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Boycott Debate

Law prompts protest Photo: Ofer Amram
Law prompts protest Photo: Ofer Amram
 
 

Undemocratic, immoral law

Op-ed: Following Boycott Law’s approval, Israel can no longer claim to be region’s only democracy

Nechama Duek
Published: 07.14.11, 00:57 / Israel Opinion

The Boycott Law’s approval by the Knesset turned Israel and us, its citizens, into members in a club I would not want to be a member of. The boycotters club. In other words, the new law calls for boycotting the boycotters.

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This law wishes to silence people, stifle a different kind of thinking, and force people to do things that contradict their conscience, beliefs and democratic right.

 

Supporters of the new law repress the deep dispute within Israeli society regarding the future of settlements in the territories. No law will be changing the fact that most of the public is willing to accept an agreement that would remove the settlements in exchange for peace.

 

It is precisely the State of Israel, which is being boycotted from every direction, that must think twice before utilizing the same despicable means - and through legislation no less. It is precisely the State of Israel’s citizens - who are being boycotted in Arab states, whose goods are subjected to scrutiny to ensure they were produced in the “right place,” and whose athletes are being kept out of some global competitions because of their citizenship – who need to be especially sensitive.

 

The moment this law was passed by the Knesset, we can no longer slam anyone else for boycotting us. Because a boycott is a boycott is a boycott. Israel would no longer be able to claim that it is the region’s only democracy. This law turned Israel into a dark place.

 

Who cares about the world?

We are dealing with an undemocratic law; an immoral law. From now on, artists and citizens would be sacred to say that they do no purchase goods produced in the territories, even though this is their democratic right, because the new law will expose them to a lawsuit for damages.

 

My friends, we’ve gone completely mad. The new law represses freedom of expression and freedom of protest. Indeed, the law prompted a very harsh legal opinion by the Knesset’s legal advisor, attorney Eyal Yinon, who asserted: “The bill pertains to the core of the right for freedom of political expression in a democratic state…it has one component (civil injustice) that is afflicted by a substantial constitutional flaw.”

 

It is for good reason that the prime minister rushed home and stayed away from the vote, along with the defense minister. What else needs to happen for us to understand this is not the way to fight something that should have ended with a public debate?

 

Even before the law’s ink dried, a poll commissioned by the Knesset Channel found that 52% of Israelis support the new law while 39% oppose it. Oddly, only 43% of respondents think that the law harms Israel’s global image. But who cares about the world?

 

 

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