Financial Markets Expert: Israeli Economy Soaring Since Advent of BDS Movement (INTERVIEW)
The reason that foreign capital flow into the Jewish state has increased in the years since the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was launched, lies in the strength of the Israeli economy, a market expert told The Algemeiner on Thursday.
Izzy Tapoohi, president and chief executive officer of the New York-based Development Corporation for Israel-Israel Bonds (DCI) said, “In an overview published in January, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) observed that Israel’s growth rate has exceeded that of most other OECD countries for more than a decade. Obviously Israel, particularly its high-tech sector, is an attractive investment target.”
Tapoohi was expanding on a Bloomberg report claiming that BDS has not had its proponents’ desired effect. On the contrary, the report said, “Foreign investments in Israeli assets hit a record high last year of $285.12 billion, a near-tripling from 2005,” when BDS was started by a group of Palestinian activists aiming to hit the Jewish state in its pocket.
According to Bloomberg, though the Israeli economy is slowing, it “is growing faster than those of the US and Europe and its interest rate is higher. Plus, many reject the notions driving the boycott — that investing in Israeli innovation and natural gas violates Palestinian rights, and that Israel’s misdeeds are so exceptional that they justify singling it out for censure.”
Tapoohi concurred. “Most companies are savvy enough to realize that the BDS message is predicated on distortions and disinformation, while Israel, with its creative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit, represents an exceptional business opportunity,” he said.
Asked how it is that BDS seems to be gaining momentum everywhere — especially on college campuses and, equally blatantly, in the British Labour Party — yet the effect on the ground in Israel is nil, Tapoohi explained, “From the Vietnam War onwards, college students have demonstrated against issues they perceive to be wrong or unjust. However, just because college campuses are rife with BDS activity doesn’t mean this is affecting Israel’s economy – quite the opposite, as can be seen from last year’s record levels of foreign investment. This goes to show that the loudest voices are not necessarily representative of the true situation.”
Nor, asserted Tapoohi, has DCI been affected by boycott or divestment efforts. “In each of the last three years, even though BDS activity has been steadily increasing, we exceeded over $1 billion in annual US sales. Prior to 2011, annual US sales were generally in the $600-million range. This shows that many of our clients view investing in Israel bonds – in effect, investing in one of the world’s most resilient economies – as a means of pushing back against the BDS movement.”
DCI is a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority-member broker dealer that underwrites securities issued by the state of Israel in the United States. Investment in Israel through the sale of bonds has global sales approaching a total of $40 billion.