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Friday, December 04, 2015

#BDS_Fail Why Netanyahu can snub his nose at Europe

In case you missed it, earlier this week, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that he is suspending Europe's involvement in the 'peace process,' in response to Europe's decision to label (and effectively boycott) products originating in Judea and Samaria.

That sounds like a bold step by a small country against the European behemoth. Evelyn Gordon explains why it's a step that Israel could afford to take.
The deputy prime minister of Vietnam visited Israel on Wednesday, prompting Jerusalem Post reporter Herb Keinon to delve into some fascinating trade statistics. Bilateral trade between Israel and Vietnam totaled almost $1.1 billion last year, a fivefold increase in just five years, and is now more than double Israel’s trade with Austria and four times its trade with Norway. In fact, Keinon later tweeted, Israel’s trade with Vietnam now exceeds its trade with 21 of the European Union’s 28 member states. And Vietnam is just one country; Israeli trade with other Asian countries has also burgeoned. All of which goes to show that one of Israel’s biggest Achilles’ heels – its economic dependence on an increasingly hostile Europe – is swiftly disappearing.
Taken as a whole, the EU is still Israel’s largest trading partner, but its lead has been shrinking rapidly as Israeli trade with other parts of the globe expands. Moreover, many of the European countries most hostile to Israel are among its least important trading partners. Norway, Sweden, and Ireland, for instance, would star in any list of the most hostile countries, yet each of them conducts less trade with Israel than Vietnam does. In other words, the countries that are most hostile to Israel tend to be those with relatively little ability to cause it economic harm.
Israel has long since ceased to count on Europe for diplomatic support. In international forums, many European countries reflexively back even the most outrageous anti-Israel resolutions, while even Israel’s best friends in Europe rarely do more than abstain. This past May, for instance, every EU country voted for a UN resolution declaring Israel the world’s worst violator of health rights (perhaps they think Israeli hospitals should stop treating Syrian war victims or cancer patients from Hamas-run Gaza?).
Nor does Israel depend on Europe militarily. As Haaretz reporter Anshel Pfeffer pointed out after Britain threatened to suspend arms exports to Israel during last summer’s Gaza war, such threats are so old hat that Israel long ago dropped Britain as a major military supplier. Ditto for most other European countries (the two exceptions being Germany and Italy). Today, Israeli defense imports from Britain consist mostly of spare parts that it could easily obtain elsewhere if necessary.
Read the whole thing.

Shabbat Shalom everyone.

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