Even though Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has called boycotts of Israel “stupid and futile,” about 170 people from more than 50 Italian universities have signed on to boycott Israel’s schools and universities, marking the first Italian BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) action against Israel.
In a speech before the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) on Wednesday, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi aligned Italy with the Jewish state. “Italy will always stand for cooperation and never for boycotts, which are stupid and futile. Peace for Jerusalem is peace for the whole world. Our fate is your fate. Together we will build a more just world."
While many around the world seek to enforce and expand a boycott of Israel, Canada and Israel enriched their Free Trade Agreement on Tuesday, strengthening ties between Canadian and Israeli businesses. When the deal was announced last week, Canadian politicians not only hailed the agreement's benefits, they also emphasized commitment to Israel.
American Christian church organizations continue to discuss ways to delegitimize and hurt Israel economically. This past week, three US churches ruled on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) measures against Israel. On Tuesday, the United Church of Christ announced it will divest from Jewish-run companies in the disputed territories, claiming "a desire to support Palestinians in their nonviolent struggle for freedom."
This Monday, a six-day campaign began across Britain designed to discredit Israel with false accusations of Apartheid and criminal behavior, while also promoting Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli businesses and products. Between February 23 and the end of March, Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) will occur across the world at varying lengths—likely in many of the 200-plus cities that hosted events last year.
As the situation grows desperate for some in Gaza, Gaza's Ministry of Economy is ending its five-year boycott of Israeli products. Because many of the Strip’s production facilities were destroyed during last summer’s conflict with Israel and the slow pace of reconstruction, Gaza will now accept “Zionist products” in order to keep the market active, according to Ma'an, the Palestinian news agency.
Chris Gunness, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) official spokesperson in Gaza known for his unflinching support of Hamas during Operation Protective Edge, returning missiles stored in their schools to the terrorist organization and hiring teachers associated with the organization, has reached a new low. He is currently urging a boycott of the English language Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post.
Justin Timberlake, who performed in Tel Aviv on Jerusalem Day, managed to raise the ire of his Palestinian fans on Tuesday when he posted a photo of himself at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on social media, which he gave the hashtag #Israel and captioned—“What an experience. I will never forget this day.” Within two hours, the Instagram post had received close to 150,000 likes. The response was not all positive, however. One Instagram user responded, “There was never an Israel, this was always Palestine.”
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