June 6, 2016

The Market’s Response to the BDS Movement: Buy More Israeli Products

This past Sunday New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order declaring an open war on companies and organizations aligned with the pro-Palestine Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, or BDS. According to The New York Times, in the executive order Cuomo announces that he will order the commissioner of the Office of General Services to devise a list over the next six months of businesses and groups engaged in any “boycott, divestment or sanctions activity targeting Israel, either directly or through a parent or subsidiary.”

While the Governor’s actions are understandable, particularly in New York, the largest market for Israeli products including kosher foods outside of Israel, there is good news on the ground, particularly on the growth of sales of Israeli food products in the US. Israeli food exports to the US is approaching $250 million. The evidence from Passover that more Israeli matzos and other products were sold is also heartening. Apparently consumers of all backgrounds have their own way of dealing with boycotts that are never a good thing: simply buy more. While congratulations are in order for Governor Cuomo, the real heroes are consumers who simply do the right thing.