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Ehud Barak: BDS is developing, Israel liable to a boycott

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak as warned that Israel is vulnerable to a boycott, as the BDS movement develops.

In an interview in Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Barak was asked whether he thought that a boycott of Israel was developing, along the lines of what the apartheid regime in South Africa faced.

Describing a process of “delegitimisation” taking place “below the surface”, Barak acknowledged that “the BDS movement is developing.”

As long as those voices against Israel came from Eritrea or Mauritania, fine; when they start to come from Scandinavia and Britain, it’s a serious problem. Look at Israel’s standing in the community of labor organizations worldwide – it’s a very grim situation. That will continue with consumer organizations, pension funds, the universities.

Barak also commented on the situation on US campuses, noting that “35 years ago, the universities were bastions of sympathy for Israel.” Today, however, “you come to a university and you’re told in advance whether there will be a demonstration.”

These groups are quantitatively negligible, but in terms of their essence, they are the future leadership of the United States and of the world. It’s a gradual trend, but it’s sliding toward a tipping point, and at the end of that tipping point awaits a slope or, heaven forbid, an abyss.

Levelling heavy criticism at the Netanyahu government, Barak said Israel’s isolation was very much a possibility.

But to say it can’t happen? It could happen, even if we don’t want it to. We don’t want a boycott, but there is liable to be a boycott. We don’t want Israel’s isolation, but Israel could find itself in very painful isolation.

Barak referenced the situation that faced South Africa prior to the end of apartheid, and noted that “the pressure and the sanctions” were what “brought about [the leadership’s] awakening.”

They were people of a very high level, intellectually and otherwise, and they had wonderful explanations. They said, ‘The Americans are preaching morality to us? Well, they committed genocide, all they have left are pangs of conscience.’ Or they said, ‘We gave the blacks everything, the possibility to work, and comparatively they are living better than in their deserts, we gave them opportunities and they developed.’

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