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Policy Analysis

Congressional Testimony

Threats to Israel: Trade Boycotts

David Pollock

Also available in العربية

House Committee on Foreign Affairs

March 5, 2014

The threat of European boycotts against Israel is much more potential than real, but it is gradually gaining ground as an unofficial movement and could surge if the current peace talks fail.

Washington Institute fellow David Pollock testified before the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade. The following is an excerpt from his prepared remarks; download the PDF to read more, or watch video of the full hearing.

The issue of European trade and other boycotts against Israel has been much in the news lately -- and only partly because of the recent controversy over the British charity Oxfam, the Israeli company SodaStream, and the American actress and Super Bowl ad star Scarlett Johansson. Today, of course, that episode, and the larger issue it symbolizes, is entirely eclipsed by the tragic reports from Ukraine and from other hotspots around the globe. Yet anyone who cares about the U.S. national interest in the Middle East, and about the future of the U.S. alliance with Israel, should not lose sight of ongoing trends that could potentially threaten the economic underpinning of Israel’s security—and with it the possibility of a stable and secure peace between Israel and its neighbors.

Allow me to begin this discussion with some facts and figures. The boycott threat against Israel right now is much more potential than real. Israel’s economy continues to thrive, estimated to grow in the range of 3 percent annually this year and last, in large part because of its continuing ability to export and to attract foreign investment...