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Leftist Israelis urge boycott of products made by settlers

JERUSALEM, Dec. 29 (JTA) — Israeli settlement leaders are saying a call by left-wing activists to boycott goods from the West Bank and Gaza Strip resembles actions by the Nazis. More than 70 peace activists, among them academics, artists and authors, published an advertisement in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz last Friday calling for a boycott of goods produced in the settlements. The advertisement stated that “every shekel to the settlements is a shekel against the peace.” Leaders of the Yesha Council, which represents settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, said the move hinted of anti-Semitism from the Nazi era, a “dark time when Jewish factories were blacklisted.” “It is anti-Semitism by one Jew to another,” said one settler leader. Leaders of the council said international exports, mostly produce and flowers, generate some $30 million to $40 million dollars a year while millions more are earned on sales within Israel. The council expressed concern that the call would encourage anti-Israel elements within the United Nations to call for an international boycott of goods produced in the territories. Israeli media reported several months ago about calls within the European Union for such a boycott as a means of pressuring Israel in its negotiations with the Palestinians.