(Photo by FOX News Radio's Emily Wither)
(Photo by FOX News Radio's Emily Wither)

By FOX News Radio's Emily Wither in Jerusalem, Israel

Perched on a hilltop surrounded by beautiful countryside, Cheski Baum from Brooklyn, NY enjoys a tasting session at a local winery during a vacation with his wife and son.

But he's not just here to enjoy the local produce; he's also making a political statement.

"One of the reasons we came here today is because we heard on the radio that there are calls to boycott products from Judea and Samaria and we want to come and show our support for these companies," he explained, while sipping an award-winning house red.

(Photo by FOX News Radio's Emily Wither)
(Photo by FOX News Radio's Emily Wither)

Judea and Samaria is the official Israeli name for what is universally known as the West Bank. Psagot Winery is just north of Jerusalem and is built in a settlement erected on land Israel captured in 1967. Settlements like this one are considered illegal under international law and the Palestinians claim this land as part of a prospective future state.

In recent months the call to boycott any products or businesses with links to Israeli settlements is getting louder and it has rattled lawmakers here. The government is quietly discussing ways to counter it, including the possibility of hiring a PR company to boost Israel's image abroad.

(Photo by FOX News Radio's Emily Wither)
(Photo by FOX News Radio's Emily Wither)

But among the sweet smells of wood and wine from stacks of oak vats, owner Yaakov Berg dismisses the warnings as just another example of "racism".

"If I close my winery, will peace come? No. Peace means that we live together and we are. The only way there will be peace is if we do business together," he explained.

Berg states that 70% of his wine is sold on the foreign market and while he confidently predicts that any boycotts will actually lead to increased sales, he admits overseas buyers are becoming more reluctant to do business with him.

"Israel needs to be worried as a whole. But we will find a way to fight this," he added.

(Photo by FOX News Radio's Emily Wither)
(Photo by FOX News Radio's Emily Wither)

The U.S. and EU are warning Israel that if the latest round of peace talks with the Palestinians collapses, the state could face isolation.

"There's an increasing de-legitimization campaign that has been building up. People are very sensitive to it. There is talk of boycotts and other kinds of things" remarked Secretary of State John Kerry in a recent speech at the annual Munich security conference.

Those comments sparked furious reactions from Israeli lawmakers and an outright dismissal from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  The State Department promptly released a statement explaining that Kerry was opposed to a boycott and sought only to explain the situation in his speech.

(Photo by FOX News Radio's Emily Wither)
(Photo by FOX News Radio's Emily Wither)

But many businessmen here are worried that a boycott won't only harm business with links to settlements like the winery, but Israel as a whole.  A third of Israel's trade is with the EU and the country's finance minister, Yair Lapid, predicts any boycott would to lead to thousands of job losses.

The Palestinian-led boycott campaign, launched in 2005, was considered nothing more than a nuisance. However, the boycott campaign in recent months has gathered momentum. Denmark's largest bank blacklisted a top Israeli bank for their links to settlements and the American Studies Association recently voted overwhelmingly to boycott Israeli universities.

At a coffee shop in Ramallah, one of the co-founders of the campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel, known as BDS, excitedly explained that they've never had so much interest in their cause.

"Boycott is a time proven non-violent tool of resisting oppression," said Omar Barghouti. "Many oppressed communities around the world have used it and now the Palestinians are using it."

(Photo by FOX News Radio's Emily Wither)
(Photo by FOX News Radio's Emily Wither)

Over the last few weeks the boycott debate has dominated the headlines here.  The country's most popular news program on Channel 2 ran a prime-time feature on the issue, while a leading newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, ran the front page headline, "100 leaders of the economy warn of boycott on Israel," in bold lettering.

Barghouti says if the Israelis fail to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, the boycott movement is going to grow rapidly. He compared it to the international boycotts South Africa faced under apartheid.

"At the rate it's going this year, we think that we will reach our South Africa moment," he predicted.

LISTEN to FOX News Radio's Emily Wither reporting from Jerusalem:

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