A growing trend in multinational factories pulling out of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank has settler leaders aggrieved, according to a report by Israel National News, a leading settler media outlet.
Several multinational companies in recent months have packed up and left the Barkan Industrial Park, near the Ariel settlement in the northern West Bank. In an ironic twist, multinationals that have bought out Israeli companies with facilities in Barkan have moved them out of the occupied territories.
Boycotts, boycotts, and Israel’s new corporate bosses
According to the report, one company’s move in particular flustered settler leader Ron Nachman, mayor of Ariel in the northern occupied West Bank. After European groups organized a boycott of its products, Anglo-Dutch transnational consumer goods manufacturer Unilever removed the Beigel & Beigel pretzel and cracker factory that it owns, and moved it within the pre-June 1967 boundaries.
The settler mayor said he authorized the establishment of the factory in Ariel’s Barkan Industrial Zone over 20 years ago, praising it as “a wonderful business.” And now “all of a sudden Unilever buys it up and because of politics moves it” out of the territories. Perhaps feeling personally sidelined by the “politics” of the day, Nachman failed to attend this week’s inauguration of his “wonderful business“ ‘s new location.
According to Who Profits, Unilever owns 100 percent of Beigel & Beigel and announced its intention to pull out of Barkan in 2010.
“Politics”, of course, is Nachman’s buzz word for boycott-driven international public opinion, which does not accept the legitimacy of colonial settlement in the 21st century.
“Many Israeli companies that have been acquired by multinationals and had facilities in Barkan were moved elsewhere, to within the 1948 armistice lines,” Nachman was quoted as saying.
Nachman continued to bewail the lamentable plight of his settlement: “First the Palestinians boycotted us and then the South Aricans did, and now Israelis themselves are taking away our factories,” on orders from their new international corporate bosses.
Born under a bad century for Israeli settlement
Nachman and his henchmen surely would have preferred the scenario of their kindred sprits, the Anglo settlers of 19th century Arizona. These white settlers had it great. They were similarly driven by a political-religious fervor in conquering coveted indigenous territory, wiping out the inhabitants, and eventually breaking away from military dependency for economic livelihood with settler-led industry.
As the global clout of boycott intensifies, Nachman and others like him will continue to be reminded that they were born in the wrong century and their days of occupation and settlement are numbered.