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November 12, 2018 10:28 am

Israeli Farmers Take Fight Against BDS to Consumers

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A pro-BDS demonstration. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – Israeli farmers from Judea and Samaria, the Golan ‎Heights and the Jordan Valley have decided to combat ‎boycott efforts more strongly, by more aggressively ‎appealing to consumers. ‎

Farmers living in these areas have seen their ‎marketing efforts in Europe suffer repeated blows ‎over the boycott, divestment and sanctions ‎movement’s calls for a consumer embargo on their ‎products, which is in line with the anti-Israel ‎organization’s efforts to delegitimize the Jewish ‎state and especially Jewish communities beyond the Green ‎Line.‎

Among other things, sales of such products have ‎suffered over the European Union’s demand to label ‎them as originating from beyond the Green Line. ‎

So far, Israeli authorities and farmers‎ have tried ‎to deal with the problem by bypassing export ‎destinations in Western Europe ‎in favor of Eastern Europe and Russia. ‎

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Now, the farmers say it is time to “stop hiding.” ‎They plan to move the EU-required label – until now ‎made as small as possible – to the front of their ‎packaging and enlarge it.‎

They also plan to invite leaders of public opinion ‎from around the world to visit their facilities.‎

The new initiative is backed by Strategic Affairs ‎Minister Gilad Erdan, whose office oversees Israel’s ‎battle against the BDS movement.‎

Jordan Valley Regional Council head David Elhayani, ‎who is promoting this initiative, explained Sunday that ‎‎”the farmers’ losses have reached 100 million shekels ‎‎[$27 million] this year alone,” adding it was “time to do ‎something.”‎

The two-pronged initiative focuses on marketing and ‎public diplomacy. ‎

Elhayani stressed that proactive marketing efforts ‎were paramount, saying, ‎‏”‏We’re already marketing ‎produce from the Jordan Valley around the world, and ‎we plan to push it even more in conferences in the ‎US and Europe. From past experience, we know it ‎works. ‎

‎”People like our dates, and when they taste them and ‎hear our stories about reality on the ground, we can ‎reach them above the leaders’ heads,” he said.‎

From a public diplomacy standpoint, the Strategic ‎Affairs Ministry has invited five delegations of ‎public opinion leaders to visit Judea and Samaria. ‎Each delegation is expected to visit Israel for a ‎week and receive a tour of Israeli farms in the ‎area. ‎

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