Report: BDS failing to cause major economic blow to Israel

Data show that Israel has experienced a steep increase in foreign stake in Israeli companies and banks, Bloomberg reports.

June 2, 2016 11:37
1 minute read.
bds boycott

Activists from the BDS movement against Israel [File]. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Despite signs that the international BDS movement is gaining traction in its aim to isolate Israel, a review of the country's foreign capital flow shows that the boycott campaign has failed in regard to the economic gauge, Bloomberg reported Thursday. 

While the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions has strongly focused on dampening commercial ties with Israeli businesses, particularly those over the Green Line, it has reportedly made little economic impact overall.

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In fact, the data reviewed by Bloomberg shows that Israel has experienced a steep increase in foreign stake in Israeli companies and banks.

Statistics published by the Bank of Israel reveal that foreign investments in Israeli assets have raised nearly three-fold since 2005 when the Palestinian-established BDS movement launched, hitting an all-time high of $285.12 billion in 2015

“We don’t have a problem with foreign investment in Israel -- on the contrary,” Bloomberg quoted the Finance Ministry's Chief Economist Yoel Naveh as saying.

Meanwhile, the BDS movement has claimed that its impact on Israel's economy it not a matter of concern, and that those damages will in due course follow what it views as its current influence that has exceeded expectations.

Bloomberg cited BDS co-found Omar Barghouti as arguing that the "“indirect, palpable psychological impact" on Israel is the movement's forte.

According to the report, finance experts see foreign investors rejecting the idea upheld by the BDS movement that charges that taking stake in Israel's natural gas and technology industries leads to Palestinian rights violations.

A handful of mainly European government funds and institutional investors have pulled funds and blacklisted some Israeli companies and banks tied to activities in the West Bank.

However, the finance ministry's Naveh has dismissed the impact of such moves, saying: “We don’t need it.”

Nonetheless, other experts foresee the growing popularity of the BDS movement on university campuses as laying the ground work for a far worse situation in the future.

“BDS now is not a big threat, it’s a threat,” S.M. Tel Aviv Investments chief economist Shlomo Maoz told Bloomberg. “But when students go to college in America, the UK, and see anti-Israel BDS protests, and then go to be fund managers in five, seven years -- then it could be a problem.”

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