June 15, 2015

Israeli Food Manufacturers Face Growing Threat of European Boycott, But so Far Sales Continue to Grow

Tel Aviv - To say that Israelis are not fretting over the buzz of a possible boycott by some European countries would be inaccurate. The recent Orange fiasco where a French communications company threatened to pull the plug on its brand in Israel sent shockwaves throughout Israel’s food industry. In the past few years, several European countries flirted with boycotting foods that are produced behind the Green Line, including the popular Soda Club. A growing Arab population in Europe is also inflaming the BDS movement which is seeking to boycott Israel as “an apartheid state.” But Israeli food sources say that Europe remains Israel’s largest food partner and that in fact sales have increased in 2014. In Paris, an anti-Semitism watchdog group called for a police probe against a former lawmaker who seemingly urged Muslim shoppers to avoid purchasing a Jewish-produced kosher product. “Ramadan soon: Watch out with your shopping,” Jean-Claude Lefort, a former lawmaker for France’s communist party and current president of the France Palestine Solidarity Association, or AFPS, wrote in a social media posting. The National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA denounced what it called “discrimination that shows once again, if anyone needed showing, how pro-Palestinian activists are calling for a blanket boycott of anything Jewish, though they pretend to target settlement goods.” The group said it was going to file a criminal complaint for discrimination against Lefort. Israeli government sources said that they would counter the boycott movement “with all our might.” The source said: “Intelligent people will have to understand that it is the Palestinians who refuse to return to the negotiating table without conditions and that these boycotts are nothing more than anti-Semitism in its latest disguise.”