Israel Palestine Infos
March 26, 2011
Who is annexing Whom?
IN A rare late-night
session, the Knesset has finally adopted two obnoxious racist laws. Both are
clearly directed against
The first makes it
possible to annul the citizenship of persons found guilty of offences against
the security of the state.
The second is more sophisticated. It allows communities of less than 400 families to appoint “admission committees” which can prevent unsuitable persons from living there. Very shrewdly, it specifically forbids the rejection of candidates because of race, religion etc. – but that paragraph is tantamount to a wink. An Arab applicant will simply be rejected because of his many children or lack of military service.
A majority of members did not bother to show up for the vote. After all, it was late and they have families, too. Who knows, some may even have been ashamed to vote.
But far worse is a third law that is certain to pass its final stages within a few weeks: the law to outlaw the boycott of the settlements.
SINCE ITS early stages, the original crude text of this bill has been refined somewhat.
As it stands now, the law
will punish any person or association publicly calling for a boycott of
This is a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation: it is anti-democratic, discriminatory, annexationist, and altogether unconstitutional.
EVERYBODY HAS the right to buy or not to buy whatever he or she desires, from whomsoever he or she chooses. That is so obvious that it needs no confirmation. It is a part of the right to free expression guaranteed by any constitution worth its salt, and an essential element of a free market economy.
I may buy from the store on the corner, because I like the owner, and shun the supermarket opposite, which exploits its employees. Companies expend huge sums of money to convince me to buy their products rather than others.
What about ideologically
motivated campaigns? Years ago, while on a visit to
Such publications are
fully compatible with human rights. Citizens for whom pork is an abomination,
have the right to be informed about which shops sell pork and which do not.
As far as I know, no one in
Sooner or later, some
anti-religious groups will publish calls to boycott kosher shops, which pay the
rabbis - some of them the most intolerant of their kind – heavy levies for their
certificates. They support a vast religious establishment that openly advocates
So what about an anti-rabbinical boycott? It can hardly be forbidden, since religious and anti-religious are guaranteed equal rights.
SO IT appears that not all ideologically motivated boycotts are wrong. Nor do the initiators of this particular bill – racists of the Lieberman school, Likud rightists and Kadima “centrists” – claim this. For them, boycotts are only wrong if they are directed against the nationalist, annexationist policies of this government.
explicitly stated in the law itself. Boycotts
are unlawful if they are directed against the State of
Nor does any upright
Zionist find fault with the boycott measures passed by Congress, under intense
Jewish pressure, against the late
No less successful was the worldwide boycott against the Apartheid regime in South Africa – a boycott warmly welcomed by the South African liberation movement, though it also hurt the African workers employed by the boycotted white businesses (an argument now repeated by Israeli settlers, who exploit Palestinian laborers for starvation wages).
So political boycotts are not wrong, as long as they are directed against others. It’s the old “Hottentot morality“ of colonial lore – “if I steal your cow, that’s right. If you steal my cow, that’s wrong.”
Rightists can call for action against left-wing organizations. Leftists cannot call for action against right-wing organizations. It’s as simple as that.
BUT THE law is not only anti-democratic and discriminatory, it is also blatantly annexationist.
By a simple semantic
trick, in less than a sentence, the lawmakers do what successive Israeli
government did not dare to do: they annex the Palestinian occupied territories
Or maybe it’s the other
way round: are the settlers annexing
The word “settlements” does not appear in the text. God forbid. Much as the word “Arabs” does not appear in any of the other laws.
Instead, the text simply
states that calls for the boycott of
This is the core of the matter. Everything else is camouflage.
The initiators want to silence our call for boycotting the settlements, which is gathering momentum throughout the world.
THE IRONY of the matter is that they may achieve the exact opposite.
When we started the
boycott, our stated objective was to draw a clear line between
This law does the exact opposite. By wiping out the line between the State of Israel and the settlements, it plays into the hands of those who call for a boycott of Israel in the belief (mistaken, I think) that a unified Apartheid state would pave the way for a democratic future.
Recently, the folly of
the law was demonstrated by a French judge in
Such incidents are occurring more and more often in various European countries. This law will cause them to multiply.
IN THE original version, boycotters would have committed a criminal offence and been fined. That would have caused us great joy, because our refusal to pay the fines and and subsequent imprisonment would have dramatized the matter.
This clause has now been omitted. But every single company in the settlements and, indeed, every single settler who feels hurt by the boycott can sue - for unlimited damages - any group calling for the boycott and any individual connected with the call. Since the settlers are tightly organized and enjoy unlimited funds from all kinds of casino owners and sleazy sex merchants, they can file thousands of suits and practically paralyze the boycott movement. That, of course, is the aim.
The fight is far from
over. Upon the enactment of the law, we shall call upon the Supreme Court to
annul it, as contrary to
As Menachem Begin used to
say: “There are still judges in
Or are there?