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Israeli Economic Leaders Fearful of Potential Boycotts Head to Davos

As part of World Economic Forum-supported peace initiative

Batya Ungar-Sargon
January 23, 2014
Participants arrive at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 21, 2014.(ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

Participants arrive at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 21, 2014.(ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

For some attendees, this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, has a somewhat unexpected focus: a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Leaders from Israel’s tech and banking industries will fly to Davos economic forum to support Kerry’s peace effort,” Ynet reports, and will urge Israel and Palestinian leaders to reach a “deal to save Israel’s economy from looming boycott.”

Nearly 100 Israeli economic leaders will be arriving in Davos under the auspices of BTI, or “Breaking the Impasse”—an initiative “nurtured and supported” by the World Economic Forum that includes more than 300 Palestinian and Israeli business leaders committed to urging their governments towards resolving the conflict. The group proposes that a two-state solution should be pursued for the purpose of social and economic well-being in the region.

“Leaders from Israel’s business community will meet world leaders to convey one simple message: ‘The conflict harms everyone’s pockets.’ BTI stressed that they are not attempting to deal with the details of any agreement, but only in what they understand – economics,” YNet reports.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Tzipi Livni, and Shimon Peres will also be at Davos, where Professor Klaus Schwab, chairman of the World Economic Forum, reportedly promised to devote an entire day to the discussion of peace negotiations.

While the American Studies Association’s much-discussed boycott of Israeli academics may have failed to impress Americans, Israel’s economic leadership is clearly spooked at the prospect of financial sanctions resulting from the stalled peace process and increasing anti-Israel sentiment.

Batya Ungar-Sargon is a freelance writer who lives in New York. Her Twitter feed is @bungarsargon.

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