Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More interesting opinions about the Israeli anti-boycott law

False Dichotomies has an interesting post about the anti-boycott law:
An unholy alliance of the Zionist far-right and the anti-Zionist far-left is trying to bring Israel down. Like previous unholy alliances, the two partners despise one another, but realize that they are locked in a symbiotic relationship: without one another they will die. The far-right needs the hysteria of the far-left as a pretext for the legislation that fulfills the far-left’s fantasies.
The whole thing is worth reading.

Michael Weiss of the Telegraph (UK) also has an interesting column:
One of the more elegant ways pro-Israel activists used to be able to confront the absurdities of anti-Israeli activists was by referring to the tolerance and patience that Israel has for its many critics and enemies. An Islamist cleric whose answer to the Jewish Question is straight out of Torquemada? We’ll let him become mayor of an Arab village. A sinister campaign for the economic and cultural boycott of Israel? We’ll let the head campaigner work toward his doctorate at Tel Aviv University, where his oral defence will no doubt be an attack on his own academic viability. Even an Israeli Arab parliamentarian is allowed to sail on a blockade-busting “freedom flotilla” to denounce the very government to which she belongs.

Israeli democracy, in other words, has long been patient with its gadflies, cranks and nudniks who sometimes confuse that democracy with a banana republic. (Ben-Gurion was hinting at national self-definition when he joked about two Jews with three opinions.) Now, however, those doing the confusing are purportedly acting in Israel’s defence, which is deeply problematic for its democracy.

On Monday, the Knesset voted in favour of a bill that would allow citizens to sue anyone recommending a boycott of not only Israel but of West Bank settlements. This is a distinction with a difference. Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of Palestine, has long favoured a boycott of settlement goods, but not Israeli ones, as a way of forcing Israel to distinguish its GDP from its occupation economy. Diplomatically ill-considered though such a policy may be, and however skirted by the Palestinians themselves in practice, Fayyad’s policy was by no means “anti-Semitic” or belligerent in its logic.
On a related topic, Shiraz Socialist has published a very interesting critique of the BDS campaign written by Cathy N of Workers Liberty (a small left-wing group in the UK).
BDS may seem in the ascendant for now. It may make progress in places, on the back of the Israeli state’s next atrocity. BDS needs to be fought politically, because it stands in the path of two states, the only consistently democratic solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. But BDS is ultimately a pessimistic approach. It put the agency for change outside of the region. It wants civil society, which includes not only NGOs and unions but bourgeois governments and business internationally to make things right for the Palestinians. There is another road. The Palestinian workers in alliance with Israeli workers fighting for a two state democratic solution to the national question, is the force that could deliver peace and much more besides.

Other interesting articles: Jeff Goldberg - A self-defeating anti-boycott bill, and in Tablet - American Jews unite against Knesset bill: "Apparently the best way to unite American Jews is for the Knesset to do something particularly stupid, like pass a law that criminalizes calling for boycotts."

No comments:

Post a Comment