Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Israel passes anti-democratic anti-boycott law

As you may have heard, though it's getting little attention here in North America, Israel on Monday passed a law banning boycotts.


Here's the BBC:

The Israeli parliament [the Knesset] has passed a controversial law that will punish any Israeli individual or organisation boycotting West Bank settlements.

Rights groups say the legislation stifles freedom of speech and compromises Israeli democracy.

After failed attempts to delay debate, it was voted through 47-36.

It follows several Israeli calls to boycott institutions or individuals linked to Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

It's hard to believe that any country calling itself free and democratic would ever pass such a law, but then, this is Israel we're talking about, a country ruled by Likudnik thugs and other right-wing illiberals who have little to no interest in genuine freedom or democracy.

And I say that as a friend of Israel, as one who is saddened whenever Israel turns to the right, as one who wishes that Israel could just make peace not just with its neighbours but with itself, for good.

This law is simply ridiculous. Worse, its passage shows just how far Israel is currently willing to go to stifle dissent, how detestably defensive it has become, how it lashes out at its critics with venom. How, when it does such a thing, can we say that it has justice on its side?


Roger Waters -- as some of you know, someone I love and admire a great deal -- has posted a clip on Facebook opposing the law. I'm with him all the way. Here it is:

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