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Israel mulls counters to boycott threat

Israeli ministers have threatened a range of retaliatory measures after British university teachers voted to consider a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. At a weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday, Trade Minister Eli Yishai said he would hold talks on how Israeli industry would respond. He cited potential counter measures to include an e-mail campaign urging North Americans to boycott British goods and services and a refusal by Israeli workers to unload British exports. On Monday, the Knesset is to debate a bill that could lead to the boycott of all British consumer goods, the Times of London reported. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also is reported to be working on formulating a plan to combat the boycott.The moves come in response to a vote by the British Union of Colleges and Universities last week to consider an academic boycott of Israel. Britain’s largest labor union, UNISON, is also considering a boycott.According to the Guardian newspaper, Britain exported more than $2.5 billion in goods and services to Israel in 2005, while Israel exported about half that amount to the United Kingdom.