Monday, July 18, 2011

Israel's anti-Boycott Law

The debate rages on. I was following it a bit absent-mindedly, as I have nothing really to say for or against it. But I read this post on Engage and was moved to make a comment:

“The general assumption seems to be that the Israeli street support the law and don’t want their tax shekels to fund any kind of boycott, even one to weaken the settler economy. I’m not so sure – I speculate this perceived support might be a case of demagoguery by politicians …”

The Israeli street is fully aware that when boycotters speak about “settlements” they do not make any distinction WHATSOEVER between settlements and settlements. There is a consensus in the Israeli street about which settlements are no longer settlements and which settlements can be regarded still as settlements. Jerusalem neighbourhoods, the townships and villages that thicken the Green Line, Gush Etzion, the Golan Heights, all these “settlements” are not regarded, in the mind of the Israeli Street, as settlements. This is not the result of any demagoguery by politicians but a grass root support for these places of residence and an instinctive aversion to anyone or anything which would designate their population as something criminal or illegitimate. The term “settler economy” which intends to draw a line of demarcation between what is good Israel from bad Israel is not a term that the Israeli Street would be familiar with, or would have much patience for.

I suggest that people apply allan siegel’s profound wisdom when he says “It is ultimately up to Palestinians to judge whether the boycott is effective (not for Israelis or anyone else) and I’ve not noticed many complaints from that side.”, to the other side of conflict: that it is ultimately up to Israelis to judge whether they support the law against boycott of “settler economy” and I’ve not noticed many complaints from Israelis against the logic of the law. Most of the criticisms I’ve encountered come from people who contend with the advisability of passing such a law, from the point of view of PR and considering that the actual details of the law will be lost more or less on everyone.

Israeli Journalist Ben Dror Yemini as usual, has some sharp insights to impart on this matter:

“1. A boycott is a legitimate means…. The struggle against the boycott supporters ought to be conducted in the public debate arena. It is not a simple matter. The industry of lies is working overtime. But we must see that it is far from winning the day. The boycott supporters’ achievements are limited. Part of the Israeli Right seems intent on strengthening their hands. As far as this Right is concerned, the law would serve as an additional ammunition in its bag of tricks.

2. That being said, there are clauses in the law that are justified. Those are the clauses that disallow benefits for organizations that support the boycott. Whoever maintains the position that Israel deserves to be boycotted does not deserve any benefits from the state. Just as in the case of the first, and discarded, version of the “Nakba Law”, which suggested that those who commemorate the Nakba be censured, the final bill which passed, and rightly so, denied any funding for such commemorations by the state.

Israeli ethos has fostered a very special type of entitlement. As in the case of the painter who joined a Canadian campaign of boycott against the city of Tel Aviv; he returned home to receive an award from the city of Tel Aviv for his artistic achievements. And like hundreds of artists from the same political persuasion who demand money from the state to explain to the world that Israel is a pariah state. They are free to speak and preach as much as they like, but not at our expense.”

(Hastily translated by noga)


At 1:31 AM EDT, Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

I am not sure that that "general assumption" is correct. I would guess that most Israelis don't give a fig about this law. And that's too bad.


Post a Comment

<< Home