In a blow to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, foreign investments in Israel have been growing despite efforts to isolate the Jewish State internationally. According to Bloomberg,foreign investments have nearly tripled since 2005, when BDS was founded, reaching a record high of $285.12 billion last year.
Supporters of BDS range from those who disagree with Israel’s security policies to those who deny the Jewish State’s right to exist. These famously include Stephen Hawking, who refused to attend a a Jerusalem conference in 2013, and Lauryn Hill, who canceled her scheduled 2015 concert. The movement claims it is making inroads internationally, and Israel has acknowledged BDS as a “strategic threat”. However, the Israeli economy does not appear to have been harmed thus far.
“We don’t have a problem with foreign investment in Israel — on the contrary,” Yoel Naveh, chief economist at Israel’s finance ministry told Bloomberg in an interview.
While Israel’s economy is slowing, it is still growing more steadily that other countries’, at an expected rate of 2.8 percent to the US and EU’s 1.8 percent. According to the Israeli Export and International Cooperation Institute, Israel’s industrial high-tech exports rose 13 percent over the previous year to $23.7 billion in 2015. Meanwhile, the BlueStar Israel Global Index, a gauge of globally-listed Israeli companies, has doubled over the past decade.
In addition to Israeli startups raising $3.76 billion last year from foreign investors, another $5.89 billion poured in through foreign acquisitions of Israeli companies.
BDS members are not worried by Israel’s economic health. “BDS is not just working,” said Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the campaign. “It is working far better and spreading into the mainstream much faster than we had anticipated.”
The impact of BDS, he added, is in the “indirect, palpable psychological impact on the mainstream Israeli psyche about the country becoming more ‘isolated’ from the world.”
Many investors, however, are more concerned with choosing assets which will turn a healthy profit within the confines of the law. If those assets are to be found in Israel, then that’s where they will invest.