Boycott Law: Israel Further Delegitimizes Itself

The Knesset’s new “anti-boycott law” in a nutshell:

According to the law, a person or an organization calling for the boycott of Israel, including the settlements, can be sued by the boycott’s targets without having to prove that they sustained damage. The court will then decide how much compensation is to be paid. The second part of the law says a person or a company that declare a boycott of Israel or the settlements will not be able to bid in government tenders.

The upshot? For comparison purposes, consider this: if this law had been passed by the US Congress, the city of Montgomery could have legally sued MLK for leading a boycott against its bus system.

My two cents? Israel, a country that repeatedly claims the mantle of “the only democracy in the Middle East” is fast dismantling its own democracy. Knesset member Nitzan Horowitz put it about as well as it could be put, I think:

We are dealing with a legislation that is an embarrassment to Israeli democracy and makes people around the world wonder if there is actually a democracy here.

And I’d only add this: any law that manages to unite the Anti-Defamation League and Jewish Voice for Peace in opposition has to be one helluva stinker.

Here’s the thing: Israel and its “right or wrong” advocates have been working overtime fighting what it considers to be “delegitimization” of the Jewish state. But for all the effort exerted, in the end it is Israel that delegitimizes itself by passing increasingly anti-democratic legislation such as this. It’s not the first time we’ve seen the Knesset pass such a bill, and although it pains me to say so, I believe we’re going to see similarly odious laws coming down the pike in the future.

Among the many reactions to this law from throughout Israeli society, I found it extremely notable that Peace Now – an organization that has resolutely refused to support boycotts – has now called for a boycott of settlement products in reaction to the legislation.

Hear, hear. If you believe that the Occupation is immoral and unjust, then boycotting products produced in the Occupied Territories is a moral and just thing to do.

Even if you’re queasy about a full-blown boycott of all Israeli products, please consider boycotting products produced in West Bank settlements. Click here for a full list of settlement products as well as companies that engage in West Bank construction and services. If you’d like to sign on to a public settlement boycott effort, I encourage you to join Code Pink’s “Stolen Beauty” campaign of Ahava beauty products, which come from the Occupied West Bank settlement of Mitzpe Shalem.

(For a detailed guide to the implications of the new law, check out Noam Sheizaf’s excellent piece in +972. )

7 thoughts on “Boycott Law: Israel Further Delegitimizes Itself

  1. i_like_ike52

    Since you have stated repeatedly that Israel should never have been created and has no right to exist, I don’t see how it can “further delegimitize” itself. In fact, I think you would welcome this development since it will further energize the “progressives” against it.

  2. Cotton Fite

    I keep wondering if and when we will find the tipping point in the U.S. when the grassroots finally say to our Congress, “NO MORE”. No more uncritical acceptance of Israeli policies that violate the values so many of us – Jews, Christians, Muslims, Israelis, Palestinians, Americans – share. The rest of the world seems to be getting it. I pray we get it … and soon.

  3. Thomas Bauer

    Thank you for this article. I love Israel, I support it with all my heart – but not the Israel which i see in this anti-boycot bill: any culture which does not accept the expression of a different view, is not a culture at all. Democracy lives only through discussion, and the “only democracy in the Mid-East” ceases to exist when this law is really validated by the Israel High Court. I hope for Israel that thislaw never will not become reality.

  4. Dave

    You miss the point.

    Not for the first time has a law been passed in a legislature who’s proponent’s know will be overturned by a court.

    The proponents of the bill have set a trap which ‘Peace Now’ (among others?) have fallen into.

    When the High Court strikes down this law will ‘Peace Now’ strike down their boycott? I doubt it. So after the law is struck down, ‘Peace Now’ members in Israel will look disloyal, and they won’t have an anti-boycott bill to hide behind anymore.

    1. Muhannad

      Dave said: “So after the law is struck down, ‘Peace Now’ members in Israel will look disloyal, and they won’t have an anti-boycott bill to hide behind anymore”
      May be it is me…but I am so confused…what does that mean? I do not follow your logic!!!

  5. Dave

    Bullfighter waves cape in front of bull.

    Bull charges cape.

    Bullfighter removes cape.

    But bull not being very smart keeps charging in spite of the fact that there is no cape anymore and really no reason to keep charging.

    Bull forces own body right into sword held by bullfighter who doesn’t even have to use any force to put sword into bull.

    Bull fighter=knesset supporters of bill

    Bull=Israeli members of Peace Now, etc.

    1. Richard Kahn

      I agree with Muhannad. Either I don’t understand this argument or I don’t agree with it. Correct me if I’m wrong: you’re saying that Peace Now has previously avoided boycotts because it looks disloyal. Now with the law, Peace Now can say that their boycotts are just in support of democracy and the right to boycott. Then when the law gets overturned, they will still be boycotting, but the reason of protesting the law no longer exists, so they’ll just look disloyal.

      Is this accurate?


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