Middle East Monitor — Monday, 05 October 2015
The impact of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in Europe is forcing a shift towards China, according to a leading Israeli businessman.
Édouard Cukierman, the Paris-born founder of Catalyst Funds and chair of Cukierman & Co Investment House, made the remarks in an interview with Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.
According to Cukierman, the prospects of Europeans investing in Israeli companies whose shares are traded in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange are almost zero.
“In our fund, most of the investors now are from China”, he said. “Our connections in Europe are still very strong, and we have three branches in Europe, but in practice European investments have been less than 10 percent of American investments in the Israeli market. Our change in the direction of China has paid off, and most of our deals now are with Chinese investors.”
Explaining the situation, Cukierman pointed to the impact of BDS. “During general meetings of the leading companies, even if they did examine investing in Israeli companies, it will be off the agenda immediately because of the impact of BDS”, he stated.
Given the number of investment opportunities, the heads of leading European companies ask themselves “why should we get mixed up in an investment in Israel, in a conflict zone”, Cukierman told the paper.
As an example of the pressure exerted by the BDS campaign, Cukierman cited French multinational Veolia, noting that the company itself admitted losing contracts because of its involvement in Israel.
Veolia recently completed the sale of its Israeli assets, and its withdrawal from Israel as a market.
Only four years ago, the French-Israeli businessman was considerably more optimistic, having “taken it upon himself to forge ties with international markets, focusing specifically on EU economic relations”, as a form of what he called “economic Zionism.”
Translation by Ofer Neiman