Yoaz Hendel

Say ‘yes’ to patriotic law

Op-ed: Yoaz Hendel says bill that calls for punishing settlement boycotters the right move

Is there really a need to explain why the State of Israel is supposed to object to those who call for a boycott against it? Is there a need to explain why a democracy must not support or subsidize bodies that call for a domestic boycott?


As opposed to the professional doomsday visionaries in the State of Israel, I’m a great believer in our democracy. While some inherent problems and failures exist, the basis is firm. And this is where the whole argument lies. Those who believe in the system also believe that it can be maintained and improved when bugs are discovered. Those who only see great abysses and slippery slopes hold on to the old ways even when they’re problematic.


The bill against imposing boycotts that will be brought before the Knesset this week partly contends with a unique absurd in the democratic realm: Bodies and institutions that receive financial support from the State of Israel, while at the same time work independently in a bid to boycott it.


As opposed to the claims of objectors to the bill, there is no political dispute in this story. There are no partial boycotts with geographical boundaries, green lines and parties. There is only a decision by a sovereign state, and on the other end a handful of people who wish to work against it via provocative boycotts.


Fascism and McCarthyism?

Those who claim that resorting to boycotts and protests is legitimate in a democratic state are correct. However, the democratic legitimacy does not entitle such acts to be funded by taxpayers’ money.


As of late there is a feeling that our democracy is not allowed to work against those who smear the State of Israel; that is, a small group that crowned itself as the champions of democracy and freedom of expression responds crudely – and at times dramatically – every time questions are raised or a patriotic amendment to the law is proposed.


Those who listen to the objectors may wrongly think that a democracy is only expected to encourage those who oppose it and call for boycotting or annihilating it. And what about a law in favor of the State? Heaven forbid; a threat to our existence. The code words are fascism and McCarthyism. Yet every time someone dares argue that the emperor has no clothes, we hear the tired clichés and slogans - and all in the name of democracy.


One can object to patriotic bills, yet when it comes from the same people, on a regular basis, you should ask yourself: Where is the silencing here?



פרסום ראשון: 07.10.11, 10:55
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