March 4, 2013

Buy Israel Week Counters Some Boycotts

CHICAGO — The annual Buy Israel Week last week got off to a slow start but picked up considerable steam in the ensuing days, sources told KosherToday. As was the case last year, the Buy Israel Week was designed to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and to promote the purchase of Israeli products. 

“Many consumers are looking for new ways to support Israel beyond political movements and charities and are unaware of which Israeli products are sold by their local merchants and/or who those local merchants are,” said Frances Zelazny, founder of Buy Israel Week. “Our campaign is aimed at building awareness at the consumer level, so that instead of buying products made from another country their choice is to purchase quality products ‘Made in Israel’.” 

In 2005, a global BDS movement was launched against Israel. Since then, events with Israeli speakers, Israeli universities, and stores that carry Israeli products and Israeli companies have been boycotted with the goal of delegitimizing Israel. “The goal of Buy Israel Week is to combat the efforts of the BDS protestors through the purchasing power of consumers, as well as print and social media campaigns,” said Zelazny. According to Howard Bernstein, a key promoter of Buy Israel Week and the President of the Chicago chapter of the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce, thousands visited the special website to buy Israeli products, including food and wines.