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48 Years of Military Occupation of the Palestinian Territories:

Israel’s Self-Imposed Socio-Economic Burden

June 4, 2015|By: Shlomo Swirski, Yaron Hoffmann-Dishon         >> download full report

(p21) An International BDS Movement - 2

Israel officials tend to downplay the risks of the BDS movement. The most notable statement made thus far by an
Israeli politician about the possible negative ramifications was by former Finance Minister Yair Lapid, in January
2014. His statement was made during a special discussion convened by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
following warnings sounded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Security Council concerning the
dangers of an ongoing boycott campaign. The Minister of Finance stated:

“If negotiations with the Palestinians freeze or explode, and we enter the reality of a European boycott, even a
very limited one, Israel’s economy will recede, every Israeli citizen will directly feel it in their pocket, the cost
of living will rise, the education, health, welfare and defense budgets will be slashed and many international
markets will be closed to us.”

Lapid’s statement was based on research conducted by the Chief Economist of the Finance Ministry, which
indicated that in a “reasonable” scenario, in which 20% of imports are hurt and direct foreign investments from
the European Union are halted, Israeli imports will decline by some NIS 20 billion per year, the damage to the
GDP will amount to approximately 1.1% and nearly 10,000 workers will lose their jobs. In response to those
downplaying the significance of the boycott, Lapid added: “This is a real process, which has a real economic
impact. The direction is clear, but we still have a chance to stop it.”16

In May 2015, the BDS threat received formal government acknowledgment, when Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu put minister Gilad Erdan in charge of addressing the danger posed by the BDS movement.