Boycotts and sanctions: the global community’s reaction to Israel’s self-defense.

By Robert Williams, Gatestone

Since October 7, when Iranian proxies Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad committed unspeakable atrocities against men, women, children and babies in Israel, large parts of the international community have been in a frenzy over the Jews’ puzzling inclination to defend themselves.

This preference, however, not to simply let themselves be murdered by allowing Iran — through Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah — to continue inflicting death and misery on them, has led to several countries to break ties with Israel.

Not only that, but other countries have recalled their ambassadors, amid demands for boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS), isolation, and general exclusion from world society of the world’s only Jewish state.

Countries that have broken ties with Israel since October 7 include Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, and Turkey. Bahrain, Chad, Chile, Honduras, Jordan and South Africa have withdrawn their ambassadors.

The Maldives, popular with vacationing Israelis, announced in early June that Israelis, because of the war in Gaza, would be banned from the country, but later suspended the ban when it realized that Arab-Israelis would also be affected by the ban.

Even before October 7, Israeli passport-holders were already prohibited from entering 16 countries, including Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Oman and Yemen. Apartheid, anyone?

Instead of breaking ties, several European countries have used boycotts and exclusion.

Last month, French authorities announced that the entire Israeli defense industry would be banned from the Eurosatory 2024 fair, one of the world’s largest defense industry trade shows, which is taking place in France this year from June 17-21. Israel was scheduled to participate with 74 companies.

“The conditions are no longer right to host Israeli companies at the Paris show, given that the French president is calling for the cessation of IDF operation in Rafah,” France’s Defense Ministry said in a May 31 statement, ordering the organizers to ban the participation of Israeli companies.

Coges Event, the organizer of Eurosatory, appealed the French government’s ban in the Paris Commercial Court. On June 18, the court order that the ban be suspended – probably too late to be of any help to Israel.

The reason given by the court was that the government ban forced the organizers of the exhibition to discriminate, a criminal offence under French law.

This is the same French government so obsessed with appearing inclusive and non-discriminatory that it recently supported a bill that outlaws discrimination based on hair texture, length, color or style.

Meanwhile, the French government did not think it necessary to ban the participation of China, presently indulging in two genocides – against Tibetans and against Uyghurs – from participating in Eurosatory. China’s representation at the trade fair counts around 61 defense companies.

The French government also did not ban Saudi Arabia, among the world’s worst human rights abusers, or Turkey, which has been taken to the International Criminal Court for committing crimes against humanity against hundreds of thousands of opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruthless regime, and that continues to wage war against the Kurds, threatens its Greek island neighbors, and of course still occupies the northern half of Cyprus, after illegally invading it in 1974.

When there are no Jews to blame, evidently, crimes against humanity, genocide and human rights abuses are perfectly acceptable.

The ban, however, was not enough for French-based pro-Hamas NGOs, including Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) and Al-Haq. These NGOs filed a petition with another French court — Bobigny District Court — to ensure that not only the Israeli companies and their representatives, but all Israelis, would be excluded from participating in the fair.

Bobigny District Court granted the NGOs their wish, ruling that anyone working for or representing Israeli firms was banned from the event, including “intermediaries” acting on behalf of those companies. The court did not limit this ban to Israelis alone, but “to any person likely to operate as their broker or intermediary.” In addition, the court strictly prohibited exhibitors from welcoming Israelis and their intermediaries to their stands, or from promoting them.

Sacha Roytman, CEO of the organization Combat Antisemitism said about the court’s ruling:

“Banning Jewish companies simply because Israel is defending itself against the largest attack on Jews since the Holocaust is blatant antisemitism. Today, Israel is at the forefront of the war between Western values and radical Islamism. Countries will soon need to learn from Israel how to combat terrorism effectively. The Holocaust began with laws against Jews. Today, it starts again with laws and courts authorizing the boycott of the only Jewish state. In 1933, no one believed it would lead to the Holocaust and World War II, yet it happened.”

Other European countries are also falling over themselves to boycott and exclude Israel.

Belgium, which enjoys warm and strong relations with terror-sponsoring Qatar, is strongly advocating that the European Union boycott products from Israel’s Judea and Samaria regions, also known as the “West Bank,” over Israel’s response to the Iranian-orchestrated October 7 invasion by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Since October 7, more than 19,000 rockets have been launched into Israel, a country smaller than New Jersey, primarily by the terrorist groups ruling Gaza, as well as from another of Iran’s terrorist proxies, Hezbollah in Lebanon. In addition to the rockets, Hezbollah has since unremittingly attacked Israel with barrages of guided anti-tank missiles and explosive-laden drones, killing civilians and security forces, destroying homes, and causing wildfires and the destruction of farmland and nature reserves in Israel’s north.

On April 13, the Islamic Republic of Iran itself fired more than 120 ballistic missiles, 170 drones and 30 cruise missiles in its first direct attack on Israel from Iranian soil.

“Can we now simply continue with Israel as a trading partner? I do not think so,” intoned Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who then announced that his goal was to have Belgium break economic ties with Israel and influence other European countries to follow suit.

The Belgian government also called for the EU foreign policy chief to examine whether Israel has “violated its association agreement with the EU” and stop all weapons sales to Israel. His Deputy Prime Minister, Petra De Sutter, has been itching for sanctions against the Jewish state since at least November 8, just one month after Palestinian terrorists mass raped, kidnapped, tortured, murdered and burned alive babies, children, women, men and the elderly.

“We are working on further sanctions,” DeSutter said in May. Both France and Belgium support international arrest warrants for Israel’s leaders. In Belgium, the city of Liege “suspended all relations with Israel”, mostly as a show of Jew-hate: the city has no formal ties with Israel.

In March, the Brussels City Council unanimously decided to “block public procurement of products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank” and on June 19, the city council announced that it would be “impossible” to host an upcoming UEFA soccer match between Belgium and Israel in Brussels, citing concerns for “the safety of spectators, players, Brussels residents and our police forces.”

The Netherlands stopped delivering parts for F-35 fighter jets to Israel after a Dutch court ruled in February that there was a “clear risk” the planes would be involved in “breaking international humanitarian law in Gaza.” Never mind that John Spencer, Chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point, determined that Israel has consistently implemented more measures to prevent civilian casualties than any military in the history of warfare. The court case was the outcome of a lawsuit filed by several NGOs, including Oxfam. The Dutch government has appealed the decision.

Oslo, the capital of Norway, announced a ban on importing goods and services of companies that “contribute directly or indirectly” to “settlements.”

Spain, the home of the Inquisition, suspended arms sales to Israel, and “Spain’s Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, revealed that Madrid has halted all arms exports to Tel Aviv since 7 October,” when the Hamas mass-murder of 1,200 Israelis was ongoing and Israel was still trying to stop it. Even that was evidently too much to stomach for the Spanish government. Still not enough for Spain. it recently said that not even foreign ships carrying military supplies to Israel would be allowed to dock in Spanish ports.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will systematically reject these docking operations for a clear reason. The Middle East does not need more weapons, it needs more peace,” said Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares.

The remark, oddly, did not appear to be addressed the entities that started the war: Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and Qatar.

Barcelona severed all official ties with Israel, which the mayor, grotesquely, accused of “apartheid.” Guess it is still 1492 there.

Iran, the Middle East’s warmonger par excellence, and — along with major funding from Qatar, which seems never to have met an Islamic terrorist group it did not finance or promote (such as here, here and here) — was the originator of the current war in Gaza.

Iran’s terrorist proxies span the region — Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza; Hezbollah in Lebanon; the Houthis in Yemen, and various proxy militias in Syria and Iraq — well-funded because of the Biden administration’s lifting sanctions.

Yet Albares has nothing but praise for Iran. On the sidelines of the Davos World Economic Forum meeting in January, Albares, according to a report by Iran’s Foreign Ministry, described Iran “as a very important and influential player in the region.”

“… Albares expressed gratitude to the Iranian foreign minister for his perspective on mutual and regional issues, welcoming the continuation of consultations and exchanges of views between the two sides in bilateral and regional areas.

“The Spanish foreign minister voiced concern over the consequences of the perpetuation of war in Gaza, highlighting the need to stop war and attacks on civilians and observe international laws as well as humanitarian rights.”

The submission to the Islamic regime by European leaders such as Albares, who knows full well that Iran is behind the war in Gaza, tells us more about them than about Israel.

Finally, the EU as a whole is seriously considering imposing EU-wide sanctions on Israel. At the end of May, EU foreign ministers met to discuss the issue, but have yet to reach agreement on how to proceed. In April, however, the EU imposed sanctions on Israeli “settlers.” Regrettably, to many Palestinians, all of Israel is “one big settlement” that needs to be uprooted, and everyone there, a “settler.”