Prime Minster Netanyahu was responding to Secretary of State John Kerry’s threats that: “Today’s status quo absolutely, to a certainty, I promise you 100 percent, cannot be maintained. It’s not sustainable. It’s illusionary. There’s a momentary prosperity, there’s a momentary peace,” said Kerry. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Kerry was relating to Israel’s current economic situation, claiming that it will be seriously debilitated if the peace talks with the Palestinians fail.
Earlier on Sunday, Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett came out harshly against Kerry’s threats: “The Jewish nation is stronger than the threats leveled against it. Let’s be clear: there has never been a nation the relinquished its land as a result of threats. Only security will bring economic stability, not a terrorist state next to Ben-Gurion Airport. We expect our friends around the world to stand beside us, against anti-Semitic boycott efforts targeting Israel, and not for them to be their amplifier,” he said.
Denmark’s second largest bank, Danske Bank, recently announced that it has blacklisted Israel’s Bank Hapoalim because of its links to construction in Judea and Samaria. However, Bank Hapoalim announced that it has no savings or investments of any kind made by the Danske Bank.
In a post to Facebook on Sunday, Likud MK Moshe Feiglin explained why Israelis should not fear the boycott threat made by Kerry.
“When Kerry threatens a boycott, we should note that Israel exports more than 30% more to the United States than it imports,” he began.
“While the Israeli exports – primarily hi-tech – would be difficult to impossible to replace, the imports from America – primarily weapons – have replacements in Israel, or elsewhere,” he continued.
“But it goes farther than that. Israel is forced to buy systems from the United States (like the F35) that we do not need, which wastes billions, is harmful to Israeli defense, and of course, involves tremendous corruption,” he charged.
Feiglin, who heads the Jewish Leadership branch of the Likud, said he would bring further data showing how the current situation damages Israel’s economy in the upcoming days.
“But I can tell you the bottom line already,” he wrote. “It is the diplomatic process that is gnawing away at Israel’s economy and doing serious damage – not to the tune of ten billion a year as Lapid threatens, but – as I will prove – to a much greater extent.”
Kerry warned that if Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinian Authority fail, Israel will find itself facing global boycotts and delegitimization. His warning follows reports that Kerry himself is manipulating anti-Israeli boycotts for the sake of forwarding his plans for Israel-PA talks.
His comments were met with criticism among Israeli leaders. “We respect Secretary of State Kerry, but will not hold talks with a gun to our head,” said Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon.