Sun Feb 2, 2014 7:12PM
US Secretary of State John Kerry, AP Photo
US Secretary of State John Kerry, AP Photo

The US is tasting the bitterness of Israel’s propaganda machine for warning that it might face a possible international boycott if it failed to reach a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Speaking at a security conference in Munich, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned on Saturday that “For Israel, the stakes are also enormously high.”

“For Israel there's an increasing de-legitimization campaign that has been building up. People are very sensitive to it. There are talk of boycotts and other kinds of things,” Kerry said.

Israeli officials reacted angrily to Kerry’s comments. They even went as far as accusing him of endorsing and “amplifying” what they called “anti-Semitic” efforts to impose sanctions on Israel by issuing the warning.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett rejected Kerry’s warning and said, “We expect our friends in the world to stand by our side in the face of the anti-Semitic boycott attempts, not amplify them.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also rejected John Kerry’s comment saying that “attempts to impose a boycott” on Israel “will not achieve their goal.”

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is a close ally of Prime Minister Netanyahu, said, “What Kerry said is offensive, unfair and intolerable.”

"You can't expect Israel to negotiate with a gun at its head,” Steinitz added.
And, Bayit Yehudi Party chairwoman Ayelet Shaked accused Kerry of “trying to lay the groundwork for an economic boycott” against Israel.

Reacting to Israelis’ comments, the US State Department denied the idea that Washington supported the boycott of Israel.

The State Department said in a written statement that Kerry has a “proud record of over three decades of steadfast support for Israel's security and well-being, adding that “he is “staunchly opposed to any boycott of Israel.”

Most Palestinians regard the US as an unjust broker in the talks between the PA and Israel.

The international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel have been gaining momentum in the recent months for violating the Palestinians rights.

In December 2013, the American Studies Association (ASA), which is an alliance of US professors, passed a resolution to endorse boycott of Israeli universities.

In April 2013, the smaller Association for Asian American Studies became the first scholarly group in the US to support an academic boycott of Israel.

In January 2014, the Assembly of the Modern Language Association's Delegate of America (MLA) approved a resolution criticizing the lack of academic freedom in Israel.

It demanded Washington to challenge travel restrictions imposed by Israel on some American academics, especially those of Palestinian descent, who want to teach or do research at Palestinian universities.

Since January 1, the European Union has also blocked all grants and funding to Israeli entities operating beyond the pre-1967 war lines.

Last month, a major Dutch pension fund, PGGM, which is one of the world's larger pension asset managers, said it would divest from five Israeli banks it says are involved in financing construction of Israeli illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian lands.

In mid January, two of Europe’s largest banks, Nordea Bank of Sweden and Danske Bank of Denmark, announced they would terminate all joint operations with Israeli banks who deal with the settlements that Israel is building in the occupied West Bank.

The US blasted the banks for their decision to blacklist Israel.

Last week, Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, blacklisted two Israeli companies due to their “serious violations” of individual rights.

Also last week, US actress Scarlett Johansson was forced to quit being an ambassador for the UK-based international charity organization, Oxfam, after being criticized over her support for an Israeli soft drinks company, SodaStream that operates in the occupied West Bank.