Daily Israel Report

‘Start-up Israel’ Author: Anti-Zionist Boycott ‘Impossible’

Dan Senor, co-author of “Start-Up Nation” on Israel’s economic miracle, says it is “impossible” for an anti-Zionist boycott to succeed.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/10/2009, 10:57 PM / Last Update: 11/10/2009, 11:03 PM

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It is “impossible" for anti-Zionists to succeed in their attempt to boycott Israel because U.S. President Barack Obama will listen to Google’s Eric Schmidt before listening to the anti-nationalist J Street lobby, according to the co-author of Start-Up Nation.

Dan Senor, who along with Saul Singer, an American immigrant to Israel, wrote the book that is a best-seller in the United States, told the Atlantic Monthly that the boycott movement is a failure. “I don't want to oversimplify, but who do think is more important to Barack Obama: The head of J Street or Eric Schmidt at Google?" he said. "And if Eric Schmidt said that his company would be devastated if Israel came off-line -- and we interviewed Schmidt and he talked about the importance of Israel -- then I think I know the answer.”

The two-year-old J Street lobby, which bills itself as “pro-Israel” and “pro-peace,” is partly financed by Muslim groups.

Senor said that “it's impossible” for the boycott movement to succeed. "One person after another told us is that the one place in the world that it would be devastating for them to have shut down would be Israel, because they put so much of their mission-critical work and R&D in Israel,” he explained

Senor and Singer’s new book is a rare look at Israel without touching on politics and wars. The authors said they wanted to discover and reveal the ingredients behind Israel’s modern economic miracle that is illustrated by its being near the top of list in foreign countries with listings on the NASDAQ and in the number of new patents,

The nations’ personality offers one key to its success, according to Singer. "It's very Israeli to be constantly questioning, arguing and not accepting, but challenging authority. Israelis are not worrying about hierarchy and ranks,” he told Israel 21c.

Senor told the Atlantic that the United States can learn from Israel although there are some things in the Jewish state that simply cannot be copied elsewhere – such as Judaism and Jewish culture.

The authors also cite the close-knit society that serves in the Israel Defense Forces as providing the groundwork for characteristics of self-criticism, tolerance and encouragement that are behind the mind for innovations.  

“[President] Shimon Peres told us that Jews have a tendency throughout our history to be dissatisfied. That's a big theme, so this is obviously a big part of IDF culture,” Senor stated. “It's a very entrepreneurial, start-up military. There are very few bosses.”

He noted that one of the reasons Israel survived and recovered so quickly from the global financial disaster last year is that Israelis say, "All right, we're not quitting. We'll figure it out, we'll get through this…Let's solve new problems and let's be resilient."