An eye for an eye, a boycott for a boycott? Thirty-nine members of Knesset signed a petition calling the Israeli public to reconsider availing themselves of British goods and services. In the petition, the MKs express their disgust from Britain's recent decisions regarding marking Israeli goods sold in the country.
According to the report, first published last week in Ynet, the British government recommended all retail chains in the kingdom to place prominent labels on products imported from West Bank settlements and the Golan Heights indicating their origin.
The MKs' petition calls upon Britian "to overturn immediately this decision that casts a shadow on the economic cooperation between citizens of the countries."
"We hope there will not be a need for additional action to demonstrate the severity with which we view the recommendation, which amounts de facto to encouraging a boycott on Israeli goods," the petition continued.
MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), who initiated the petition, said that if the British labeling continues, she will consider drafting a bill that will obligate British products in Israel to be labeled.
"I am calling upon the public to ignore the continual hostile atmosphere from Britain. It certainly will not be so bad if, thanks to such a public mobilization, we will encourage purchasing Israeli products. Then we will have turned our loss into win," she said.
According to her, the initiative is also supported by Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin. Tirosh even contacted the accountant general in the Finance Ministry with a request that trips made by public figures on British Airways not be recognized.
'A gut feeling'
Members of Knesset for all the factions signed on the petition, including Labor MKs Eitan Cabel and Amir Peretz and Kadima MKs Zeev Elkin an Avi Dichter. The aforementioned have made significant efforts in recent days to obtain the signatures of additional members of Knesset before the petition is sent to the chairman of the British parliament.
One of the signatories, MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima), explained: "I think we need to stand by our sovereignty. Anyone who damages Israeli sovereignty must understand that the State of Israel will know how to uphold its national honor. Whoever initiates a boycott against Israel needs to know it will have a price."
MK Eitan Cabel said: "I don't like that every day people are boycotting Israel. This is why I signed the petition. Not that our petitions affect or matter to anyone, but it's mainly for the gut feeling."
The parliamentary petition is bound to increase tensions between Israel and Britain, particularly after an arrest warrant was issued against former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Britain for supposed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead. In September, an arrest warrant was issued against Defense Minister Ehud Barak for similar reasons.
The arrest warrants were allowed under a British law that permits citizens to request the arrest of anyone being sued for war crimes.