Israeli Business Sets Up Anti-boycott Hotline

Established by the Presidium of Israel Business Organizations, the new channel will provide 'individual and discreet' assistance to companies facing boycotts.

Tomer Appelbaum

Israeli business has opened a hotline to deal with issues arising from the activities of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Israeli financial newspaper Globes reported on Sunday.

The hotline, which was established by the Presidium of Israel Business Organizations, will handle queries and complaints from business owners regarding cases of boycott or concern about boycott.

"The new line will enable us to provide individual and discreet solutions for Israeli businesses exposed to boycotts and attempted boycotts," said Dan Catarivas, Director of the Division of Foreign Trade and International Relations at the Manufacturers' Association of Israel.

"BDS is not a uniform phenomenon; it is expressed differently in each country. When complaints or reports of such cases are received, we will address the situation specifically, using the tools we have, in order to provide them with a relevant and correct response."

Businesses, including the hotel, agricultural, cinema, and industrial sectors, as well as other economic concerns, were informed of the new channel in a letter from presidium chairman Shraga Brosh.

"For a long time, we have been exposed through the media, and some of us personally, to growing harassment by BDS activists promoting an economic, academic, and cultural boycott of Israel," Shraga wrote.

"Unfortunately, these attempts at a boycott have worsened and expanded recently and are not expected to go away in the near future."

The hotline will offer legal and economic assistance to businessmen coping with cases of boycott. Those include cases of "silent boycott," in which businesses and organizations refrain from doing business with Israeli companies out of concern that they will suffer public relations or economic damage.

"All the tools at our disposal will be adapted to the place where a boycott of an Israeli company is being attempted," Catarivas said. "Sometimes a response can use the law of the country, including a petition by us to the local courts in cooperation with our embassies around the world.

"We have accumulated experience in such situations and others from previous cases in which BDS operatives tried to boycott Israeli companies. This problem should be addressed, not ignored, but still - in proportion."