Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The F Word

Ben Caspit, an opponent of boycotts, on today's front page of Maariv, calls Israel's law prohibiting boycotts the f word: fascism.
But when this law is also applied to private people, and when the determination as to “what is a boycott” is taken away from the court and given to bureaucrats, and when private citizens can be convicted for voicing their opinion, based on the determination of those bureaucrats and also to sentence them to pay compensation even without proving damage, this is fascism. This is a blatant and a resounding shutting of people’s mouths. This is a thought police. There is no choice but to use this word. Fascism at its worst is raging.
And the extreme right encouraged by yesterday's victory over democratic norms pushes on with a bill aimed at setting up a commission of inquiry against leftist groups.

Meanwhile, Haaretz reports that US efforts to renew negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians have failed.

Those who don't see the connection between Israel's occupation of the Palestinian Territories and the erosion of Israeli democracy simply aren't paying attention. Those who don't speak up are cowards.


  1. Everyone from Abe Foxman to Jstreet are (appropriately) opposing this legislation.

    What do we think, then, of responses that facetiously thank the Knesset? From Israel Reconsidered, "Israel’s totalitarian-minded Right has given us a club to beat them over the head with."

    Will this move ultimately blow up in Likud's face as the "left" is strengthened when those not yet engaged in the I/P conflict join the conversation?

  2. We can only hope. I'm actually shocked by the reaction from those on the American right. But the path the Knesset seems to be heading down is "How to Lose the American Jewish Community in Ten Easy Steps." Peter Beinart rhetorically asked in his piece "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment" at what point does the "establishment" here become so uncomfortable with Israel's policies that they can no longer support them. Maybe we are about to find out. My guess is that Bibi will put a hold on the coming wave of anti-democratic legislation.

    More importantly, maybe this will energize Israelis.