The other day we thwarted an attempted legal putsch aimed at trampling the Knesset’s sovereignty in favor of the political considerations of a national minority. The deceptive scaremongering campaign against the Boycott Law, undertaken while ignoring the legislation’s clear instructions and justified aim, was met with the firm stand of Knesset members. We voted in favor of the law and safeguarded democracy.
The State of Israel’s duty is to defend itself and its citizens. If in the past the main battlefield was military, today the campaign is much more complex. Economic strength, academic prowess and cultural wealth constitute a vital element in the power of every state. The Boycott Law is meant to safeguard the national strength of us all.
In essence, the law entrenches the right of each one of us to receive proper compensation for damages incurred as result of being boycotted only because of one’s area of residence or workplace. The law prevents those who call for boycotts against Israel and its citizens from reaching into the public coffers and receiving funding at the expense of tax funds paid by the very citizens facing the boycott.
The law draws a clear line between a legitimate political debate and the exploitation of Israeli democracy in order to undermine the State’s sovereignty, its economy or its academic institutions, whether these are located in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or Ariel. This is the law’s justified aim, and there is no wonder that the leading Western democracies, headed by the United States, already adopted similar moves and even harsher sanctions against those who seek to boycott them.
Against this backdrop, we should view with special gravity the opposition’s attempt, with the backing of a handful of attorneys, to prevent the law’s approval on the basis of seemingly unconstitutional grounds. The attempt to curb a democratic process and thwart the majority’s decision via controversial legal opinions and threats to petition the High Court of Justice reflect the Israeli Left’s inability to accept the path chosen by most of people here. This is a dangerous process where the minority attempts to force its views upon the majority by using the legal system, and first and foremost the Supreme Court.
A radical minority of judges who represent a post-Zionist agenda are trying time and again to force their worldview upon us after it was rejected by a large majority of the public. The law was declared by its foes as “unconstitutional” while, as we know, Israel doesn’t even have a constitution.
The small group of attorneys who seek to run the State created a sort of virtual “constitution” from thin air, while aiming to disqualify – on the basis of vague rules that it changes in line with its needs – legislation passed in the Knesset via a proper procedure and as an expression of the sovereign’s desire. It is not the law that is flawed, but rather, the anti-democratic move undertaken by its objectors.
The attempt to prevent the affirmation of the Boycott Law yet again proved the need to facilitate genuine change in our legal establishment – a change that will bring the Jewish and Zionist character back into this system.
Likud Knesset Member Yariv Levin chairs the Knesset Committee