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The Boycott Israel Movement

In this video, Paul Jay from The Real News Network interviews Shir Hever, an economist at the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem and the author of the forthcoming book Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation, about how the growing worldwide boycott of Israel is effecting that country’s economy.

HEVER: The effect is hidden by the Israeli various bureaus of statistics and the Manufacturers Association, for example. There was one survey that showed 21 percent of Israeli exporters reported on average 10 percent loss of income because of the boycott, which was related specifically to the attack on Gaza in 2008-2009. But this report was censored. This report was removed from—was never published, it was only leaked to the media once, and it’s impossible to get it, because the Manufacturers Association know that if that information reaches people who support the boycott movement, that will empower them and give them more confidence to continue their efforts.

Hever also has an interesting response to Jay’s question about his position on the controversial cultural and academic boycott of Israel:

HEVER: We at the Alternative Information Center published a report about Israeli academic institutions, and our argument is basically that the big universities in Israel—actually, all of universities in Israel, with the exclusion of the Open University, have been actively participating in acts of repression against Palestinians, discriminating against Palestinian students or not accepting Palestinian students, and not allowing freedom of protest, not allowing professors to research certain topics that are considered inappropriate or not loyal enough, providing benefits to the Israeli army or to officers, and developing weapons. So we have a list in this publication, which you can download from our website, of every Israeli academic institutions and what kind of crimes they’re involved in, and you can make your own decision whether you want to boycott these institutions or not. And the same goes for a lot of other kinds of businesses in Israel—not necessarily businesses that have their factories in the occupied Palestinian territory (of course, those are clear examples of colonialism), but also factories that don’t offer equal employment opportunities for Palestinian citizens, factories that embrace the army and gives discounts to soldiers, factories that contribute to the army. And so you see that the vast majority of the Israeli economy is very strongly intertwined with the project of Judaification and Zionism. So there is a very strong argument for boycotting every Israeli product, or at the very least for boycotting every Israeli product until Israel is able to differentiate and to give accurate and fair information about its exports—which exports come from the occupied Palestinian territories, which aren’t; which companies offer equal opportunities, which aren’t. And it’s not just about economic boycott, it’s also cultural boycott, because we don’t want to give the impression that Israel is a normal country, that you can just have it as part of a tour of performances of various famous artists. So we’re asking famous artists not to come and perform in Israel. That would be legitimizing the Israeli apartheid.

To see the report on the involvement of Israeli academic institutions with the occupation of Palestine, click here.