In a recent TV interview, Palestinian Ambassador to the EU Abd Al-Rahim Al-Farra said that there were ongoing efforts in European countries to promote the boycott against products from the settlements. "There is official response [to our demands], albeit slow," he said. There is " great success in Europe for the boycott of Israeli products, and for the academic, cultural, and artistic boycott of Israel, [as well as] in Africa, in Asia, and in Latin America," said Al-Farra, speaking on the official Palestinian Authority TV channel on August 4.
Al-Farra: "There are Palestinian-European friendship associations throughout the EU member states, and they engage in almost daily activity in order to implement the decision (to boycott products from Israeli settlements). They are constantly calling to refrain from importing these products, regardless of whether they are labeled or not. These products must not leave their country of origin (Israel). Even a well-known food corporation, like the French Carrefour, which has branches in all European countries, and even in some Arab countries, I'm sad to say, distributes these products. A short while ago, in France, a demonstration was held inside a branch of Carrefour by protesters who opposed the presence of these products there, and who demanded that European governments prevent the importing of these products. Let me just say that there is official response (to our demands), albeit slow. It has not yet reached the level that we Palestinians would like, because the truth is that Israel understands no other language.
"To be honest, the Palestinian diplomats bear a heavy burden in this respect. All our ambassadors in the EU member states - myself included - and in fact, worldwide - in Latin America, Asia, and Africa - are implementing the instructions of the honorable President Mahmoud Abbas, and the guidelines of the Foreign Ministry, in all the different fields. When it comes to this issue, which is the most sensitive issue that could impact Israel - so much so that following the resolution of the European Commission to adopt the European Parliament decision to label products from the settlements, Israel began to seriously consider establishing a government ministry dedicated to fighting the boycott, and not leave it up to the Foreign Ministry or the Israeli Army Ministry (sic). So Israel is considering establishing a ministry to fight this boycott..."
Interviewer: "This shows how dangerous they believe the boycott to be..."
Al-Farra: "Exactly. Let me reiterate that from all the countries worldwide - in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe - the countries of the EU in particular are Israel's main economic partners. If we list the fields, we are not talking only about an economic boycott or a boycott of the products of the settlements. There are serious efforts in Europe to boycott (Israeli) universities, we have seen this academic boycott in Europe - in France, Belgium, and Germany. There is also a boycott of banks. For example, a major bank in Germany, Deutsche Bank, terminated all its cooperation contracts with the Israeli Hapoalim Bank, and as a result, the Israeli bank incurred heavy losses. When the Deutsche Bank management was asked why it had taken that action, and the Israeli embassy in Germany looked into it, the Deutsche Bank management said: We noticed that Hapoalim Bank was conducting extensive activity within the illegal settlements in the occupied territories. All this has had an impact on Israel.
"We all know that a strong Zionist lobby operates in the US, not only to prevent the boycott of Israel, but to help Israel in all matters. But when we see such great success in Europe for the boycott of Israeli products, and for the academic, cultural, and artistic boycott of Israel, (as well as) in Africa, in Asia, and in Latin America... When two years ago, President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech at the Arab-Latin American summit, he said, very clearly and openly, that Latin America must also boycott products from the Israeli settlements. The idea was very much welcomed. But everybody is familiar with the US and Canada, and all of us Palestinians - both in Palestine and the diaspora... We are well aware of the blind support of America and Canada for Israel. But let me just say that there is another campaign, and other forces on the international level - whether in Europe, Latin America, or Asia - that offset these forces and are even greater than them."