Divestment plan could harden Israel's stance, warn peace groups

Might be the wrong strategy
If mainline Protestant church groups divest from businesses operating in Israel, as some say they might, it could actually harden rather than soften Israel’s stance toward Palestinians, warn prominent pro-Palestinian groups in Israel.

Proponents of divestment say it would pressure Israeli and American companies to change policies toward the Palestinians in the same way economic pressure on South Africa led to an end of apartheid. But in Israel, even those Israelis vehemently opposed to what they call Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian land doubt whether such a divestment strategy would work.

Yariv Oppenheimer, the head of Peace Now, a left-wing organization that has long fought for an end to Israeli military rule over the Palestinians, said divestment would serve only to strengthen Israel’s self-image as a persecuted nation subjected to one-sided United Nations resolutions and boycotts instigated by Arab countries.


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