Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Anti-Boycott Bill

Israel passed an important bill today that calls for sanctions against those who declare economic, cultural or academic boycotts against the state of Israel, its institutions or any area under its control because of their connection to Israel. That boycott would be a civil offense and subject to litigation.

The bill passed 47-38.

As the Muqata’s recent successful counter-boycott of Scottish Whisky (in response to the anti-Semitic Scottish West Dunbartonshire council’s boycott of Israeli books) proved, taking a proactive stance against these boycotts and the BDS movement works.

The authors clearly had in mind the BDS movement, the PA boycott, the Scottish West Dunbartonshire boycott, and the 20 Israeli companies that signed boycott agreements with the PA.

I believe this is the final wording of the bill (and a translated version is here). What is clear is that it is solely in reference to those who would do this to harm Israel (not the Cottage Cheese boycott for instance).

But as usual, the suicidal Left is frothing at the mouth, muttering inanities in their attempt to disarm Israel’s right and ability to defend itself. And of course hoping you won't read the bill to see what it actually says.


Here are some recent statements made by those acolytes of self-destruction:

MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) called the bill "a cowardly law," and "another law in a series of fascist laws drafted by the government."

Kadima statement: He [Netanyahu] has crossed a red line of stupidity and national irresponsibility… The boycott bill is a mark of disgrace for Netanyahu's government and the State of Israel and its citizens will pay for it dearly.

Knesset Member Ilan Gilon (Meretz), "I know of nothing that causes more de-legitimization for Israel abroad than these acts of legislation".

MK Shai Hermesh (Kadima) said the bill harms basic rights.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel called it "an antidemocratic step, intended to create a chilling effect on civil society."

Adalah – the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, said it would appeal the law to the High Court and ask that it be annulled. They claim the bill violates international law and the laws of torts.


As far as I know, until yesterday every single Western country in the world, except for two, has laws making participation in boycotts against Israel illegal. Today, the UK stands alone in dishonor with no anti-boycott law on the books.

For example, since 1976, it has been illegal for any US citizen to participate in the Arab boycott against Israel – punishable by fines of up to $50,000 or five times the value of the exports involved or jail term of up to 10 years.

The definition of participation includes:
  • Agreements to refuse or actual refusal to do business with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.
  • Agreements to discriminate or actual discrimination against other persons based on race, religion, sex, national origin or nationality.
  • Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about business relationships with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.
  • Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about the race, religion, sex, or national origin of another person.
Where have Eitan Cabel and Ilan Gilon been? Why aren’t they ranting and raving against the United States for their similar "anti-democratic laws" that happens to try to protect Israel from boycotts?


Wasn’t it just the other day the Left were attacking some anonymous video editor who used his right to free speech to juxtapose the brutal beatings of religious Jews by the police to that of images of storm troopers doing the same? Unless the Left hypocritically were supporting some law that limited free speech, while ignoring unquestionable brutality.

And here we have a law that calls for civil penalties for those that effect an embargo against Israeli products because they are Israeli, and the Left are saying it impinges on basic freedoms.

What a bunch of sick hypocrites.


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53 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is a cowardly and discriminatory law -- you can boycott cottage cheese and diapers, Tel Aviv if you choose or Habima ... but not settlements. Settlers are, as usual, putting themselves, above the law. Why do I, as an Israeli opposed to settlements, barred from protest organizing a boycott. WOuld it harm Israel's natuional security? Of course, not. Are settlers different than other Israelis, immune from the law and criticism? Apparently, they seem to think so.
As to the ban on boycotts of Israel generally. I ask you, how big a problem is this? Do Israelis calling for boycotts of their own country really do so much damage that a law limiting freedom of speech? The law is nothing but a gratuitous attack on free speech. That's all.

Anonymous said...

It's not only the "suicidal left" as you call it. As an --American--Israel who has right and left wing views, I object to any attempt on freedom of protest - including boycott. If I see fit, I should be allowed to boycott any institution or group of people whose actions I disagree with.

JoeSettler said...

So then you support the rights of the video editor we discussed yesterday to make and distribute his video without police investigations.

I'm so glad to hear that.

But perhaps you are unaware of the current attacks against Israel right to exist.

This bill is being used as a legal tool to COMBAT boycotts that are being used as WEAPONS in attacks against Israel (all of Israel, not "just" settlements), in attempts to DESTROY and DELEGITIMIZE Israel.

I see you probably having difficulty with the nuance here, but you are free to continue to verbally attack Israel, but if you take actual steps to hurt Israel economically via boycott, then Israel now has the weapons to bite back.

And now I fully expect you to prove to us that you are not a hypocrite and roundly condemn the United States for also having a similar law that makes the boycott of Israel illegal.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I think the distasteful video is a legitimate example of free-speech. Just gross.
I actually think the US may be wrong, but even if not, there is a fundamental difference with the situation here. First, in Israel it is now illegal for an individual to boycott. Second, it is illegal to call for a boycott of the only settlements. Why can't someone who disagrees with the settlements, protest against them through calling for a targeted boycott?
(anonymous 2)

JoeSettler said...

First of all, under long-standing Israeli law any attempt to remove any territory from under Israeli control, away from Israeli control is considered treason. It may be a law that is repeatedly and openly ignored and violated, but it is Israeli law.

Second, it is not now illegal for an individual to boycott a product.

But it is now illegal to assist or promote or participate in a boycott against Israel because it is Israel.

Israel is defined as a person/product because he is connected to the State of Israel, which includes connected to any part of Israeli controlled territory.

"– חרם המוטל על אדם מחמת קשריו עם מדינת ישראל או עם אזור הנמצא בשליטת מדינת ישראל"
(That doesn't just include Judea and Samaria, that also includes Israel's maritime EEZ for example).

Now, you personally may want to differentiate between parts of Israel (though the BDS movement certainly doesn't), but Israeli law doesn't recognize that distinction, and views attacks on any part of Israel, as an attack on the whole.

JoeSettler said...

(In correction to the above statement, Sovereign territory includes any annexed territories. I do not know if it includes J&S, but it may).

Section B: Treason

97 (a). A person who, with intent to violate the sovereignty of the state, commits an act that has the potential to violate the state's sovereignty is liable to life imprisonment or the death penalty.

97 (b). A person who, with intent that any area be withdrawn from the sovereignty of the state or placed under the sovereignty of a foreign state, commits an act that has the potential to bring this about is liable to life imprisonment or the death penalty...

100. A person who commits an act revealing any one of the intentions listed in sections 97, 98 or 99 is liable to ten years imprisonment.

Anonymous said...

That is precisely my issue, the law is incredibly unjust. And just as I have a write to boycott or support a boycott against cottage, I should be able to boycott or support a boycott against items produced in area under Israeli sovereignty that I deem problematic. And If I want to call for a boycott t-shirts produced by leftists or by people who live in ramat aviv, I should be allowed to. If you want to call that treason, you and all the Russian oligarchs can. But as an American oleh, I find it undemocratic.

Paul said...

Joe, your first understanding was more correct. The Supreme Court have adopted the ruling of the International Court of Justice that Judea, Samaria and Gaza constitute "belligerent occupied territory" - therefore it is territory over which no state other than Israel could claim sovereignty under international law.

JoeSettler said...

Out of curiosity, do you think you have the right to ACT (not speak) to remove Tel Aviv or the Kotel from Israeli sovereignty? If you do, you would certainly be a member of the suicidal left (and it would be treason too).

This law also makes it clear there is no legal distinction between the two locations when it comes to attacking Israel - and that is what this law is about - boycotts attacking Israel's sovereignty.

Based on what you wrote, you seem to mistakenly think its about boycotting someone because of their political beliefs.

This law is specifically designed to give Israel the proper tools to combat one of the major weapons of the delegitimization organizations that are attacking Israel's sovereignty and right to exist.

It seems to me, you just really don't like its definition of Israel.

Paul said...

There is no "illegal" occupation west of the Jordan by Israel as it was unquestionably designated for the Jewish nation by the League of Nations

Anonymous said...

As usual, the Muqata descends into its usual echo-chamber.
When it comes to discussing boycotts, we are discussing speech. The action is actually a non-action.
I don't care how this law chooses to articulate itself. A nice percentage of the citizens of this country are willing to relinquish parts of J+S for a Palestinian state and sees a problem with occupying this territory (when the Palestinians living there are granted citizenship and / or are equal before the law then we can begin to talk about it being the same as Tel Aviv). Why the hell can't people who want to protest the government's continued occupation of this territory through a boycott have the right?

Anonymous said...

The Supreme Court of Israel will eventually overrule this law as being "undemocratic, racist, theocratic, and detrimental to the best interests of the State". The Left will in turn hail the decision as a victory for democracy and reason.

JoeSettler said...

I'm going to ask you a very simple question that defines the crux of this discussion.

Do you believe that BDS are using boycotts as an economic weapon against the State of Israel?

JoeSettler said...

If that small minority of people that want to get rid of parts of Israel (the Kotel, Gilo, the Jordan Valley) ever win enough votes in an election, then they can try to do so.

But until then, when they put a gun to the heads of the rest of the country, and let us know about the massive economic damage they are trying to cause the rest of the country, unless they get their way... that's not democratic at all.

Anonymous said...

I'm not talking about BDS. I'm talking about Israelis who don't buy products specifically from J+S as a protest.

No one is putting a gun to anyone's head. It is the right for Israelis to protest through a boycott. The minority ( it is a minority) can protest the rule of the majority - THAT - is part of a democracy.
And many of these people are not interested in giving up the kotel.
But I am truly truly wasting my time arguing with you. It seems you want your own echo-chamber, so I guess I'll go back to mine.

NormanF said...

Israel's First Amendment is reserved only for leftists and Arabs.

Every one else is ideologically suspect of harboring forbidden thoughts until proven in innocent! Shai Nitzan is Israel's Big Brother.

Freedom4Freddy said...

Your problem Joe is that when Fatah send a suicide bomber your way, and when Hamas sends a suicide bomber your way, and when Islamic Jihad sends a suicide bomber your way, you simply don't know how to differentiate between their political philosophies and condemn them all equally.

Anonymous said...

There's a different (newer?) version of the law on the ACRI site, and that version doesn't even mention Judea and Samaria.

realRightWinger said...

I think the point Anon is missing is that you - as a single person may choose to boycott whatever you want - cottage cheese, hi-tech stuff, and even the tomatoes you eat. However, if as a company you choose to discriminate against a company or other simply because it resides or has connections to Y&S - then that is illegal. You can choose not to do business with a company in Y&S - if you think that company gives a lousy service for example - but it is illegal to say "I am not doing business with this company since they reside in Y&S" - in the same way it is illegal to reject someone from a job because of their color, religion, or sex - but you can refuse someone a job if they are not suitable to you.
So please go ahead and don't buy stuff from Y&S - it will mean that for the rest of us, the demand will go down, and therefore the price too ! And if you are boycotting remember to boycott ALL israeli products including all the medicines and hi-tech you use - remember a lot of people in the medical and hi-tech industries live over the green line - good luck.

Meir, Ariel said...

People should be able to organise whatever they want, as long as it's not an effort to break the law.

Obviously the aforementioned treason law isn't being enforced at all, otherwise most of the left would be in jail for trying to give away our land, first and foremost our current president.

I think free speech in Israel is shakey as it is and doesn't need to be further weakened.

And I certainly think that halachic debate should be covered under freedom of speech and that books debating the theoretical legality of killing enemy civillians to save Jewish lives shouldn't be banned. It's like the Police don't care about freedom of speech at all.

Avraham said...

Hi Joe. I am moving to the Shomron in a few months, so I obviously have strong disagreements with boycotts on anywhere in Israel. I do, however, find it troubling that private individuals can be prosecuted for organizing such boycotts. I agree that Israel should not give tax benefits to such organizations or hire such company's, but punishing individuals who create a facebook group or something of the like, does seem anti-democratic. And yes, I find the police's behavior in the case of the youtube video, and Torat Hamelekh to be revolting.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

To Mr. Echo Chamber Commenter:

What the Left is worried about is that this law represents a trend that is leading to their political voice being stymied by future actions of the gov't.

And after all, we've seen plenty of precedents in the past for such anti-democratic behavior: the closing of Arutz-7 radio, the banning of the Kach Party, and the exile of over 2,000 families from Gush Katif, the latter accomplished by the brazenly illegal firing of two ministers in order to achieve an artificial majority to change the government's guidelines.

It's only a minor detail that in every example it was the Left antidemocratically stymieing the Right.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

To Mr. Echo Chamber Commenter:

What the Left is worried about is that this law represents a trend that is leading to their political voice being stymied by future actions of the gov't.

And after all, we've seen plenty of precedents in the past for such anti-democratic behavior: the closing of Arutz-7 radio, the banning of the Kach Party, and the exile of over 2,000 families from Gush Katif, the latter accomplished by the brazenly illegal firing of two ministers in order to achieve an artificial majority to change the government's guidelines.

It's only a minor detail that in every example it was the Left antidemocratically stymieing the Right.

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea: Israelis who wish to boycott products and services from the Golan, Y&S, should be issued an official "I'm not with them" type of certificate. Better yet, how about an amendment to their Teudat Zehut which proclaims the same idea. Sounds cool ? But, and this is a BIG but, it will work both ways. For example, when calling the 012 Smile call center in Ariel, you will be asked for your TZ (as is currently the case). If you're a "card carrying member" of the boycott, then you'll have to seek help elsewhere. Or if your MRI/CT scan would normally be diagnosed by radiologists in Chashmonayim or Efrat, you'll have to figure out what those images mean on your own. Mey Eden water on sale at your local Rami Levi branch ? Sorry, not for you - wrong card, chabibi. Want to take it to the next level ? We'll add the US companies that the United Methodist Church has targeted in their boycott campaign - after all, they basically want the same thing right ? Who said you have to be Jewish to be politically correct ? (OK, you get me, I stand corrected, the PC term is ‘Divestment’) So, if your home was built with any equipment made by the Caterpillar Corporation (i.e – a bulldozer), you'll have to move. And, unless you're ‘going green’ and off the grid (solar or wind power) you’ll have to stop using electricity too since the turbines used by the Israel Electric Company are made by General Electric. Using a Motorola cell phone ? You’ll have to trade it for that older Nokia model. Live in Modiin and use Veolia buses ? Well you’ll either have to take taxis or walk from now on. Seriously now, it’s one thing when the enemies of the Jewish people want to harm us any way they can, including through boycotts. But when it’s supported from within by a tiny minority fifth column, it cannot and must not be tolerated.

JoeSettler said...

The law that passed is very clear and very limited. It ONLY affects boycotters who are working to create a boycott of people, corporations and institutions only because of their connection to ISRAEL.

I simply cannot say it any clearer than that.

It does not deal with boycotters boycotting because of price gouging, corruption, poor service, or even disagreeable political statements.

It specifically is talking about people who try to organize a boycott of a company or organization because it is connected to Israel.

This gives Israel and companies/organizations tools to defend themselves against these formerly indefensible attacks.

Vox Populi said...

A few thoughts.

1. I'm not aware of any US law that prohibits advocating boycotts against another country or an entity connected with a country. That should be protected by free speech.

2. The US law only seems to prohibit complying with another country's boycott of Israel. However, I'm free to boycott Israel in line with my own wacky boycott.

3. The Israeli law does not appear to prohibit boycotts themselves. Merely calling for them. This seems perverse. If the conduct itself is legal, how can advocating for it be illegal?

4. You seem to approve of a counter-boycott against Scottish whiskey because it is associated with a region in Scotland. If Scotland or the UK (I don't know if Scotland has the power) passed a similar law to the one passed by the Knesset, the counter-boycott would violate it. Would you approve of that? If a Scottish Jew refused to buy whiskey until West Dunbartonshire changed course, he would face legal sanctions. Do you approve?

Vox Populi said...

>It does not deal with boycotters boycotting because of price gouging, corruption, poor service, or even disagreeable political statements.

But that's what makes it so perverse! It's like legalizing all speech except political speech. The whole point of free speech is to protect political speech. In the US, making otherwise forbidden speech political can often make it protected. In Israel, it makes it forbidden!

JoeSettler said...

There's something wrong with blogger. Everything I wrote got erased. Got to do that again.

JoeSettler said...

Another interesting and important point I just noticed.

The first part of this bill is civil legislation. Meaning (as I understand it), it opens up the boycotter to being sued for damages by the boycotted (damaged) company.

You still have free speech, but if your free speech of calling for boycott damages a company as a direct result, you can be held culpable.

The second part defines loss of benefits related to the Israeli government you are boycotting.

JoeSettler said...

This reminds me of the Rotem bill. An excellent law that was killed by those who had a political agenda, because the solution wasn't their solution.

Vox Populi said...

>You still have free speech, but if your free speech of calling for boycott damages a company as a direct result, you can be held culpable.

According to most people's coneption of free speech, that is still problematic, as it chills free speech.

Second, my version of the text seems to say that the damages levied against the bad actor are not tied to the damages caused. What exactly this means is not clear to me.

JoeSettler said...

And here is the fifth attempt to post this answer:

1) As I read the US law as posted above, it includes participating in any boycott of Israel. It also includes even just agreeing to pass on information to assist in participating in the boycott (that's a free speech issue).

2) See #1

3) The law opens up the boycotter to being sued for damages by the damaged party. That includes if you only called for the boycott, if there was reasonable assumption that that call would be acted upon (like yelling fire in a crowded theater). The law restricts/removes some benefits they can get from the Israeli government.

4) It would be an internal UK/Scotland matter. I personally would continue to call for the boycott of WD related whiskys until WD rescinds their anti-Semitic boycott of Israel. I would recommend that Jews continue to not drink those WD related Whiskys. Of course because of our previous discussions, I'm not sure you see the difference between BDS calling to boycott Israel because that is a way to hurt destroy us, and us calling a temporary boycott to fight a specific anti-Semitic attack against us.

JoeSettler said...

According to most people's coneption of free speech, that is still problematic, as it chills free speech.

You are free to write something libelous about someone in the paper. You just are likely be held legally responsible for what you wrote and open yourself up to a lawsuit as a result. Not much difference here.

No difference here.

Vox Populi said...

>As I read the US law as posted above, it includes participating in any boycott of Israel. It also includes even just agreeing to pass on information to assist in participating in the boycott (that's a free speech issue).

Yes, but if you read the actual law and the regulations it speaks in terms of complying with another country's boycott. Also, if you read the congressional findings, it appears that Congress's purpose is to make clear that the only government that gets to set boycotts is the American government.

>That includes if you only called for the boycott, if there was reasonable assumption that that call would be acted upon (like yelling fire in a crowded theater).

Well, not quite. Calling fire in a crowded theatre is bad because it causes people to hurt people in a crowded theatre. Actually hurting people in a crowded theatre is illegal in and of itself. Similalrly inciting others to commit violence is illegal because violence itself is illegal. But hurting someone economically through boycott is not illegal. To wit, cottage cheese.

>Of course because of our previous discussions, I'm not sure you see the difference between BDS calling to boycott Israel because that is a way to hurt destroy us, and us calling a temporary boycott to fight a specific anti-Semitic attack against us.

This just seems like special pleading. For thee, but not for me. Essentially, you're boycotts are intended to address narrow, legitimate concerns, and are therefore leigitmate, but their boycotts are eliminationist. What if WB said they would only boycott Israeli products until the occupation ended? That wouldn't be eliminationist. If you do consider that eliminationist, then it seems likely to me that WB would consider your reciprocal boycott equally eliminationist.

I'm speaking up here for larger principles of free speech. Either it's something we want or it isn't. I'm okay with limiting free speech in some very narrow circumstances, but absent any compelling connection to physical harm I usually don't see it.

Vox Populi said...

>You are free to write something libelous about someone in the paper. You just are likely be held legally responsible for what you wrote and open yourself up to a lawsuit as a result. Not much difference here.

Libel laws also chill free speech, and also present certain problems. However, one reason I accept libel laws is because there's an outlet - if I prove the libel is true, it's not libel. Likewise, if I don't present the libel as factually true, that's also not libel.

Here, you're imposing legal sanctions on expressing an opinion or advocacy. Seems material.

JoeSettler said...

My fire analogy may not have been spot on.

This law merely opens up the boycotter to potential lawsuits for damages.

It may very well be that legally Tnuva can sue the original cottage cheese boycott originator for damages, under civil law.

But it would be very unwise for them to do so for obvious PR reasons.

On the other hand, if he started the cottage cheese boycott because he said they cooked the cheese with pig milk, and they don't, they probably would sue him for damages his boycott caused.

JoeSettler said...

If I put the damages to Israel on a scale, vs. the chilling of free speech, in this case I can live with the chill.

And there is one reason, because the boycott as defined by this law, restricts it solely to those with intent to attack/destroy my country through this tool.

JoeSettler said...

But hurting someone economically through boycott is not illegal. To wit, cottage cheese.

Perfect comparison.

And that's why this is a civil law and not a criminal law, in that it provides a tool for companies to defend itself against boycotts unrelated to their business actions (and specifically because they are Israeli), just like a company can defend themselves against libel.

Vox Populi said...

>This law merely opens up the boycotter to potential lawsuits for damages.

Again, this is still problematic. It still chills free speech. Whenever you do that, there should be some serious weighing of good and bad.

Also, again, my text of the law does not tie damages paid to damages caused - explictly so. I'm working off a (poor) translation, so I'm not entirely sure - but the words, as I have them, are:

"If the court will find that an wrong according to this law was deliberately carried out, it will be authorized to compel the person who did the wrongdoing to pay damages that are not dependent on the damage (in this clause – damages, for example); in calculating the sum of the damages for example, the court will take into consideration, among other things, the circumstances under which the wrong was carried out, its severity and its extent."

One way to read this is that no damages need even be proven. Even according to you, this should be problematic.

>It may very well be that legally Tnuva can sue the original cottage cheese boycott originator for damages, under civil law.

Under what law? Libel, or this one? Under this law, no. Under libel, if there was libel, sure. But merely causing economic damage through boycott is not culpable activity - nor should it be. That's how we get hechsherim. Economic boycott is core to one's freedom of expression, in addition to the orderly conduct of free markets.

Vox Populi said...

>And there is one reason, because the boycott as defined by this law, restricts it solely to those with intent to attack/destroy my country through this tool.

You're equating "attack" with "destroy." And not just "attack" in the sense of like a military invasion or something, but in the sense of even rhetorical attack. And my version of the law does not limit the applicability to people who want to destroy Israel.

>If I put the damages to Israel on a scale, vs. the chilling of free speech, in this case I can live with the chill.

Are there numbers here? Can we quantify the nature of the harm caused so far by boycotts? My understanding is that they usually fail.

I feel that if a leftist government had outlawed anyone who boycotted Habima or institutions that dislike Oslo or something, you would be less sanguine.

Vox Populi said...

>And that's why this is a civil law and not a criminal law, in that it provides a tool for companies to defend itself against boycotts unrelated to their business actions (and specifically because they are Israeli), just like a company can defend themselves against libel.

Well, first, I've already said why I think it's different than libel.

Second, how is this unrelated to business activities? Where you conduct your business is very much related to business activities. Shareholders frequently bring this stuff up aat meetings.

JoeSettler said...

One way to read this is that no damages need even be proven. Even according to you, this should be problematic.

I agree with you here, though I understand the intent of the legislators.

Under what law? Libel, or this one?
I was incorrect with that statement actually. In libel cases only.

You're equating "attack" with "destroy."

Yes. Because BDS, the driving force behind the majority of the boycotts against Israel today has the stated goal of wiping out Israel as a Jewish state. Therefore, I correctly equate the two and see this law as remedy and defense against that.

Can we quantify the nature of the harm caused so far by boycotts? My understanding is that they usually fail.

The underlying issue isn't the quantification of financial damage. Their goal is to attack the right of Israel to exist. Delegitimization. You only need to read the paper to see they are making serious headway.


I feel that if a leftist government had outlawed anyone who boycotted Habima or institutions that dislike Oslo or something, you would be less sanguine.


Apples and Oranges.

You would do better to state, if a leftist government took away my right to vote for a candidate I wanted because of his political views I would be less sanguine (which they've done on a few occasions as I recall).


I have to go now. We can continue this tomorrow.

Vox Populi said...

>Because BDS, the driving force behind the majority of the boycotts against Israel today has the stated goal of wiping out Israel as a Jewish state.

Well, that's definitely not their stated goal. Their stated goals are three: (1) Israel withdraws to the 1967 lines; (2) Israel grants fully equality to Israeli Arabs; and (3) Israel complies with UN Resolution 194, Article 11.

Which here do you interpret to mean destroying Israel as a Jewish state? Point 1 is essentially endorsed by some Israeli political parties. Arguably, Kadmia's rights to free speech should be taken away from it. 2 has, by your own admission, already happened. Regarding 3, this is a resolution of the UN. You're not embargoing the UN. Second, strictly read, it's not as if the people actually expelled (not their descendants) actually pose that much of a demographic threat.

Your argument seems to be that either advocating "Auschwitz borders" or a right of return necessarily means a destruction of the Jewish state. I don't think so, but fine. Then why don't you support restricting the free speech rights of Israelis who espouse these policy goals?

Second, even if we accpet your characterization of the hilariously acronymed BDSM, your law is way too broad in scope. Surely not all boycotts of a policital nature must be like those instituted by BDS. Why does the law outlaw calling for all political boycotts of Israel, and not just the eliminationist ones?

>The underlying issue isn't the quantification of financial damage.

Then memah nafshach? If the point is not the economic damage caused by the boycotts themselves, why is the law only addressing boycotts? Surely other actions can be attempts to delegitimize Israel. And if the point is the economic damage, why aren't the damages tied to the damages caused?

>You only need to read the paper to see they are making serious headway.

What paper?

WADR, I think you reside in an echo chamber that constantly sees Israel under existential threat from things that really aren't. If all I read was the stuff you read, I'd probably think like you, too. I remember the Israeli news periodical for our shul was essentially Caroline Glick editorials and other handwringings from Arutz Sheva about how Israel is under dire threat from the economic might of the autmototive unions of Northern Ontario or ethics professors from Sheffield University. Ultimately, I don't think it's having that much of an effect.

What gets more press than attempts to boycott Israel are attempts by Israel to ban boycotts of Israel. The BDS movement just got a whole lot of free publicity.

>You would do better to state, if a leftist government took away my right to vote for a candidate I wanted because of his political views I would be less sanguine (which they've done on a few occasions as I recall).

Oh, and I would be too. Outlawing Kach is not the way to go. But regarding apples and oranges, how do you mean? If you boycott Habima, don't you violate the law?

Anonymous said...

Shalom Achshav announces a boycott of Israeli settlement products. What happened to respect for the rule of law? Is respect given only when you like the law? Shame shame Shalom Achshav.

Baruch M, said...

Kach are not the only rightists the court banned from running for Knesset. But rightists are the only candidates the courts banned from running for Knesset for their political views

Anonymous said...

Dear Joe, You are falling into the old trap of the Left: Sidetracking the discussion away from the core issue and only discussing their overemphasis on a nonissue. Free speech is not the issue here. Delegitimization of Israel is. The discussion should be only about the BDS and friends movements. Israel can't defend itself against boycotts, because that "chills" free speech? That's the best they can do?! Plenty of laws chill free speech, and you know what? Plenty of democracies have those laws and remain vibrant democracies. Following their logic, soldiers shouldn't be allowed to kill the enemy, because that is murder and impinges on their human rights.
Don't fall into their trap. Keep the discussion ontrack.

Vox Populi said...

>Sidetracking the discussion away from the core issue and only discussing their overemphasis on a nonissue. Free speech is not the issue here. Delegitimization of Israel is.

Freedom of speech is not a non-issue. Simply defining opposing concerns as non-issues kind of vitiates the purpose of any discussion at all. By all means, just have a round of "hear, hears" and call it a discussion if you want.

>Israel can't defend itself against boycotts, because that "chills" free speech? That's the best they can do?!

Israel does not need to be defended against boycotts. Israel's economy appears to be doing just fine, considering we're in a global recession. Doing better than America, in fact. How you've gone from there to being at existential risk from crippling eliminationist boycotts eludes me. Boycotts from whom? Peace Now? The West Dunbartonshire Public Library? You want to limit one of the core essential freedoms that define liberty for all of Western civilization because you're pissed off at regional council in Nowhere-upon-Sticks, Scotland, who won't even be affected by the law?

What's hilarious about this law is that it accomplishes the exact opposite of its purpose, whatever that may have been. Every news outlet picked up on this stupid law. Now the South Africa comparisons will come in even faster. No doubt this will spur the conclusion that more laws limiting speech are necessary. How about laws that forbid comparisons to South Africa? Or that insult Turkishness? I mean, Jewishness?

>Plenty of laws chill free speech, and you know what? Plenty of democracies have those laws and remain vibrant democracies.

Name six. How many vibrant democracies can you think of that forbid the expression of certain expressly political opinions, simply because the majority of legislators dislike hearing them? Turkey? Woodrow Wilson's America?

>Don't fall into their trap. Keep the discussion ontrack.

Hear, hear!

Anonymous said...

It must be a good law:

"Gideon Levy / Why Israelis must fight against the boycott law"

Strange it doesn't write "Gideon Levy / Why Israelis must fight against the boycott."

Vox Populi said...

By the way, in reference to what I said above, it appears that a Knesset factfinding commission tried finding other democratic countries with similar legislation, and could not. They did, however, find similar laws in Venezuela and Eritrea.

http://972mag.com/does-the-israeli-anti-boycott-law-have-a-parallel/

Anonymous said...

Israel is not America. There is far more potential for dissidents to work people into a fervor and cause them to act out. A chain reaction. I will never forget how unsettling it was when I lived in San Francisco to go to shop at Trader Joe and find that the pro-muzzies had stuck hand-grenade stickers on all of the Eretz Yisroel products.
This type of behavior causes unrest. If they cannot contribute to building the nation of Israel for future generations they could go kill each other in the desert. If they are so into causing instability.

simon, modiin said...

well done settlers .... you now have official confirmation that Israel is a suburb of your settlemants

I have always been against the concept of politcal boycotts against Israel. But when these ridiculous bills aimed at silencing people are being passed into laws, my only voice will now be from my active boycott of products from the west bank. If enough of the country gets behind this and the settlements feel the economic impact, maybe they will realise these laws are a waste of time and will call for their reversal

Anonymous said...

Do you know? Most of my friends on the Israeli Right, a few days on, have become increasingly aware that this boycott law is a sham- especially those with a basic understanding of the law.

But not Our Joe n'Jameel, oh no!

This post, and these following arguments, are almost laughable in their emptiness. They demonstrating the depth of their misunderstanding of the implications of what the Muqata team clearly believe is an important piece of Leftist-screwing legislation. They are so excited by what they perceive it to be that they haven't noticed it isn't a political issue at all, rather a blow to our democracy which will come to negatively affect all Israelis, regardless of political affiliation.

Sigh.

Now I'm confused said...

What happened to the rule of law or is it only laws you agree with.

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