Daily Israel Report

Industrialist Supports Boycott of Himself?

Dov Lautman supports the New Israel Fund, which supports a global boycott of his own firms, journalist Ben-Dror Yemini reports.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/19/2010, 6:49 PM / Last Update: 12/19/2010, 6:56 PM

Israel radio photo

Leading Israeli industrialist Dov Lautman supports the New Israel Fund, which supports a movement that boycotts three factories that Lautman himself founded. The embarrassing situation was exposed by journalist Ben-Dror Yemini of Ma'ariv, who sees it as symptomatic of leftist "blindness."

As the holiday season drew near, Yemini reported in his Hebrew-language blog, haters of Israel published a list of "Top Ten Brands to Boycott this Christmas." Lautman's "Delta Galilee," a manufacturer of undergarments, is in second place on the blacklist, which is part of the so-called "BDS" ("boycott, divestment and sanctions") campaign against Israel. Lautman is also responsible for the creation of two other firms on the list, Yemini wrote.
 
Absurdly, however, Lautman also identifies with the controversial New Israel Fund, which supports the global boycott, the journalist explained. Lautman was listed among the signatories of an advertisement in support of the NIF in February, when the Fund came under attack for its support of groups that libeled the IDF following the Cast Lead counter-terror campaign. His son, Noam Lautman, who sits on the board of the Lautman Fund along with his father, is a board member of the Fund, and of Shatil, its "operational arm."
 
The NIF claims that it does not support organizations that support the BDS movement. However, Yemini said, this claim is a lie: "A group of bodies that enjoy the Fund's support are signatories on a petition calling on the government of Norway to suspend investments in Israel. This is an action that is at the heart of the BDS campaign. Women's Coalition for Peace, which is supported by the Fund, supports BDS activities. We are not talking about one activity, but a set of activities, including active support of the Palestinian version of the boycott."
 
The Coalition of Women for Peace, added the reporter, collects donations for its own boycott project against Israeli firms  through NIF branches worldwide. The Coalition does not enjoy tax-free status, he wrote, but the Fund does.
 
Delta has no connection to Judea and Samaria or the "occupation" of these Biblical provinces, Yemini noted. The same is true of all but one of the ten blacklisted companies. 
 
Lautman responded to Yemini's expose by saying that he finds the BDS movement "revolting." And yet, he said, "I am proud of my support for the New Israel Fund, and of my son's involvement in the Fund as a board member."
 
Lautman insisted that the Fund is "Zionist" and that it does not support any activity that calls for the boycott of the State of Israel or companies that operate within the state's borders."
 
Analyzing Lautman's response, Yemini wrote that Lautman was choosing to ignore the clear facts he was presented with. "This is not [just] his blindness," he wrote. "It is the blindness of part of the Israeli Left."