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Winning awards


European boycott of Israeli goods
Uri Avnery Social activist
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עשינו כמה מסיבות עיתונאים, הכרזנו על החרם, הגשנו את הרשימות ונסענו לבריסל לשיחה עם פקידי הקהילה האירופית ואמרנו להם אותו הדבר: "תראו, יש לכם הסכם כלכלי עם ישראל, אנחנו ישראליים, אנחנו לגמרי בעד, אבל ההתנחלויות לא שייכות לישראל, חל עליהם חוק אחר, הם נמצאים ביחידה פוליטית אחרת, ואנחנו דורשים שאתם תצטרפו לחרם שלנו”. הם לא התלהבו, להגיד בהמעטה. הם אמרו: "לא, המדינות לא יסכימו, גרמניה לא תסכים, הולנד לא תסכים" וכו' וכו', "אבל אנחנו נדון בזה". והם דנו ודנו ודנו ודנו ואחרי כמה שנים הם הכריזו, השוק האירופי הכריז על אותו חרם ובדיוק עכשיו הקהילה האירופית דנה בזה. החרם אושר ע"י כל המדינות והם עכשיו דנים בזה איך בדיוק לסמן את הסחורות של ההתנחלויות. היה לזה עוד sense, עוד היגיון – לא רק להפריד בין הישראלים לבין ההתנחלויות, אלא לסלק את המפעלים מההתנחלויות. למה הם הלכו להתנחלויות? בעלי התעשייה האלה שהקימו מפעלים בהתנחלויות לא הלכו לשם מפני שהם היו אנשי הימין הקיצוני. רובם רוצים להרוויח כסף ולא איכפת להם איזה ריח נודף מזה, והממשלה נתנה להם הצעות שאי-אפשר לסרב להן. נגיד מקרה קלאסי – יש מפעל בתל אביב שקיים כבר שישים או שמונים שנה ועובד שמה. באה אליך הממשלה: "בוא לברקן, אנחנו נותנים לכם מגרש חינם, אנחנו נותנים לכם סובסידיה ניכרת, ואתה יכול למכור את המגרש שלך בלב תל אביב״. זה שווה היום עשרות מיליונים, וזה קשה מאוד היום לעמוד בפני פיתוי כזה. ובאמת הרבה הלכו לשם. והחרם האירופי בא להפעיל לחץ בכיוון ההפוך – אתה אמנם קיבלת סובסידיות וכו' וכו' אבל אתה תלך לאבד את השוק האירופי. עד היום זה לא הופעל מכיוון שהשוק האירופי לא נקט אמצעים יעילים, עכשיו שהוא מתחיל לנקוט אמצעים יעילים כמה מפעלים כבר עזבו, וחזרו לתל אביב  ולחיפה, לאווירה המורעלת של מפרץ חיפה, ואני מקווה שזה יגבר. אז זה אחד הדברים הטובים והנכונים של "גוש שלום.‏"

We held a few press conferences, we announced a boycott, we submitted the lists and travelled to Brussels for talks with officials of the European Community, and told them the same thing: 'Look, you have an economic agreement with Israel. We are Israelis, we are completely in favour, but the settlements are not part of Israel, a different law applies to them, they are affiliated with another political entity and we urge you to join our boycott'.  They were unenthusiastic to put it mildly. They said: 'No, the countries will not agree, Germany will not agree, Holland will not agree, etc… but we will discuss it'. And they discussed and discussed and discussed, over and over and after a few years they declared, the European Common Market declared that same boycott and just now the EU is discussing it. The boycott has been approved by all the countries and they are now discussing how exactly to mark the goods coming from the settlements. It would make more sense, be more logical not just to distinguish between the Israelis and the settlements, but to remove the factories from the settlements. Why did they go to the settlements? Those industrialists who established factories in the settlements didn't go there because they were politically oriented towards the extreme right. Most of them just want to make money and don't care what it smells of. The government made them offers they could not refuse. Let's talk about a classic case: you have a factory in Tel Aviv that has existed for 60 or 80 years and is working there. The government comes to you and says: 'Come to Barkan, we'll give you a plot for free, we'll give you a considerable subsidy, and you can sell your plot in the heart of Tel Aviv'. It's now worth tens of millions and it is very difficult today to resist such temptation. So a lot of them went there. The European boycott comes to exert pressure from the other side: you did indeed receive subsidies, etc, but you'll lose the European market. It was not acted upon until now because the EU didn't take effective measures but now that it is starting to take effective measures some enterprises have already left and returned to Tel Aviv and to Haifa. To the polluted Haifa gulf... and I hope they will all move back. These are the good things that Gush Shalom did.

Uri Avnery (1923-2018) was an Israeli writer, journalist and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement. As a teenager, he joined the Zionist paramilitary group, Irgun. Later, Avnery was elected to the Knesset from 1965 to 1974 and from 1979 to 1981. He was also the editor-in-chief of the weekly news magazine, 'HaOlam HaZeh' from 1950 until it closed in 1993. He famously crossed the lines during the Siege of Beirut to meet Yasser Arafat on 3 July 1982, the first time the Palestinian leader ever met with an Israeli. Avnery was the author of several books about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including '1948: A Soldier's Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem' (2008); 'Israel's Vicious Circle' (2008); and 'My Friend, the Enemy' (1986).

Listeners: Anat Saragusti

Anat Saragusti is a film-maker, book editor and a freelance journalist and writer. She was a senior staff member at the weekly news magazine Ha'olam Hazeh, where she was prominent in covering major events in Israel. Uri Avnery was the publisher and chief editor of the Magazine, and Saragusti worked closely with him for over a decade. With the closing of Ha'olam Hazeh in 1993, Anat Saragusti joined the group that established TV Channel 2 News Company and was appointed as its reporter in Gaza. She later became the chief editor of the evening news bulletin. Concurrently, she studied law and gained a Master's degree from Tel Aviv University.

Tags: European Union

Duration: 4 minutes, 4 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 26 June 2017