After a wave of Palestinian violence last month that killed more than a hundred people, the Israeli authorities have imposed restrictions on clothing produced in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The move has sparked outrage across the region, with boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns across the globe.
But a new report, produced by a group of Israeli academics and experts, suggests that Israeli society and leaders have failed to appreciate the true significance of the new policy.
The report argues that while Israeli society has been very receptive to the boycott movement, there is a lack of understanding about what boycotts actually are.
The researchers also suggest that the boycott of Israeli products has little impact on Israeli society.
“I think the problem is not the boycott itself, but the way it is practiced,” said Yossi Altshuler, one of the report’s authors.
“BDS is a tool, but it is also a tool that has a very negative effect on society and the economy.”
The study, published in the International Journal of Social and Political Communication, is based on a survey of Israeli consumers who participated in the Israel-Palestine Economic Dialogue in 2016.
The participants were surveyed by a team of researchers who analyzed consumer habits, economic attitudes, and political attitudes.
The survey was conducted online and in person, and was conducted before and after the boycott.
The results revealed that while Israel has a huge consumer base, its economy is relatively poor.
While the study’s authors acknowledge that the economy is “not a panacea for the Palestinian situation,” they point out that the survey showed that Israelis are willing to boycott Palestinian goods.
“This survey provides important insights on consumer behaviour, which are very important in understanding how consumer preferences and behaviour change over time,” said the study, which was co-authored by Prof. Avi Shafran of the Department of Social Sciences at Yeshiva University, and Prof. Nir Kafri of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
The findings show that consumers are far more likely to boycott Israeli products if they have strong economic interests at stake, such as when they’re dealing with the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, or when it comes to Palestinian products that have high symbolic value.
In the survey, only 6 percent of respondents stated that they were willing to buy a Palestinian product if it had a symbolic value, compared to 25 percent of the people in the US and 36 percent of Palestinians.
“We think that the economic interests that people have are very much more important than the symbolism,” Altshar said.
“When they’re talking about economic interests, the economic interest is much more influential than symbolism.
When people are thinking about the symbolism of the PA, their economic interest, their political interest is even more powerful.”
The researchers also found that Palestinians are more likely than Israelis to boycott products that are perceived as symbols of the occupation, including garments produced by the PA.
According to the survey results, 76 percent of Israelis are aware of the importance of Palestinian symbols.
The researchers conclude that the Israeli boycott of Palestinian goods has no tangible effect on the Palestinian economy, but is more about symbolic value than actual economic impact.
“The boycott is more symbolic than economic,” Albshuler said.
“It’s not about economic impact, but about symbolic significance.”
The authors of the study suggest that many Israeli consumers don’t understand the difference between economic and symbolic boycotts.
“Most Israeli consumers, when they think about the boycott, don’t see it as a tool to prevent Palestinian products from being made, because the boycott is a very symbolic measure,” said Prof. Altshel.
“Instead, they see it to be a tool of economic control, and it’s really a symbolic measure.”
Altshul added that many Israelis think that boycotts are only a tool for Palestinians to protest Israel’s occupation of the West.
“Many Israelis think the boycott was used by Palestinians to get rid of a political leader, so they don’t really understand the economic impact,” he said.
The authors suggest that if the Palestinian people were able to boycott the PA and Israel, the Palestinian territories would have become an economic powerhouse.
“Israel and the Palestinian Territories would be able to compete with other countries for foreign investment, and the Palestinians would have the opportunity to invest in the infrastructure and the education system of the region,” Alshel said.
However, the authors also suggest, this would have resulted in a huge economic loss to the Palestinian government.
“This is an example of why the boycott can be a very damaging tool for the Palestinians, not only for economic benefits but also for the long-term viability of the Palestinian state,” Alinshuler concluded.