Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: The Knesset Calls for Boycott of British Products

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - 42 Members of Israel’s Knesset Parliament have signed an unusual parliamentary petition calling for the boycott of products from the United Kingdom.

This is the response to the recommendation of British government officials that Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights be marked, in order to abet those citizens wishing to boycott Israeli products.

In addition to the petition, the Knesset is considering legislation that would mandate similar marking of British products, as long as the British decision remains standing.

The petition, which was secretly organized in recent days, was initiated by Ronit Tirosh, of Kadima and a Member of Knesset (MK), and is signed by former senior Israeli government ministers, chairmen of senior Knesset committees, faction chairmen and regular MKs.

Among the signatories are former Defense Minister Amir Peretz, former Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, former General Security Service (GSS) Director Avi Dichter, Coalition Chairman Zeev Elkin, Finance Committee Chairman Moshe Gafni, Knesset Committee Chairman Yariv Levin, Education Committee Chairman Zvulun Orlev, State Audit Committee Chairman Yoel Hasson and former ministers Roni Baron, Meir Shetrit, Eitan Kabel and Gidon Ezra.

The signatories represent eight of the 12 present Knesset factions.

“We express our revulsion toward the decisions recently made in the United Kingdom to mark Israeli products sold within its borders,” the petition states. “We call on the United Kingdom to immediately rescind the decision, which casts a shadow on economic cooperation between the citizens of our countries. We recommend that the Israeli public reconsider using the services of companies from countries making such decisions, so long as their governments’ recommendations remain standing.”

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said that he would pass the petition on to the speaker of the British parliament next week.

At the same time, MK Tirosh approached the accountant general in the Israel Finance Ministry and asked that he prevent senior public officials from flying with British Airways as well as other British airlines operating in Israel.

“There are some situations in which one simply must not remain silent,” said MK Tirosh. “Marking Jewish products for the sake of a boycott is simply not the right course for those who seek to develop ties with the Jewish people. If, by recruiting the public, we will be able to encourage the purchase of Israeli-made products, than our loss will be our gain.”

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

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