Israeli businesses set up anti-BDS hotline

Established by Presidium of Israel Business Organizations, service aims to help business owners facing boycotts

Protesters urging a boycott against Israel in Melbourne, file photo (CC-BY SA Takver/Wikimedia Commons)
Protesters urging a boycott against Israel in Melbourne, file photo (CC-BY SA Takver/Wikimedia Commons)

A network representing Israeli businesses launched a hotline meant to serve business owners and exporters facing issues related to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement.

The hotline, established by the Presidium of Israel Business Organizations, will handle the complaints and concerns of those facing boycotts or threats of boycotts.

“The new line will enable us to provide individual and discreet solutions for Israeli businesses exposed to boycotts and attempted boycotts,” Dan Catarivas, Director of the Division of Foreign Trade and International Relations at the Manufacturers’ Association of Israel, told the Israeli business daily Globes.

“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,” he added.

In the framework of the new line, a team of lawyers and economic consultants specializing in international trade will be on hand to advise business owners facing boycotts.

“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,” said Catarivas.

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.”

In a letter on the issue, Shraga Brosh, chairman of the Presidium of Israel Business Organizations 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,” he wrote.

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