“It’s kind of silly,” he said afterward. “We expect an Israeli company that makes flat bread to influence their government’s policies?”
More to the point, the organizers intend to boycott firms solely because of where they are based, and not because of any contribution these firms make to the occupation they are protesting. It’s a self-satisfying protest move that isn’t going to change anything, and it is one that is likely to punish Israelis who share the organizers’ political objections to government policies. Michael Desch discussed the futility of the BDS movement for TAC back in 2010. Part of what I said at the time bears repeating:
To the extent that boycotts, divestment and sanctions successfully cut off the people imposing them from the country they are targeting, all that this does is open the field to other investors and competitors. It deprives the boycott and divestment participants of whatever influence they might have had, and it will tend to make the target government even less responsive to the demands of the supporters of the boycott. BDS movements might work if the country being targeted were entirely dependent on one or a few other countries, but every remotely modern economy is diversified enough and connected to so many other so others that any company or institution’s decision to divest from a targeted state simply becomes a buying opportunity for its competitors overseas. Even if a large number of American and European firms could be pressured into supporting such a movement, which I very much doubt they could, there would be Indian, Chinese and other firms lining up to take advantage of Western withdrawals from the Israeli market. The same would hold true at the state level. As unlikely as U.S. and EU sanctions are, other major and rising powers would readily take advantage of them if they ever happened. If Western governments are going to be able to change Israeli policies in the territories, which seems less likely all the time, it would have to be through using what leverage they have rather than depriving themselves of influence through imposing morally-satisfying, useless sanctions.