Knesset of Fools

Hussein Ibish in Foreign Policy:

Knessetint In the latest of a series of extraordinarily self-defeating moves, Israel's legislature, the Knesset, has just adopted the so-called “Boycott Bill,” penalizing any call within Israel to boycott Israel or its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. The new law allows for civil suits against boycott supporters, denies them state benefits, and prevents the Israeli government from doing business with them. For a society terrified of what it sees as an international campaign of “delegitimization,” its own parliament could not have produced a more stunning blow to Israel's legitimacy by conflating Israel as such with the settlements and the occupation.

Of course this law could not have been otherwise, since virtually all effective BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) efforts in the West have been targeted against the occupation and the settlements, not against Israel. Some BDS activists would clearly like to extend this campaign to target Israel proper, but such efforts have met with extremely limited success in Western societies. On the other hand, efforts to express disapproval of Israel's illegitimate settlement activities and therefore also illegitimate goods produced in the settlements have been meeting with a modest but increasing degree of effectiveness.

The “Boycott Bill,” therefore, was never really about Israel at all, but about protecting the settlements and the settlers from a growing international campaign to refuse to subsidize a project that is a dagger aimed at the heart of prospects for a viable peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as a blatant violation of international law.

More here.