct response.”

In a letter sent by Shraga Brosh, chairman of the Presidium of Israel Business Organizations, which includes the hotel, agricultural, cinema, and industrial sectors, as well as other economic concerns, he wrote, “For a long time, we have been exposed through the media, and some of us personally, to growing harassment by BDS activists promoting an economic, academic, and cultural boycott of Israel. Unfortunately, these attempts at a boycott have worsened and expanded recently, and are not expected to go away in the near future.”

According to Brosh, in the framework of operating the new line, assistance from lawyers and economic consultants specializing in international trade will be proffered to businessmen coping with cases of boycott, including attempts at a “silent boycott,” in which businesses and organizations around the world refrain from doing business with Israeli companies out of concern that they will suffer public relations or economic damage.

Up until now, the Business Organizations and the Manufacturers Association have refrained from dealing with the media aspect of in countering economic boycott initiatives against Israel. Catarivas said, “Media involvement in this question serves the boycott better than anything BDS, which is much smaller than people think, can do. In recent weeks, things have gotten out of hand. The matter has been put on the public agenda, and we therefore decided to provide a proper professional address for the business community that is liable to suffer from these and other initiatives relating to a boycott of products or activity. Our objective is to prevent economic relations from being poisoned with politics.”

Catarivas says that the Division of Foreign Trade and International Relations at the Manufacturers’ Association, which he heads, is in touch with the Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs, and the Economy. “All the tools at our disposal will be adapted to the place where a boycott of an Israeli company is being attempted. Sometimes a response can use the law of the country, including a petition by us to the local courts in cooperation with our embassies around the world. We have accumulated experience in such situations and others from previous cases in which BDS operatives tried to boycott Israeli companies. This problem should be addressed, not ignored, but still – in proportion.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com – on August 9, 2015

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