European official says Livni’s warning about potential EU boycott is overstated

Official says a boycott of Israeli goods is "highly unlikely", European businessmen highly value Israeli technology, innovation.

By
July 3, 2013 01:24
1 minute read.
Tzipi Livni

Tzipi Livni 370. (photo credit: Courtesy The Tzipi Livni Party)

A senior European diplomatic official on Tuesday downplayed Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s warning that Europe could boycott Israeli goods if progress was not made on the peace process, saying it would more likely just give some backwind to the anti-Israel BDS movement and add to an undertow of Israel’s isolation on the continent.

But, the official said, a boycott of Israeli goods was highly unlikely. He pointed out that businessmen in a number of European countries are keen on partnering with Israeli companies to use their technology and innovation in opening up markets in third countries, often in the Far East.

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The official said that even a European boycott on just settlement products would run into a great deal of difficulty in the EU, with a number of countries – such as Germany, the Netherlands and others – likely to oppose it.

In a speech on Monday to an accountants’ conference in Eilat, Livni warned of a possible boycott if the diplomatic process remained stalemated.

“Europe is boycotting goods,” said Livni, head of Israel’s negotiating team with the Palestinians.

“True, it starts with settlement [goods], but their problem is with Israel, which is seen as a colonialist country. Therefore, it won’t stop at the settlements, but [spread] to all of Israel,” she said.

Her comments drew immediate fire from the Bayit Yehudi party, which said her “policy of sowing fear of boycotts is detached from reality.”

“The Israeli economy is innovative and groundbreaking. The entire world comes here to learn from us, and business people are amazed at Israeli technology and innovations,” the statement said.

The European official said that while the EU foreign ministers did not make any mention of labeling settlement products at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in late June, the issue has not fallen off the agenda and is expected to be raised at a working group meeting of lower level diplomats in August.

In addition to discussing the labeling of settlement goods, the official said some countries were interested that the meeting also advocate coming up with a message to “raise awareness of economic activity in the settlements.” He said another suggestion that will likely be discussed was restricting travel to the EU by certain “violent settlers.”


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