A boycott of Israel by the European Union would cost billions according to a government-commissioned report, further details of which appeared in the Israeli media this week.
The study was initiated in 2013 by then-Finance Minister Yair Lapid, and examines possible scenarios based on different types of punitive measures.
In the least severe scenario envisaged, the EU would lead a voluntary boycott of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, leading to a loss to Israeli exports of around 1 billion shekels per annum.
Other scenarios envisaged include the EU blocking settlement products and a partial boycott from non-EU states, costing a NIS 4.37 billion drop in exports.
Israel’s worst case scenario would mean a complete embargo on Israeli products in Europe, with damage amounting to NIS 84.4 billion in lost exports, and a NIS 40 billion drop in GDP.
By way of background, the Finance Ministry report claims that “since the September 11 attacks, when Israel positioned itself with the West in the ‘war on terror,’ there has been a deterioration in Israel’s standing in the world, particularly in liberal circles.”
“Today, the issue of a boycott is being advanced by non-governmental organizations and promoted by people who enjoy high public profiles”, the report states.
Noting the experience of Apartheid South Africa, the report comments: “The tipping point in Israel’s international relationships could push Israel’s economy from its current growth path to another path in which the Israeli economy returns to be a relatively closed one and the quality of life is lower.”