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The Forum > Article Comments > Israel's crackdown grows with boycott bill > Comments

Israel's crackdown grows with boycott bill : Comments

By Neve Gordon, published 19/7/2011

Israeli politicians expect the Boycott Bill to be over-turned by their High Court, so why have they passed it?

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I can recall examples of the supporters of the Israel experiment in the US stating that Israel was in fact, the only democracy in the Middle East. Of course, just words as we all knew but it always sounded good, justifying as it was meant to do and did, the fact that the US had a responsibility to support a country engaged in ethnic cleansing, apartheid and murder because it was "democratic".
Why Israel would have expected such a response from the imperialists of America is hard to understand but they set about using their cunning to corrupt and unduly influence those people in the US charged with government, successfully.

Now with the compliant Knesset members succumbing yet again to the dictates of Netanyahu and his band of unholies, it does appear that as stated in the article, the obvious result will be an eventual reason to minimise the powers of the courts in that stolen state.

One has to admire the courage of Neve Gordon who is living within the confines of those rules and whose honest and truly democratic principles will be the target for such new government powers, unable to be challenged by a diminished court where no redress is likely to be available.

Does this development alarm the sponsors of Israel in the US? Unlikely, as the road that they themselves are travelling, now financially bankrupt and morally corrupt with the erosion of human rights (per courtesy of the evil Bush / Cheney / Rumsfelt triumvirate, perhaps the most evil humans on this earth), makes them see the erosion of whatever democracy there ever was in Israel as no worse than in the US.

Therefore, a common bond.

Compounding these developments is the almost apathetic acceptance by once decent Jews living in Israel who may have had some aspirations for an illegal state created by a illegal British act to be a home for their families but who, on all present indications, appear to have lost their voices in the erosion of their rights.

Now that is very sad indeed. They have become Zionists by default.
Posted by rexw, Tuesday, 19 July 2011 10:30:48 AM
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An "Illegal State" made by an "Illegal British Act"? That is Australia, predicated on Terra Nullius as it was. The State of Israel was established based upon the recommendation of the UN in compliance with International Law, which not only dealt with the fact that there there are various groups of occupants, but designed a Partition Plan for the peaceful co-existence of the same. When Hamas/PLA take steps to stop non-state actors, they'll have a say, alternatively, Israel can allow the settler's to do whatever they please and both sides can ignore each other.

As to the 'Boycott Bill', from what I've read the Politicians don't expect the law to be struck down by the Court, but they are expecting it to be modified/interpreted by the Court when it is tested. The Howard Government expected precisely the same outcome with WorkChoices, the current Government expects the same outcome with the Plain-Packaging Legislation, etc. That is why Courts get to evaluate Legislation in light of the Constitution, it ensures that legislation is Constitutionally valid.

Quite frankly, having seen the hysteric cr*d surrounding the boycotts, Israel has to do something. When the unrestricted freedom of speech of non-residents of a Country directly affects, without recourse to either international law/legal obligations, or international policy, the entirety of a Country, then the citizen's of that Country should be able to take action against those doing them harm.

It's funny, the proposed law is fairly benign compared to that of at least one Country in the Asian Region (also a member of the Commonwealth & an island). I'm not going to name that Country or the parties involved as one is realistically liable to defamation proceedings if one does. Defamation Law also provide a similar protection to Individuals/Companies in this Country, if they suffer damages due to publications originating overseas, that damage is actionable here (to a lesser extent - also requires that the publication could be accessed from here - >1%). Welcome to globalization.
Posted by Custard, Tuesday, 19 July 2011 4:19:13 PM
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Firstly, the letter of the law (my humble translation):

1. Definition: For the purpose of this law, "boycott of the state of Israel" means a deliberate avoidance of an economic, cultural or academic contact with a person or any other body, for the sole reason of their association with the state of Israel, any of its institutions or an area under its control, with potential to harm it economically, culturally or academically.

2. Boycott - a civil offense:
2A. Whoever calls in public to boycott the state of Israel, whereby it can be reasonably understood by the contents and circumstances of their call that it will bring about such a boycott, and the caller is aware of such a possibility, commits a civil offense subject to the "damage orders (new version)" law.

2B. According to 2A, breaking of a legal contract by calling for a boycott on the state of Israel will not be considered a sufficient justification.

2C. Once a court of law determines that an offense has been committed according to this law, it may order its perpetrator to pay compensation unrelated to the actual damage (thereby exemplary compensation); when determining the sum of the exemplary compensation, the court will consider, among other factors, the circumstances of the offense, its severity and its magnitude.

Instructions about limiting participation in tenders:
The finance minister may, with permission of the Knesset's constitutional/law-and-order standing-committee, regulate regarding the limiting of participation in legal tenders due to a commitment of a candidate to participate in a boycott against the state of Israel, including a commitment to abstain from using products or services from Israel, from any of its institutions or from an area under its control.

Operation: The minister of justice is responsible to execute this law.
Posted by Yuyutsu, Wednesday, 20 July 2011 11:45:11 AM
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Obviously this law was not meant to handle boycotts against Israel's postal-office, not even against Israel in general: its sole purpose is to protect the settlers, the rest is fluff!

One main aim of this law (reflected in item 2B) is to force theater-actors to perform in west-bank towns against their conscience, or else they will lose their job (the vast majority of actors belong to the peace camp), or their theater will lose government subsidies. Another aim is to provide the new settler university of Ariel (in the west-bank) with a semblance of a real university. Another one is to stop Israeli companies from building the new Palestinian city of Rawaby (since it is a standard part of any Palestinian contract to avoid using products from the settlements).

One obvious loophole in this new law, and a possible legal defense, yet to be tested, is the reference to "area under its control". It is well known that the west bank is not under Israel's control, but under the control of settlers who do there whatever they want. There are settlements there which even the Israeli army is afraid to enter.

Another potential loophole is the use of the words "just" and "or" rather than "and/or". Boycotting the settlers is not just because they live in the occupied territories (Palestinians live there too) and not just due to their Israeli citizenship (most Israelis live in Israel itself), but because of the combination, "and", of the above.

I found no reference to Neve's figure of 30,000 Shekels. As far as I can see, there is no limit on the sum which courts can impose, meaning they can give away all your possessions to the settlers.

This law, along with a string of other new fascistic laws, is a heavy burden on ordinary peaceful Israelis. Australians and the international community must find ways to help them. As I do visit my family in Israel from time to time, I am prevented from suggesting exact practical ways of how they can be helped, but I am sure we will know what to do.
Posted by Yuyutsu, Wednesday, 20 July 2011 12:46:07 PM
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