July 13, 2011


Israel Delegitimizes Itself (Marc Tracy | Jul 12, 2011, Tablet)

“It’s almost as if it were designed to propagate the very thing it’s designed to suppress,” Stephen Clingman, a South African-born English professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, told me this morning. I had called him with a leading question that, as a supporter of Israel, I have long dreaded to ask, but that I felt Israel’s passage yesterday of the anti-boycott law demanded: Does the Israeli government legitimately raise comparisons to the former apartheid regime of South Africa? I have long rejected this analogy, and still do (so does Clingman), and can give you about a dozen reasons why, including the nature of the oppressed minority’s politics and the structure of the majority’s government. And it is in part because I reject this analogy that I also reject the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement—both against Israel and against the settlements—that the law would ostensibly combat.

But the passage of this legislation has forced me to grapple with this analogy nonetheless. In striking against the international BDS movement and its undeniable, and undeniably unfair, campaign of delegitimization with such an absurd, draconian gesture, isn’t the Israeli government compelling all honest observers to pay more attention to the motives and arguments of the BDS movement? It seems to me that MK Zeev Elkin, of Likud, the bill’s main sponsor, is the BDS movement’s most useful of idiots. He ought to get a cut of the donations that are about to pour in.

Implicit in insistences today from the U.S. State Department and the Anti-Defamation League that the anti-boycott law offends Israel’s democracy (“among Israel’s many assets is its vibrant democracy,” Abraham Foxman said. “To legally stifle calls to action—however abhorrent and detrimental they might be—is a disservice to Israeli society”) is that, at some point, if you keep going down this road, you no longer are a democracy, and the BDS movement will have won. This is not only a tactical or strategic misstep, as some have suggested; it is a fundamental, moral one.

The Israelis have it easy compared to the Afrikaaners, after all, they're still a majority.

Posted by at July 13, 2011 6:25 AM

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