July 16, 2011

SLIP SLIDIN' AWAY:

Maybe It's Time for American Jews to Boycott Netanyahu (Jeffrey Goldberg, Jul 14 2011,The Atlantic)

The anti-boycott law, which would allow people who claim to have been financially victimized by calls for boycotts to sue those who call for such boycotts, without offering proof of damages, is obviously meant to intimidate into silence Israelis exercising their right to speak freely. I am against, of course, all calls for boycotts against Israel; I'm on the fence about calls for boycotts of settlement-made goods. But let the opponents of boycotts make their best arguments against such boycotts -- it has always been the Israeli way to fight bad ideas with better ideas. This new law is an entirely new thing -- a bullying example of the tyranny of the majority in action. I'm confident the Israeli Supreme Court will overturn this dreadful law, but until it does, might I suggest a counter-boycott, by American Jews, of Israeli politicians, up to and including the prime minister, who support the curtailing of free speech in Israel?

What I mean is this: Many of the biggest Jewish federations in America have special fundraising sub-groups organized around specific professions, including lawyers. Let's encourage these lawyers' division to write to the prime minister and tell him that, as much as they would love to have him visit and share his views with them, American lawyers -- and in particular, First Amendment lawyers, half of whom, it seems, are Jewish -- don't feel it is appropriate to honor a speaker who advocates punishing others for exercising their right to free speech.

There is wall-to-wall opposition among American Jews toward this ridiculous law, and this opposition needs to be communicated to the prime minister and to the Knesset in very clear ways, before Israel slips further down the slope away from democracy.


Posted by at July 16, 2011 7:27 AM
  

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