Jewish Groups Speak Out Against Israel's Speech-Killing Boycott Law


International boycotts of Israel have finally garnered a response.

U.S. Jewish groups are speaking out against a new Israeli law which passed the Knesset last week. The law allows citizens to bring civil suits against persons and organizations that call for economic, cultural, or academic boycotts against Israel, Israeli institutions, or regions under Israeli control. It also prevents the government from doing business with companies that initiate or comply with such boycotts. In practice, this means that those in Jewish settlements in Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights being boycotted would have the right to seek compensation in court for damages.

Despite Israel's past as the target of international boycotts, the legislation met with much opposition from members concerned with the law's effect on freedom of speech.

One member of Kadima, Shlomo Molla, warned that "not allowing nonviolent protests will lead to violent protests," and a Knesset legal advisor described the legislation as "borderline illegal."

American Jewish groups which have spoken against the legislation include J-Street, Zionists of America, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the ADL, Americans for Peace Now and the New Israel Fund, Ameinu, the American Jewish Committee. Most have argued that the law undermines Israel's hopes for acceptance by the global community. The Union for Reform Judaism released a statement saying that the law is counter-productive because it "tarnish[es] Israel's image as a state committed to democratic values."

Yesterday, in what may be the first organized reaction to the law, Americans for Peace Now, a Jewish American organization, joined Israel's Peace Now group in calling for a boycott of settlement products.

The law is expected to reach the High Court of Justice, where most legal experts agree it will be repealed.

Photo courtesy of Graham Moore.

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  1. Rat bastard jooos.

    1. RBJ and Coke. Quite a drink…

  2. I have a lot of sympathies for Israel. And not because of its Jewish origin, or feeling bad (somehow) about the Shoah, or me being a Muslim-hater or religious fundie.

    I ‘support’ Israel because its the only place in the whole goddamned Middle East where stupid laws like this can actually be called such, where you can walk down the street and see a hottie in a skirt, or get a real job with a real future.

    Good for Israel to have such a healthy and civil political discourse internally, nothing else in the Middle East comes close.

    1. This. I do find it utterly hilarious that fundies support Israel so — something tells me that if they knew anything about the Tel Aviv nightlife, they’d be calling down hellfire.

    2. yes they have hope, but there’s alot of paranoid extremists to go along with the moderate pragmatists in the Knesset.

      1. Are they really paranoid? I mean, there are actually people out to do them in, after all.

        1. so maybe they’re no worse than our own “brown skin” haters, but that still makes their policies intractable in the whole situation.

          1. The law is based on political leanings, not race. Proponents of the anti-boycott law have a long history of opposing lily White liberals.

        2. +1 RC Dean

  3. American Jewish groups which have spoken against the legislation include J-Street, Zionists of America, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the ADL, Americans for Peace Now and the New Israel Fund, Ameinu, the American Jewish Committee. Most have argued that the law undermines Israel’s hopes for acceptance by the global community.

    I understand the issue with the new law, which is pretty despicable, but is that a serious argument against it? Who the FUCK is this “global community”?

    Ohhh, don’t tell me! Don’t tell me!

    And the other cuddly and lovable countries.


    1. There’s something weird about Venezuela being on that list. They need to liberalize muy pronto.

    2. +1 Old Mexican

  4. It dawns on me that this is probably going to become an MNG/John bitchfest, or that it will otherwise get ruined by tiresome anti-Zionist/super-Zionist back-and-forth, but it’s worth noting that this is the sort of hyper-sensitivity to meaningless cultural issues that Israel should leave to its opponents. Israel would be a lot better off if it acted less childish in these cases — in reality, a boat full of dirty hippies on their way to perform yet another meaningless stunt wouldn’t be newsworthy without the angle that the Israeli government is taking a hard line against it for apparently no reason.

    1. Governments are often more effective than activists at undermining their own credibility.

      1. Let me be clear…

    2. I dunno. A boatload of dirty hippies bringing supplies to the people raining rockets onto your country might be worth intercepting at sea.

      1. Especially if you’re waging total war on a civilian population by destroying housing left and right and then refusing to allow drywall and styrofoam into their territory to rebuild.

        Last I knew drywall makes piss-poor rocket fuel.

        1. Except Israel let’s all of said supplies through as long as there aren’t, you know, rockets in the supplies.

          The whole flotilla deal is a non-starter. Israel doesn’t stop supplies from reaching Gaza at all. They come through via truck on a daily basis. They don’t want them going via boat because that’s how Gaza gets the rockets.

          1. Given the regularity of rocket attacks, I doubt that Gaza is dependent on some hyped-up flotillas to provide them. More to the point, I highly doubt that a boat populated by Cynthia McKinney clones would even have the ability to deep-think on the level required to smuggle stuff into Gaza.

            1. The point is that the Flotillas are trying to deliver supplies to Gaza without Israeli interference, just to make a point, not because Gaza is starving.


              Israel does indeed maintain a firm blockade of the Gaza Strip in order to deny its Hamas rulers goods that could be used in the manufacture of weapons of war. But Israel is not restricting the entry of other goods, and is in fact facilitating the transfer of massive amounts of humanitarian aid every day – goods that the residents of Gaza are receiving for free, that is if Hamas would stop stealing them.

              1. Well, yeah — dumb statements that have no bearing on reality are as O^2 is to humans.

                1. Whoops… fail.

                  Dumb statements that have no bearing on reality are to hippies as O^2 is to humans.

            2. Seeing “Cynthia McKinney” and “deep-think” in the same sentance made me laugh.

        2. Tulpa, Egypt opened it’s border with Gaza a month ago. You must of missed the news reports.

          1. RC and I are referring to IDF foreign-boat raids that occurred while the crossing to Egypt was still sealed.

          2. Not to mention that the Egyptians have their own fracking wall with Gaza that’s heavily fortified with troops who occassionally shoot Gazans attempting to escape Hamas. They only open it occassionally according to political expedience.

        3. Total war? Israel appears to have the means to annihilate the populations of Gaza and the West Bank. If they are engaging in total war, what are those people still doing there?

          Also, building supplies can be used to make fortifications with military uses. Robert E. Lee was called the “King of Spades” for his extensive building of trenches. Are you seriously asserting that you don’t know why the Israeli government would restrict the importation of building materials or are you hoping that nobody notices the problem with your logic?

          1. Food can be used to feed rocket-builders, medical supplies can be used to heal the wounds of those who shoot them so they can continue shooting them. Just because something is dual-use doesn’t give Israel the right to block it if people need it to survive. Last I checked, shelter was a necessity of survival.

            And if you’re building military fortifications out of drywall and styrofoam, let’s just say you ain’t much of a threat.

            1. As Gene Simmons said on Fox News, “if you haven’t been to the moon, you can’t make policy about the moon.” I find it laughable that you think you know better than the Israelis how best to secure their country.

              When I was in Israel, I saw on the Palestinian side of the border wall a mural with a lion eating a dove. The Lion had a Star of David and the Dove was identified as Palestinian. After all of the terror attacks — suicide bombings of civilian targets; poorly aimed rocket attacks usually meant to hit schools and such; the butchering of random Israeli civilians — you would think that the Palestinians would have some shame. You would think that they might say, “well, I haven’t done anything wrong, but I’m not going to pretend that we are all saints and martyrs.” No. You see none of the introspection and self-criticism on the Palestinian side that you see on the Israeli side.

              If they have to sleep in tents instead of buildings, then pardon me for not summoning up the sympathy that you think they deserve.

            2. Actually, Israel has every right to block all supplies to a hostile entity if necessary to protect the rights of its citizens.

        4. I wish Israel would wage total war on the Gaza Strip. They’d win!

    3. Good point. This year’s flotilla was peacefully stopped, so the Western Media outlets, including Reason, did not report about it. You can’t expect perfection from a country. When the media only reports the imperfections, it’s time to stop relying solely on Western media outlets for news about Israel.

      1. Pretty much agree. Israel’s no libertarian paradise, and could use a lot of work, but it’s a sight better than the monarchies and authoritarian societies and countries that surround it.

    4. You have to enforce a blockade without exceptions or risk undermining its legal status. It’s that simple. The dirty hippies are trying to destroy the legal rationale for the boycott, not get ‘aid’ to the Palestinians. It’s lawfare.

  5. “It also prevents the government from doing business with companies that initiate or comply with such boycotts.”

    So the Israeli government is prevented from doing business with companies that refuse to do business with the Israeli government?

    Got it.

    1. I imagine it extends to individuals who do business within Israel not being able to do business with the business not doing business with the government of Israel.

      1. That totally makes sense now. Thanks.

        1. ^^ must be michael bay, since he’s immune to head-asplosion.

  6. Ah, a real grassroots crew like J Street is involved. Good to know.

  7. Aaaand Israel switches back to treating the Palestinian territories as part of Israel again so that they can enforce this stupid law.

    In a few months again when they want to re-up the blockade of Gaza they’ll claim Gaza is a foreign country so they can go back to attacking foreign ships in international waters.

    1. Gaza is foreign territory. Israel completely withdrew from it. Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are Israeli lands. Israel annexed both and offer full citizenship to all the residents in both lands. The status of Judea and Samaria is still under negotiation. Try to break out of your dichotomies and keep up with the new developments, Tulpa.

  8. I call for a boycott until they get rid of this bullshit.

  9. I disagree the with new Israeli boycott law, but I don’t think it is outside of accepted norms. If someone declared a boycott of Asian-American businesses in Hawaii because the Asian-American families moved there after 1900, the boycotters could be brought to court under USA anti-discrimination laws.

    1. I’m skeptical of your assertion.

  10. As I understand it the boycott law will be enforced in civil courts – so if a political group within Israel says ‘boycott the settlements’ they can be sued in the courts by the settlers – regardless of outcome the political group has to spend all its time and money defending itself – the point of this law is to suck away the time and treasure of all Israeli political and cultural groups who don’t pledge absolute fealty to the settlers – not to prevent boycotts of Israel.

  11. Where’s [HERC] at?

  12. Jtuf,
    Do you think there should be such a thing as Jewish only settlements in the West Bank?
    Do you think it is ok for Israel to build settlements in the west bank, control who drives on what roads in the West Bank and still deny full citizenship to Palestinians that live there?

    Do you think it is ok to deny citizenship, based on a goal of having the majority of voters on a certain religion/ethnicity?

    1. Just curious about the above.

    2. Kwais, are there Jewish only settlements in Judea and Samaria? The Israeli Supreme Court ruled a decade ago that the JNF cannot discriminate based on religion when it rents homes. I assume the same policy applies to buying homes in Judea and Samaria.

      It was the Israeli policy in the 1980s to integrate the residents of Gaza, Judea, and Samaria into Israeli society starting with economic cooperation. Pressure from the USA cancelled that approach. Clinton wanted credit for making peace, so he pushed Israel into recognizing Palestinians as a separate people with the PLO as their representatives. If you object to this separation, you should be upset at the USA for creating it two decades ago.

  13. This is terrible. I hate this law. I was actually getting down with the Likud until now. I had high hopes Benji would burn the strip and crush Hezbollah, but he’s not doing dick about legit threats and then this crap. PLEASE WAKE UP SHARON. Take back Kadima; your successors were so lamo.

  14. Cytoxic,
    If Benji did burn the strip and crushed Hezbollah, what were you expecting him to do with the civilian inhabitants afterwards?

    What is y’alls long term goals with the inhabitants of Gaza and the West Bank?
    To make life intolerable enough so that they move out? If they haven’t done so yet, do you really think they will?

    What is the long term solution for that place?

    1. I favor integration, but this option is unpopular among the Quartet. Too many world leaders are obsessed with getting credit for creating a new state.

      1. To clarify, I think Gaza should integrate with Egypt and become part of Egypt like it was before 1967. Judea and Samaria should integrate with Israel. Most importantly, I think the locals should determine their own fate without our interference.

        1. OK so you think that the population of the West Bank should all the same rights as Isrealis, as far as travel and voting?
          I can go along with that.
          And I am glad that you think so. To treat people as individuals and not as a group.
          I don’t really see that as being a problem either. The West Bank is mostly pacified. The few terrorists that come out of there, are the direct result of lack of rights and debasement that wouldn’t happen to them if they were Israeli citizens.

          Gaza is a little more tricky.
          Egypt doesn’t want it.
          Crazy think is that it is lovely beachfront property.
          Egypt doesn’t want it, and if Egypt did take it, and individuals still launched a terrorist attack from there as they are much more inclined to do because of their treatment.
          Then would Israel attack Egypt in Retaliation?

          I don’t think Israel could get away with that the way they can with Syria and Lebanon.

          1. Maybe Gaza can be the territory for the PA. Judea and Samaria residents could have the option of picking Israeli citizenship or PA citizenship and vote for the government they have citizenship in. The PA citizens currently in Judea and Samaria could get permanent resident visas that allow them to travel and work in Israel. Gazan residents would have to apply for resident and work visas in Israel just like the citizens of any non-Israeli nation.

            Diaspora Palestinians would have a right of return to move to Gaza. Gaza is about as big as New York City in area. If we built sky scrappers there, all the Palestinians who want to live under PA rule could comfortably live there. This would also be more cost effective than the endless aid that the West throws at the PA.

            1. Why would they have to get visas to work in their own country?
              Why not give the West Bank residents full rights and citizenship?

              No applications for visa, no nothing. The same rights as a Tel Aviv resident.

    2. Until the boycott Israel campaigns most of the workers at Jewish owned farms and factories in Judea and Samaria were Palestinians. Even today, they make up a large part of the workforce at these businesses despite PA demands that its citizens boycott Israel. You know how trade between peoples brings peace. The campaign to boycott Israel is less about helping Palestinians and more about self-appointed peace makers trying to eliminate alternative routes to peace that they see as their competition.

      1. Bingo.

  15. I have a very close friend that lives in a settlement. Beautiful area.

    When I go visit her, I can’t be but a little taken aback at how assholish the settlements are. They are in the West Bank, but they are all Jewish, the ones that I have been to are all white.
    And they have a huge fence around, with the Israeli Army protecting them.

    To get to them, you cross two checkpoints. If you are Israeli Jewish you roll down the window and speak hebrew to them, and they let you through with a smile.
    If not, prepare for the something else entirely.

    I don’t know the laws, but I imagine that the people in the settlements can vote in Isreali elections, they can drive on roads in the West Bank that the other locals can’t.

    Now my theory on it is as yours. Israel controls the territory, it is Israel. Just understand that there is no Palestine.
    All of the Palestinians I have talked to have said the same. There is no Palestine. Just accept that and give everyone the same rights.

    I asked my friend why build the selttlement in the middle of the West Bank, in the middle of populated area, and then have to build all the walls around it and the checkpoints, and the Israeli Army, why not build it down south where there is plenty of unused land that no one would bother about.

    And her response was “it is all our land, it was given to us”. She is an otherwise very liberal socialist person.

    I think Obama’s plan of withdrawing to the 67 borders is stupid. Let the settlements stay there.
    Just give everyone rights, so that they don’t need an army to defend them. So that you don’t need an army debasing the local population to keep the settlers safe.

    I love Israel.
    I would love it to not have a subjugated minority population. I think no good will come of that.

    No amount of restraint and good will, no amount of efficiency and power by Israels army and intelligence will mitigate that there is a subjugated population without rights.

    1. Kwais,

      Maybe we need fewer American Jews sending letters of protest to Israel from across the Atlantic and more American Jews moving to Hebron to work on integration. Unfortunately, the PA made it a capital crime for anyone to sell land under its jurisdiction to Jews. PA citizens may go through hardship to get to Jewish settlements, but Jewish Israelis aren’t allowed in PA controlled towns at all. The barriers to entering Israeli controlled areas were put up in response to the Oslo War that the PA waged on Israel. You can thank the Clinton administration’s policy to propping up Arafat for that.

  16. Israel’s unique position as the world’s only country whose very existence is under constant examination. This goes hand-in-hand with some very tough geographic and demographic factors and hostile population both Gentile and Jewish. There is but one Jewish State and it is not moving. The Bible is our deed to the land ? no other nation can demonstrate that their

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