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‘Such a state is not a democracy’: Israeli citizens respond on proposed amendments to Anti-Boycott Law

Israel/Palestine
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In 2011, Israel passed the ‘Boycott Law’. The law makes Israeli citizens legally liable if they boycott, or encourage a boycott of an Israeli product, company, or institution, if that boycott “harms the state”. Since then, Israel has been piling up amendments to the original law, and additional legislation that aims to silence opposition to its systematic abuses of the human rights of the indigenous Palestinian people.

As the Boycott Law stands, Israeli citizens are under threat of being sued a minimum of 8,500 USD in damages, if they make a public call not to purchase a product or service from an Israeli company, which is complicit in Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian human rights, or explicitly do so themselves. In such cases, the State of Israel identifies itself with the brand name, and enables the companies to file vindictive lawsuits.

As an illustration of this anti-democratic legislation, if an Israeli citizen decides to cancel a contract with a mobile phone provider for bad service – they are not legally liable. But if they wish to cancel a contract with a mobile phone provider for providing services to the Israeli army, which systematically subjects a population of millions of indigenous Palestinians to systematic, daily human rights violations and war crimes – they may be legally liable.

This anti-democratic Israeli law makes it possible to sue Israeli citizens and human rights activists like us for the aforementioned hefty sum, and to sue us for damages on top of that.

The only reservation which the Israeli Supreme Court has expressed regarding the Boycott Law, during its hearing of an appeal in 2015, was that the law stated there was no need to prove a causal link between the action of a boycott supporter and the damages inflicted on the plaintiff. This ‘Damages-without-proven-damages’ clause was removed, but the remaining legislation aims to economically threaten human rights defenders into silence.

As of March 2018, Israel seems determined to erode the political rights of its recognized citizens, and to further trample the hardly-existent rights of the Palestinian subjects of its military occupation regime. If passed, a new amendment to the law will see the ‘damages-without-proven-damage’ clause reinstated, with the sum to be paid in fines raised three times over.

Israel has narrowed the role of its citizens’ participation in its politics by making them choose between keeping silent about its systematic human rights violations against the indigenous Palestinian people, or participating directly in the settler-colonization of Palestinian land. Ironically, more and more Israeli legislation and policies are targeting human rights defenders, including Israeli Jews, and stifling the right to freedom of speech of Israeli citizens, merely for their nonviolent pursuit of justice and their opposition to Israel’s military occupation and apartheid policies against the Palestinian people.

Despite the Israeli government’s claims, attached to the proposed amendment, the State of Israel is not protecting its citizens. On the contrary; Israel is denying its citizens the basic right to object to its actions and policies, at a time when it systematically violates human rights. Instead of ceasing and desisting from the violations, the state uses business owners as pawns against human rights defenders, making those business owners complicit in Israel’s crimes, and limiting their ability to abide by international law.

The Anti-Boycott Law piles a miscarriage of justice on a travesty of justice: A state that is founded on the non-recognition of a population under its jurisdiction, and on physical, economic, and cultural violence against that very same population is now also a state that confines the resistance to the violence it enacts as a matter of course. Such a state cannot be called democratic, and is not a democracy.

The Israeli government’s blacklisting of, and legislation against human rights organizations, reflect its realization that grassroots global solidarity with the indigenous Palestinian people is growing significantly. In a system which consistently oppresses a particular marginalized group based on indigeneity, as well as other marginalized, ethnic and racial communities, it comes as no surprise that human rights defenders, even the privileged ones, are silenced as well.

Israel’s expanding legal measures against human rights defenders are just one more reason to hold it accountable for its seven decades-long violations of human, civil, and indigenous rights. We are not deterred, and we ask the international community to continue demanding accountability, by enacting boycotting, divesting from, and employing sanctions against Israel, in accordance with Palestinian civil society’s BDS call, until Israel abides by international law and respects the Palestinian people’s demands for justice, freedom, and equality.

About Boycott from Within

BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within, commonly known as Boycott from Within, is an association of Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel who support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Founded in 2008, it describes itself as following the guiding principles and sharing the goals of the Palestinian BDS movement, as delineated by Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

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12 Responses

  1. eljay
    eljay
    March 26, 2018, 11:52 am

    Zionists will boast that the “Jewish State” is a “moral beacon”, a “light unto the nations” and a “progressive paradise”.

    … The Anti-Boycott Law piles a miscarriage of justice on a travesty of justice: A state that is founded on the non-recognition of a population under its jurisdiction, and on physical, economic, and cultural violence against that very same population is now also a state that confines the resistance to the violence it enacts as a matter of course. Such a state cannot be called democratic, and is not a democracy. …

    And then they’ll defend it by pointing out that it’s not as bad as Saudi Arabia, Mali, African “hellholes”, etc.

  2. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    March 26, 2018, 12:00 pm

    RE: “Israel is denying its citizens the basic right to object to its actions and policies, at a time when it systematically violates human rights” ~ Boycott from Within

    ■ GRAPHIC

    “Riders on the storm
    Riders on the storm
    Into this house we’re born
    Into this world we’re thrown
    Like a dog without a bone
    An actor out on loan

    Riders on the storm”

  3. Citizen
    Citizen
    March 26, 2018, 2:16 pm

    No problem, just watch US tv able news talking heads. Go back to sleep.

  4. echinococcus
    echinococcus
    March 26, 2018, 6:23 pm

    … the State of Israel is not protecting its citizens.

    Good. One doesn’t want these criminals to be protected, or a bastard, criminal state to be functional.

  5. Misterioso
    Misterioso
    March 27, 2018, 10:34 am

    The entity known as “Israel,” i.e., west of the green line, is definitely not a “democracy.” It is and has always been an ethnocracy, i.e., a political structure in which the state apparatus is appropriated by a dominant ethnic group to further its interests, power and resources. In short, apartheid.

    Hendrik Verwoerd, then prime minister of South Africa and the architect of South Africa’s apartheid policies, 1961: “Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” (Rand Daily Mail, November 23, 1961)

    Jacobus Johannes Fouché, South African Minister of Defence during the apartheid era, compared the two states and said that Israel also practiced apartheid. (Gideon Shimoni (1980). Jews and Zionism: The South African Experience 1910-1967. Cape Town: Oxford UP. pp. 310–336. ISBN 0195701798.

    “Former Foreign Ministry director-general invokes South Africa comparisons. ‘Joint Israel-West Bank’ reality is an apartheid state”
    EXCERPT: “Similarities between the ‘original apartheid’ as it was practiced in South Africa and the situation in ISRAEL [my emphasis] and the West Bank today ‘scream to the heavens,’ added [Alon] Liel, who was Israel’s ambassador in Pretoria from 1992 to 1994. There can be little doubt that the suffering of Palestinians is not less intense than that of blacks during apartheid-era South Africa, he asserted.” (Times of Israel, February 21, 2013)

    Video: Israeli TV Host Implores Israelis: Wake Up and Smell the Apartheid
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyyUvxHLYr4

    In its 2015 Country Report on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, the U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor acknowledges the “institutional and societal discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel.” (U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor)

    “Construction, Not Destruction”
    “While Israeli Arabs constitute 20 percent of the population, Arab communities’ jurisdictions occupy just 2.5 percent of the state’s land area, and the process of approving new construction in Arab towns takes decades.” (Haaretz Editorial, April 4, 2017)

    Ronnie Kasrils, a key player in the struggle against the former South African apartheid regime, minister for intelligence and a devout Jew: “The Palestinian minority in Israel has for decades been denied basic equality in health, education, housing and land possession, solely because it is not Jewish. The fact that this minority is allowed to vote hardly redresses the rampant injustice in all other basic human rights. They are excluded from the very definition of the ‘Jewish state’, and have virtually no influence on the laws, or political, social and economic policies. Hence, their similarity to the black South Africans [under apartheid].” (The Guardian, 25 May 2005)

    As for the rest of historic Palestine, including the Gaza Strip, it is subject to an illegal, brutal occupation by Israel.

    Eminent Jewish Israeli journalist Bradley Burston aptly sums up the horrors Israel inflicts on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem:
    “Occupation is Slavery”
    EXCERPT:
    “In the name of occupation, generation after generation of Palestinians have been treated as property. They can be moved at will, shackled at will, tortured at will, have their families separated at will. They can be denied the right to vote, to own property, to meet or speak to family and friends. They can be hounded or even shot dead by their masters, who claim their position by biblical right, and also use them to build and work on the plantations the toilers cannot themselves ever hope to own. The masters dehumanize them, call them by the names of beasts.” (Haaretz, Feb. 26/13)

    The International Committee of the Red Cross: “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, ratified by Israel, bans collective punishment of a civilian population.”

    • March 27, 2018, 8:28 pm

      The Israeli tv host vid you linked surprised me – wonder if he’s still alive or in jail – he didn’t hold back. Impressive. Thanks for sharing

      • Mayhem
        Mayhem
        March 28, 2018, 6:36 am

        Can’t beat freedom and democracy.

      • March 28, 2018, 2:12 pm

        Mayhem – “Can’t beat freedom and democracy.”

        agreed – heed your own words you dim wit and please tell the other Zionist stooges to stop trying.

        Freedom and equality for all – even for bigots like you.

  6. falcon170
    falcon170
    March 28, 2018, 11:19 am

    Boycotting based on national origin is discrimination. Literally the definition of discrimination.

    • eljay
      eljay
      March 28, 2018, 11:55 am

      || falcon170: Boycotting based on national origin is discrimination. Literally the definition of discrimination. ||

      Discriminating against non-Jews is discrimination. Literally the definition of discrimination.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      March 28, 2018, 11:59 am

      “Boycotting based on national origin is discrimination”

      Oy Gevalt, why are we Jews burdened with such troubles? We’ve gotta watch out we don’t catch the Jewish self-hate, or internalize persecution, and now we are self-discriminating!

    • annie
      annie
      March 28, 2018, 12:23 pm

      falcon, the boycott is not based on national origin. the apartheid is based on the national origin for those being discriminated against.

      [T]he Supreme Court has unequivocally ruled that boycotts in pursuit of humanitarian and social justice goals are a form of political speech entitled to the highest protection under the First Amendment. The court has further held that government at any level must not deny economic benefits, including public contracts, in retaliation for political beliefs.

      http://mondoweiss.net/2016/04/anti-bds-legislation-faces-crucial-hearing-tomorrow-in-california-judiciary-committee/

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