Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Age Of Wonders

There is little I can add to Bradley Burston's passionate column on the anti-boycott law, which passed the Knesset this week, and will eventually go to the Supreme Court for overturning. What I can add is my deep sense of sorrow, which Brad--a Berkeley radical who, like myself, gravitated to Israel in the Sixties for the progressive and cultural innovations of Labor Zionism--shares. We thought that we were coming to a place where the new Jew was being born; and the unity of Jerusalem and the emancipation of Soviet Jews would yield an age of wonders. We did not figure on Avigdor Lieberman.

Here is the nub of Burston's column on the law:

1. The measure curbs political freedom of expression in Israel in a number of ways, setting potentially significant – and dangerous – precedents. It allows any individual to, in effect, become a private law enforcement agency, empowered to bring lawsuits against anyone or any group the plaintiff accuses of having taken part in or even simply supported any action the plaintiff construes as a boycott against Israel, against the settlements, or even any individual Israeli, for any reason.

2. The measure erases the legal differentiation between settlements and Israel proper, regarding targeted boycotts against goods from the settlements as actions harmful to the state of Israel itself.

3. The Knesset's apolitical Legal Advisor Eyal Yinon has ruled that the law's broad definition of "boycotting the state of Israel", coupled with its "civil wrongdoing" or anyone-can-sue clause, may compromise freedom of expression where it comes to public debate over the fate of the West Bank. Prior to the Monday vote, Yinon stated that the law could be brought to bear against targeted boycotts "whose goal is to influence the political debate in connection with the future of Judea and Samaria, a discussion which has been at the heart of political debate in Israel for more than 40 years now."

4. The effect of the law could be crippling to the efforts of all organizations and many individuals working for Israeli-Palestinian peace and enhanced freedoms and human rights within Israel and the territories. The rabid anti-NGO campaigns of Im Tirtzu and other groups could escalate into a full-bore "lawfare" offensive, hauling them repeatedly into court and costing them prohibitive legal fees.

7 comments:

Y. Ben-David said...

One of the great fears of the Left:
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The effect of the law could be crippling to the efforts of all organizations and many individuals working for Israeli-Palestinian peace and enhanced freedoms and human rights within Israel and the territories. The rabid anti-NGO campaigns of Im Tirtzu and other groups could escalate into a full-bore "lawfare" offensive, hauling them repeatedly into court and costing them prohibitive legal fees.
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Of course, when the Leftist state prosecutors drags one Rabbi after another into police interrogations over something they said or wrote, and when Peace Now opens frivolous land claims court cases against Jewish settlements in Judea/Samaria, makinig "Lawfare" against the Right, then it is okay, correct?
Please don't argue about democracy and principles with us. The only thing that matters is that the Left has the right use all the weapons it has against the political Right, whether they are "democratic" or not.

Anonymous said...

i'm not in favour of the law though, like most people in the center, i am sympathetic to its intention. it was passed by democratic means and it may be very well be overturned (at least in part) by a democratic institution. most countries in fact have anti-boycott laws and i expect when all is said and done israel will adpot something similar to the US, UK and Canada.

Potter said...

We thought that we were coming to a place where the new Jew was being born; and the unity of Jerusalem and the emancipation of Soviet Jews would yield an age of wonders. We did not figure on Avigdor Lieberman.

Soviet Jews, or some, especially in leadership positions, don't seem to appreciate or understand democracy. It’s like they came with that ugly Soviet virus totalitarianism even as they were victims of it escaping it's effects. This is part of the age of wonders. A battle needs to be fought right there. The importance of free speech, the right and the responsibility of citizens of a state to express dissatisfaction with their country's ways is a form of patriotism. This is alien and a threat to the totalitarians ( fascists).

I know we had our Alien and Sedition acts here in the US. That was a couple hundred years ago and deemed unconstitutional.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_and_Sedition_Acts

Anonymous said...

Doesn't seem that the Palestinians are interested in peace with Israeli, according to this joint Israeli-Palestinian poll:


http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=229493

Potter said...

What is interesting is how the JPost presents this poll. The presentation ( not the poll itself) plays to what "people of a certain persuasion" prefer to believe to begin with (ie we can't make peace with them). I suggest you read the Time article ( not the NYTimes) for a fairer presentation of this poll:

this is only one example:

But by the same 2 to 1 margin they also oppose the two-state solution that's been the stated goal of negotiations. Most prefer ending up with a single state, in which Palestinians presumably would outnumber Jewish Israelis. The poll numbers shift some (to 44 percent positive) when the question becomes whether they "will accept a two-state solution." Greenberg says the difference is simply a matter of asking what people want versus what they can live with. "I polled in Great Britain a lot during the negotiations on Northern Ireland," he says. "What people say they want and what people will ultimately agree to are two different things."

Read more: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/07/14/ex-clinton-pollster-finds-palestinians-disenchanted-with-hamas-iran-and-the-peace-process/#ixzz1SAlSwqMk

Potter said...

What should we conclude from this about Israeli's- from the same article above?

The latest Peace Index poll out of Tel Aviv University this week found just a quarter of Israeli Jews believed a two-state deal would be reached in the next two or three years, and fewer than half would bet on a deal in a decade's time.

It would seem that most Israeli's don't believe there will be a peace deal. And if that is so ( at the moment) why is Palestinian despair and disbelief and the search for alternatives to end occupation so hard to understand? And why is it so hard to understand that one card that they have to play is demographics?

Also please note that the majority of Palestinians in the poll you cite do not support Hamas... disapproved of by 2 to 3 including in Gaza. Note too that they do not trust Obama - 7 in 10- to represent their interests.

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