A Dissenting View On Our Host’s Article “England Moves To Bar Support For Israeli Boycott Movement”

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

UKFlagWhile I am usually in agreement with Professor Turley’s views on free speech, I must disagree in large part with his opinion as he states in his article concerning England moving to bar support of local governments to boycott Israel and by extension other governments.

I do agree with his concern and objection of governments jailing individual citizens for engaging in boycotts of various entities. Allowing local governments to enact legislation calling for boycotts themselves is however problematic.


Professor Turley’s article reads in part:

England is moving to bar local councils, public bodies and even university student unions from boycotting “unethical” companies.

All “publicly funded institutions” will lose the freedom to refuse to buy goods and services from companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products or Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn denounced the plan as “an attack on local democracy” and the denial of the right of people . . . to decisions free of central government political control. That includes withdrawal of investments or procurement on ethical and human rights grounds.”

I support, in principle, legislation barring government agencies from engaging in boycotts of individuals, organizations, corporations, or other governments and states that do not engage in activities that do not violate established statutes prohibiting certain acts or omissions. That is, through long established regulations or statutes. Boycotts for that matter are in some ways a separate issue for commerce violations in that they are general in nature and are usually politically driven based upon ideological disagreements with a few members of the political class.

This is one reason the U.S. Constitution and that of the various states prohibit attainder bills which these boycotts essentially are.

The process of a political boycott is designated to enact a general prohibition to economically disenfranchise the target entity from engaging in commerce or freedoms retained with the goal of changing a practice of that target. In practice, at least in the United States where this has been attempted in the past, the state will prohibit the state from engaging in commerce with the target such as where Washington State’s Governor, Jay Inslee, declared that the state of Indiana would not receive any travel or procurements due his political objections to legislation passed by the Indiana Legislature. The effect of this is the denial of the entire other state of receiving these economic benefits, thereby depriving the Indiana Citizens the right to bid for government contracts or to earn wages or sales without any due process afforded by Washington’s constitution or statutes.

Another example for a city council shows how, using what I believe to be a worthy cause of preventing manufacturers from exploiting labor and subjecting labor to harsh working conditions, illustrates some problematic boycotting practices. In this case Resolution M-1545 of the City Council of Olympia.


Section 1. The City will implement sweatshop-free purchasing guidelines in phases. In Phase I, to be implemented by July 1, 2004, City staff making bulk purchases of t-shirts, sweatshirts, and baseball caps shall choose from a list of manufacturers proven to be free of sweatshop working conditions, and offering items at a competitive price. Application of sweatshop-free purchasing guidelines to other items of clothing or footwear shall occur in future phases as directed by the Olympia City Council.

Section 2. All requests for bid or quote on t-shirts, sweatshirts, and baseball caps shall include a copy of this Resolution.

Section 3. To determine whether a bid is responsive in terms of these criteria, the City may consider information obtained independently from the bid from the following: the manufacturer, the distributor from whom the goods are purchased, reputable national and international organizations, well documented media reports, and well-documented information from local citizens groups that are knowledgeable about this topic.

Section 4. City staff shall provide individual employees who receive a clothing or footwear allowance, or who make reimbursable purchases of work clothes or footwear, information on local retailers, wholesalers, or known manufacturers of sweatshop-free items, and encourage those employees to make purchases from those sources.

Section 5. The City Council Budget Committee shall review the progress in implementing this resolution annually through 2006 to determine its effectiveness in assisting the City and its employees in purchasing covered goods from responsible and ethical manufacturers, any impact that this policy may have on the ability of the City to purchase such items at competitive prices, and the timing and means of including additional clothing items under the purchasing guidelines.

PASSED AND APPROVED this 9th day of March, 2004.

Here, the definition of “sweatshop” is not properly defined. It also, I believe, violates federal trade practices regarding international commerce. It defines a list of individual companies approved for sales with the exclusion of others deemed to be in violation of the resolution, hence prohibiting other manufactures from entering the marketplace to sell wares to the city.

Again, I am not advocating the proliferation of “sweatshops”. I take exception to this indirect form of boycott which is largely based upon an arbitrary selection process.

This boycotting practice has the potential if allowed to grow unchecked could become more widespread where the threat of sanction can chill not only commerce but actually the free speech of individuals and entities where speech that is deemed offensive by local councils can be curtailed by the threat of punishment. I worry that organizations and assemblies of citizens will be targeted, thus permitting only speech of a particular kind that is effectively a moving target as the political winds change direction frequently.

Where would we be as a society if our governments could boycott by resolution the ACLU, Wild Salmon Fisheries, leagues of women voters, cities, states, or nations? It is the right of the individual person to decide for themselves.

By Darren Smith


Seattle Times
City of Olympia

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

46 thoughts on “A Dissenting View On Our Host’s Article “England Moves To Bar Support For Israeli Boycott Movement””

  1. “I forgot to mention that, unfortunately for Israel, Arab Muslims have a far higher birthrate than Jewish Israelis. They are projected to become a majority by 2048. This is problematic for a country that is the Jewish Homeland.”

    Googling “palestinian population” brings up a diagram that shows the Palestinians are on the brink of becoming the majority any day now.

    That’s why Jewish military action is so over the top in their destructiveness. Trying to stop the unstoppable – where a minority population imposes their will on the majority.

  2. “Jews predated Arabs in the region by many thousands of years.”

    I don’t think it was Jews that built the Dome of the Rock.

  3. [T]he difference in rights between Palestinians and Jewish Israelis, is that the Palestinians are not required to serve in the Israeli army. Other than that, they can vote, own property, and hold office.

    Nope. Not true. Shear invention.
    Check out the vote from any of the most recent elections The Jews in the occupied territories consistently vote very conservatively. Netanyahu loves it. The Non-Jews? Well, they don’t get to vote. Because they are not Jewish. Also, the “not required” to serve in the military line is simply a dishonest way of noting “not allowed” except in the “minority units.”

    Jews predated Arabs in the region by many thousands of years.

    Perhaps you might want to read the Jewish Bible. The Israelites never entered a territory that wasn’t already inhabited by other people. Not once. The Canaanites must always leave or die. God says so. (well, one side’s God).

    They were driven out of Medina by Mohammed, and subjugated by the Arabs in their homeland, but Israel was their own Holy Land.

    The Jews were last expelled from Palestine by the Romans (roughly six hundred years before Islam). Before that, they were expelled by Babylon. And of course there is the “exodus” to and from Egypt that appears to be nothing more than an invention- at least as far as scientists can tell. Perhaps the Arab blaming on that count should stop.

    The African continent was colonized by foreign invaders who conquered its people, took its resources, and withheld most rights from its people.

    That sounds an awful lot like the founding of Israel in 1948.

    I forgot to mention that, unfortunately for Israel, Arab Muslims have a far higher birthrate than Jewish Israelis. They are projected to become a majority by 2048. This is problematic for a country that is the Jewish Homeland.

    That’s not really a problem at all… except for Jewish Supremacists.

  4. po

    You make some good points. However, you and all the rest of those that attack liberals as the only ones that condone these travesties are 180 degrees off the mark. Both right wing, left wing, libertarian, and pretty much every perspective in the West condones Israel’s bigotry and racism. Israel may be a once persecuted whipping boy of Christianity that now wields the whip itself but it is our once persecuted whipping boy of Christianity that now wields the whip. The world does much better both morally, economically, as well as regarding peace under liberal governments than under conservative governments. The conservative government gives one the illusion that everything is as it should be. The liberal government just acknowledges the fact that we need to progress, evolve, call it what you will. It is a case of direction: conservative going backward and liberal going forward. Of course there are failures but forward is the direction of mankind be it inspired by some rinky dink god or Darwin.

    1. Isaac, you got me all wrong! I am so far from being a conservative that I can only call myself a liberal.
      In fact, I have now come to no longer call myself a liberal because the liberals are becoming more and fundamentalist, and I am not sure what being a liberal means anymore.
      But my view of everything is live and let live, even the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
      Matter of act, i have always voted Democrat and Green party…so I do agree with your view above, wholeheartedly…less the first sentence obviously 🙂

  5. I saw the Jombolaya Mass in Frisco. It was horrendous. All these Muslims en mass to thwart the invasion of Hawaiians coming in from Hawaii. And when I was in Palestine the folks who call themselves Palestinians were then calling themselves Jordanians. Since then their border got moved across some river called Jordan and they are under occupation because their government (Jordan) invaded Israel in the six day war. The Jordanians lost the war and lost some territory so that the Israeli defenses would be more secure in the next invasion attempt. So the Jordanians cross dressed over to being Palestinians. Many are bent.

  6. As you may have noticed, karen, I varied my sources, let me know if you still want solely Israeli sources that counter your arguments, i’ll gladly oblige.
    The Nobel Prize of Literature Jose Saramago compares the suffering of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation as the same suffering of the jews in the Nazi boot camps.

    “The repression from Israel is the worst form of Apartheid. Nobody has the faintest idea of what is going on here, even the best informed people. Everything is in pieces, the land is destroyed and nothing else may be planted. All this smells like a boot camp, like Auschwitz. The israeli have turned into NAZI JEWS” , he declared after a visit to Palestina in March, 2002.

    Zionist terror attacks before any ‘State of Israel’ existed

    During the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine against the British Mandate of Palestine the militant Zionist group the Irgun carried out sixty attacks against Arabs and British soldiers.[1] Irgun was described as a terrorist organization byThe New York Times,[2][3] the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry,[4] prominent world figures such as Winston Churchill[5] and Jewish figures such as Hannah Arendt, Albert Einstein, and many others.[6] The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs describes it as “an underground organization.”[7] The New York Times at the time cited sources in an investigative piece which linked the Haganah paramilitary group to the Irgun terrorist attacks such as the King David Hotel Bombing.[8]

    Irgun launched a series of attacks which lasted until the beginning of World War II. All told, Irgun attacks against Arab targets resulted in at least 250 Arab deaths during this period. Following is a list of attacks resulting in death attributed to Irgun that took place during the 1930s. The Irgun conducted at least 60 operations altogether during this period.[9][10][11]

    The following list of massacres is by no means exclusive, but they reflect the nature of the Zionist occupation of Palestine and Lebanon and show that massacres and expulsions were not aberrations that happen in any war, but organized atrocities with only one aim, that is to have a Zionist state which is ‘goyim rein’.

    The King David Massacre
    The Massacre at Baldat al-Shaikh
    Yehida Massacre
    Khisas Massacre
    The Semiramis Hotel Massacre
    The Massacre at Dair Yasin
    Salha Massacre
    The Massacre at Qibya
    Khan Yunis Massacre
    The Massacre in Gaza City
    Al-Sammou’ Massacre
    Aitharoun Massacre
    Kawnin Massacre
    Hanin Massacre
    Bint Jbeil Massacre
    Abbasieh Massacre
    Adloun Massacre
    Saida Massacre
    Fakhani Massacre
    Beirut Massacre Sabra And Shatila Massacre
    Jibsheet Massacre
    Sohmor Massacre
    Seer Al Garbiah
    Maaraka Massacres
    Zrariah Massacre
    Homeen Al-Tahta Massacre
    Jibaa Massacre
    Yohmor Massacre
    Tiri massacre
    Al-Naher Al-Bared Massacre
    Ain Al-Hilweh Massacre
    Oyoun Qara Massacre
    Siddiqine Massacre
    A-Aqsa Mosqie Massacre
    The Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre
    The Jabalia Massacre
    Aramta Massacre
    Eretz Checkpoint Massacre
    Deir Al-Zahrani Massacre
    Nabatiyeh (school bus) Massacre
    Mnsuriah Massacre
    The Sohmor Second Massacre
    Nabatyaih Massacre
    Qana Massacre
    Trqumia Massacr
    Janta Massacre
    24 Of June 1999 Massacres
    Western Bekaa villages Massacre:
    The Gaza Cast Lead Massacre (2008-2009)
    The Mavi Marmara Massacre May 31, 2010
    The Nakba Day Massacre May 15, 2011
    The ongoing Silent or Silenced Massacre
    The June 5 2011 Naksa Day Massacre


  7. As for your rewriting of history, karen…
    Why is the Canadian Media
    Ignoring Evidence of 1948 Massacres?

    Dan Freeman-Maloy

    The better part of a decade ago, I described the Toronto Star’s Mitch Potter as “a canary in the mineshaft of liberal Canadian racism.” A piece on 1948 Palestine published in a recent edition of the Toronto Star[1] shows the canary very close to asphyxiating.

    Since Potter insists he was within his rights to describe Palestinian fighters in Gaza as “lemming-like,” he’ll surely forgive the metaphor.

    The article, entitled “The Toronto man who saved Nazareth,” celebrates the heritage of Ben Dunkelman, the most prominent Canadian to travel to 1948 Palestine to support the Zionist war effort. In more than 2500 words spread across the Star’s “Insight” section, Potter and his editors transform this Canadian’s role in occupying Palestinian communities into fodder for patriotism. “What he did was bring his hard-earned Canadian military professionalism to help organize a chaotic fighting force and help set down the rules of engagement,” the Star quotes one of a number of friendly sources as explaining. “And that included saying, ‘No, we will not expel civilians.’”

    The record of this “gentle giant of a man,” as Potter introduces Dunkelman, is well documented. The son of the founder of Ontario retail giant Tip Top Tailors and a veteran of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, Dunkelman was not an obscure figure. In Canada, he was an eminent member of the country’s community of patriotic respectables. In Palestine, he was a participant in the mass expulsion of Palestinians from the Galilee, commanding troops who repeatedly massacred civilians.

    Dunkelman’s record of Canadian patriotism and Zionist colonization has long made for a popular sell. He has been happily remembered as “a Canadian and Israeli war hero,” as the Globe and Mail once described him.[2] His basic character should be apparent to anyone who picks up his autobiography, Dual Allegiance. Potter’s latest for the Star pines over lost pages of this book without conveying to readers its utterly thuggish tone. The first five pages, to give you a sense, move from a description of a fight Dunkelman picked with a Palestinian (“Kneeling astride him, I began hitting him again and again, until his body went limp”) to boyhood reminiscences that feature a young Dunkelman in Toronto, soon to enroll in Upper Canada College, “waving a little Union Jack.”[3] A lovely patriotic tale.

    In Palestine, Dunkelman did not stop at beating Palestinians with his fists. In the summer and autumn of 1948, he served as commander of the Seventh (Armoured) Brigade of the newly established Israel Defence Forces (IDF). This is a representative sample of how Potter now presents this history to the Star’s readership: “Named to lead Israel’s 7th Brigade in the final phase of the 1948 war, Dunkelman pushed methodically – and almost bloodlessly – through the Galilee with a series of nighttime flanking movements, eventually ending at the Litani River in Lebanon. He quite literally shaped borders, delivering territory Israel might not otherwise hold today.”


    One of the Seventh Brigade’s “nighttime flanking movements,” on October 29-30, 1948, brought the Palestinian village of Safsaf under Dunkelman’s command. A Palestinian woman from Safsaf, Umm Shahadah al-Salih, described what happened the next morning. Villagers were ordered to assemble in file around two houses to the north of the village. “As we lined up, a few Jewish soldiers ordered four girls to accompany them to carry water for the soldiers. Instead, they took them to our empty houses and raped them. About 70 of our men were blindfolded and shot to death, one after the other, in front of us. The soldiers took their bodies and threw them on the cement covering of the village’s spring and dumped sand on them.”[4]

    If Potter’s editors can cough up subway fare to Yonge and Bloor, he can read this and other accounts for free at the local library, in Nafez Nazzal’s The Palestinian Exodus from Galilee, 1948. The Seventh Brigade’s trail of death, destruction, and mass displacement of Palestinians from the Galilee into Lebanon is detailed authoritatively by Nazzal.

    But right, this is a Canadian discussion of Palestine. Surely, Palestinians can’t be trusted! Unfortunately for Potter and the Star, more than mistrust of Palestinian testimony would be needed to make their whitewashing of these massacres halfway credible. In 1978, the year that Nazzal’s study was published, Israel began declassifying documents on these events. The Israeli record tells much the same story.

    Israel Galili had been chief of staff of the Haganah, the main precursor to the IDF. In a declassified November 11, 1948 briefing cited by Israeli historian Benny Morris, Galili described the conduct of Dunkelman’s men in Safsaf. He spoke of the fate of “52 men tied with a rope and dropped into a well and shot,” and of three cases of rape, including of a fourteen-year-old girl. He also described large-scale killing of civilians by the Seventh Brigade in the villages of Saliha, Jish, and Sa‘sa‘. In Sa‘sa‘, Galili said, Dunkelman’s troops committed “mass murder” and then forced all remaining survivors out: “The whole village was expelled.”[5]

    Palestinian witnesses recount the most horrifying details. One survivor of the occupation of Safsaf recalled the stabbing of a pregnant woman with a bayonet. The witness lived out his life in the Ayn Al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon; his testimony was kept alive by his nephew and cited in Ilan Pappé’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.[6] In his memoirs, Dunkelman admits to authorizing looting by his forces,[7] but predictably does not discuss most abuses. He does, however, proudly relate how one of his units set a landmark in the summer of 1948 with “the first bayonet charge ever mounted by the Israeli Army.” Facing an Arab position in the central Galilee, the company commander “ordered his men to fix bayonets; then, yelling like banshees, they rushed the Arab positions. When the astonished Arabs saw what was coming up the hill at them, they kicked off their boots and fled in terror.”[8]

    We don’t know much about specific atrocities with bayonets. We do know that that Operation Hiram, during which Dunkelman’s troops carried out severe atrocities, helped push Palestinians out of the Upper Galilee en masse. On October 31, Dunkelman received an order from the IDF’s northern command spelling out this objective: “The inhabitants should be assisted to leave the conquered areas,” Dunkelman was instructed.[9] Here massacres by Dunkelman’s troops played their part. “What happened at Safsaf and Jish no doubt reached the villagers of Ras al Ahmar, `Alma, Deishum and al Malikiya hours before the Seventh Brigade’s columns,” writes Morris. “These villages, apart from `Alma, seem to have been completely or largely empty when the IDF arrived.”[10] A week and a half into November 1948, an IDF intelligence report observed that “more than 50,000 new refugees” had crossed the border into Lebanon as a result of Operation Hiram.[11]

    Dunkelman – cue Potter’s praise – did not order expulsions in every Palestinian community that his forces occupied. He specifically opposed the (widespread) expulsion of Palestinian Christians by Israeli forces.[12] When in July 1948 his troops occupied one of the main Christian centres in Palestine, the city of Nazareth, he spared it the harsher treatment he accorded to predominantly Muslim villages in its vicinity. Potter is effusive with praise! He laments to the Star’s readership that Dunkelman “won no medals for refusing to molest civilians” in Nazareth, but takes the opportunity to trumpet Canadian civility: “Transpose that morality to the modern era and imagine how the U.S. military interrogations at Abu Ghraib might have played out with a Dunkelman in command.” If those held at gunpoint were Muslims? Should we really follow this thread? “In many of the Palestinian oral histories that have now come to the fore,” observes Ilan Pappé, “few brigade names appear. However, Brigade Seven is mentioned again and again, together with such adjectives as ‘terrorist’ and ‘barbarous.’”[13]

    Israel has not declassified enough documentation for us to know for certain whether Dunkelman ordered his troops to massacre Palestinian civilians in line with instructions from higher-level IDF officers, took the initiative himself, or left the details to lower levels of command. But there is no record of him taking any action to discipline the culprits. By all accepted standards, he is therefore among them. Only the best liberal patriots want to award war criminals prizes for each possible war crime they didn’t commit.

    Introducing a co-edited volume entitled Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory, Lila Abu-Lughod and Ahmad Sa’di explore the challenges of asserting Palestinian memory “under the conditions of its silencing by the thundering story of Zionism.”[14] Engaging with 1948 as a landmark of enduring trauma, both individual and collective, may not be simple. But one can imagine an alternate universe in which Canadian journalists made a respectable effort. In which some attempt was made to look to the kind of work assembled by Abu-Lughod and Sa’di, to consider the recorded memories of those whose lives were uprooted by Dunkelman’s troops, to bring their experiences into this history.

    Instead, the Star basks in patriotic self-satisfaction and ignores the evidence.

    This is not just a question of professional standards, or of historical accuracy. As Abu-Lughod and Sa’di argue, “the Nakba is not over yet.”[15] It was Israel’s current defence minister, Moshe Ya’alon, who described Israel’s twenty-first century assaults on the Palestinians as “the second half of 1948.”[16] How this war is represented abroad can affect its continuation into the present. I haven’t paid much attention to Potter’s work since his distortions of Israel’s 2006 assaults on Gaza and Lebanon. But it seems he’s decided to whitewash past and present attacks on the Palestinians in much the same spirit.

    People in Canada need to demand better. In the coming period, we will have to face the fact that the end of the Harper years did not spell an end to Canadian support for Israel’s perpetual warfare against the Palestinian people. The liberal patriotic impulse is to bury this problem in comforting myths: to pretend that even in its support for Israel, Canadian liberalism shines. This requires nothing less than falsification of the record. An open discussion of the realities of Palestine will raise troubling questions about local burdens of responsibility. If this is what drives so many opinion-makers to avoid it, it is also what makes it urgent. •

    Dan Freeman-Maloy is an activist and writer based in Montreal. For a more detailed review of the record of Western recruits in 1948 Palestine, see this article of his from the Journal of Palestine Studies.

  8. And this, Karen:
    In Israel, Racism Is The Law

    Successive Israeli governments since 1948 are responsible for the institutionalised discrimination against Palestinians.

    By Ben White
    February 26, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – “Al Jazeera” – On January 3, two Palestinians were removed from an Aegean Airlines flight from Athens to Tel Aviv, after Jewish Israelis claimed that they constituted a “security risk”. The incident made headlines worldwide. A month later, a Tel Aviv-based cleaning company sparked outrage with a flyer that priced its staff based on ethnicity. The story was also covered around the world.

    For some, these kinds of episodes are proof of the racism that critics claim permeates Israeli society; for others, they are examples of isolated bigotry and idiocy. In fact, neither interpretation is quite right. While stories resonate and go viral, they can mask the fact that in Israel racism is the law.

    First, inequality in Israel is institutionalised. Contrary to a widely held perception, there is no guarantee of full equality for Jewish and Palestinian citizens; as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel put it, “the right to equality is not yet enshrined in law regarding most aspects of life.”

    “Equality cannot be recognised on the constitutional level,” wrote legal academic Aeyal Gross, since that would challenge “the inequality created by the complete identification of the state with only one group.”

    The nearest that Israel’s foundational legislation comes to a specific commitment to equality is Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, adopted in 1992 – Israel does not have a formal, written constitution but a number of “Basic Laws” passed over the years deal with key issues.

    Yet even here, equality is not “recognised as an independent right that stands on its own”. In fact, just in the past month, the Knesset voted against a draft bill that called for the inclusion of an equality clause in Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.

    Furthermore, the Basic Law allows for rights to be violated “by a law befitting the values of the State of Israel”, a caveat that provides a basis “for giving significant weight to the nature of Israel as a Jewish state and its goals, at the expense of the fundamental rights concerned”.

    In the words of former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak: “Israel is different from other countries. It is not only a democratic state, but also a Jewish state.” In other words, Israel is not a state of all its citizens, something freely admitted by senior officials.

    Second, Palestinian citizens of Israel face systematic discrimination in law and policy – as these examples in land and housing, family life, and immigration demonstrate.

    In 43 percent of Israeli towns, residential admission committees filter out applicants on the grounds of “incompatibility with the social and cultural fabric”. These committees, which operate by law, are “used to exclude Arabs from living in rural Jewish communities”, as Human Rights Watch has noted.

    In 2014, the Supreme Court rejected a petition against the committees, a ruling slammed for having legalised “the principle of segregation in housing”. These small communities also “exercise control over a significant amount of land” through the regional councils of which they are part.

    Palestinian citizens also face discrimination when it comes to family life. The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, first adopted in 2003 (PDF), “imposes severe restrictions on the right of Israeli citizens … to apply for permits for their Palestinian spouses and children from the Occupied Palestinian Territory to enter and reside in Israel for purposes of family unification”.

    This law, which has the effect of dividing Palestinian families and separating spouses, has been described by a senior European Union official as establishing “a discriminatory regime to the detriment of Palestinians in the highly sensitive area of family rights”.

    Israel’s Supreme Court upheld the law in 2012, stating (PDF): “human rights are not a prescription for national suicide”, putting its stamp of approval – not for the first time – on a “racist law”.

    For the former Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, the law was about “demographics”. “There is no need to hide behind security arguments,” he admitted. “There is a need for the existence of a Jewish state.”

    While Palestinian citizens of Israel suffer under restrictions on family unification, Jewish citizens benefit from Israel’s discriminatory immigration laws.

    Israel’s Law of Return, Absentee Property Law, and the Citizenship Law, passed in 1948-1950, created a reality whereby any Jew in the world can move to Israel and claim citizenship, while expelled Palestinian refugees were stripped of citizenship and are still unable to return.

    Israel’s law “creates three tracks of naturalisation”: the highest track for Jews, a second track “for non-Jewish foreigners, who can apply for Israeli residency status through a process of individualised interviews and background checks”, and the lowest track for “Palestinian/Arab/Muslim spouses of Palestinian citizens of Israel who are prohibited from entry for the purpose of family unification”.

    Third, 4.5 million Palestinians live under an Israeli military regime in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, an occupation that has lasted for 49 of the state’s 68-year history. In other words, one in three of the population in territory under Israel’s control is not a citizen and is subject to military, not civil, law.

    It is important to remember that the territory occupied by Israel since 1967 is not, in practice, distinct from the rest of the state: land has been expropriated, 600,000 Jewish Israelis live in more than 200 colonies, natural resources are exploited, and basic infrastructure – water, telecommunications, transport – all bind the West Bank to pre-1967 territory.

    The Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, under military rule within this de facto single state, are subjected to severe policies of discrimination and segregation, as well as military brutality and repression. This is no secret: as Human Rights Watch stated in 2010.

    “Palestinians face systematic discrimination merely because of their race, ethnicity, and national origin, depriving them of electricity, water, schools, and access to roads, while nearby Jewish settlers enjoy all of these state-provided benefits.”

    To enforce this “two-tier system”, the Israeli military conducts nightly raids, detains Palestinians without trial or charge, tortures detainees, and represses any kind of resistance – including unarmed protests – with lethal violence.

    Who is responsible for all of the above – for the institutionalised discrimination, the racist laws, and military rule over 4.5 million Palestinians? Successive Israeli governments since 1948.

    The crude racism of private individuals – whether on a Greek plane or at a Tel Aviv cleaning company – might get the headlines, but it is the Israeli state and its institutions that created and perpetuates the colonial status quo, and which must be held to account.”

    Ben White is a freelance journalist, writer and activist, specialising in Palestine/Israel.

  9. Karen

    My point, which you missed, is that the degree of ‘wrong’ as perceived by the boycotting group, be it a local group, a local government, a state government, or the nation’s government typically determines the outcome. Case in point, with South Africa the degree of wrong was vastly greater than that of Israel, regardless of one’s perception of Israel. Individuals, then corporations, then institutions, then state, provincial, and other local governments, then nation’s governments boycotted South Africa as the situation escalated and the public perception of the situation sharpened. This is human nature. A similar situation can be seen with Apple vrs the government regarding hacking their sacred iPhone. Apple prevailed recently when at issue was a drug bust. Apple may or may not prevail in the circumstances surrounding the terrorist attack in California. Apple would have had no legs to stand on if the issue was 9/11. The law(s) remain the same. The issues of these or those rights of privacy and/or proprietary rights remain the same. The determining factor is the gravity of the situation. In the interim it is so much legal mumbo jumbo. Apple is wrong. Israel is wrong. How wrong is a matter of perception combined with the incident(s).

  10. I forgot to mention that, unfortunately for Israel, Arab Muslims have a far higher birthrate than Jewish Israelis. They are projected to become a majority by 2048. This is problematic for a country that is the Jewish Homeland.

    The behavior of every single other country in the Middle East can accurately predict what will happen when that majority nears. It will become another Muslim theocracy, where women are subjugated and apostates are killed. And for a while its people will remember what it used to be like to be free.

    1. Karen writes, “I forgot to mention that, unfortunately for Israel, Arab Muslims have a far higher birthrate than Jewish Israelis. They are projected to become a majority by 2048. This is problematic for a country that is the Jewish Homeland.
      The behavior of every single other country in the Middle East can accurately predict what will happen when that majority nears. It will become another Muslim theocracy, where women are subjugated and apostates are killed. And for a while its people will remember what it used to be like to be free.”

      Just what business is it of ours unless we’re on the Starship Enterprise. Since the second decade of the 20th Century, the only reason the West has been involved was control of the oil fields. Don’t start that holier than thou rhetoric about how bad the Arabs are.

    2. Karen, I will use the writings of Israeli Jews, and solely of Israeli Jews to undermine the points you made. Not only are those points racist lies, as usual, they are also the same rhetoric advanced by bibi to insure Israel remains an apartheid state at best, and at worse, remains the same occupying power that keeps killing Palestinian men, women and children daily.
      If you start rewriting history, you will unavoidably reach a failed conclusion, but that is your aim anyway, this time, every time.
      Why I had to leave Israel’s Foreign Ministry
      As a former Israeli ambassador, I never expected just how badly the country’s situation would deteriorate.

      By Ilan Baruch
      It has been five years since I breathed a sigh of relief and left Israel’s Foreign Ministry building. No more would I represent the Netanyahu government’s hasbara as a diplomat and attorney. In my farewell letter to the Ministry I wrote: “The government leaders have endorsed policies that outrage me… I have a hard time explaining them honestly.” I did not expect that after five years, over the course of which we faced two wars and two elections, Israel’s situation would deteriorate beyond recognition.

      Not only did the prime minister ridicule his constituents and the world in his famous Bar Ilan speech: the vision of “two states for two people” was never really on his agenda. Netanyahu is pushing Israeli democracy to the brink. Equality, freedom of speech, and human dignity — the cornerstones of any democracy — are not part of Netanyahu or his ministers’ agenda. This is the most right-wing government in the country’s history, which has no qualms about taking tactical and strategic steps in the media, education, and culture in order to ensure Netanyahu’s permanent rule. To do that, the government sows racist divisions, silences, fear-mongers, slanders and preaches hatred for the Other — be they Arab citizens of Israel, Palestinians, African refugees, or human rights activists.

      I also wrote: “The paternalistic image of Israel as the front in a global intercultural and inter-religious confrontation is dangerous in my opinion. Viewing the international community’s opposition to the occupation as anti-Semitic is simplistic, naive, and superficial… experience shows that this current will not change until we settle our relations with the Palestinians.” Half a decade later and the Netanyahu government has only strengthened the connection between disproportional verbal and physical violence on the one hand, and cynical hasbara messaging and fear-mongering propaganda mixed with false narratives on the other.

      We need a new initiative

      And now what? Seventy years have passed since the end of the Second World War and the Holocaust, since Western powers recognized Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and gave their word to ensure it would remain secure and flourish. German reparations for the Holocaust, French aid in establishing the nuclear plant in Dimona, strategic backing from the United States are underpinned by a moral imperative: atonement for abandoning the Jewish people during the Holocaust. Those who survived are dying, and our post-Holocaust immunity is slowly disappearing. Auschwitz-Birkenau is turning from a death camp into a monument — from hell on earth into a narrative of hell.

      The West sees the future of the Jewish people as tied to its unequivocal opposition to denying the Palestinians the right to establish a sovereign state on its land, with peaceful, secure relations between Israel and Palestine. The West maintains its opposition to the occupation, which is viewed as foolish from a political/security standpoint, as well as moral injustice. After half a century, the apartheid of occupation is boiling over into Israel.

      We must recognize the fact that the 21st century encompasses the West’s fading axiomatic commitment to the Jewish people’s security and flourishing in its homeland. Meanwhile, the Middle East is quickly falling apart. Israel and the Jewish people must take advantage of the limited time available to ensure that Israel becomes a sustainable, democratic state. Otherwise, we will have abdicated our moral goal. Jerusalem under a right-wing government is a failure. Without a historic reconciliation with the Palestinians, its existential immunity will be shrouded in doubt. Without a political resolution based on mutual recognition of a peace deal, there is no chance for a reconciliation that will guarantee our existence.

      Thus, we must come up with a new political initiative that will fundamentally alter the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians in order to ensure our security and welfare alongside an independent Palestine. Western powers must formulate a new paradigm, in accordance with the security guarantees that the U.S., Germany, and Western Europe give Israel, and which will apply to the Palestinian state in accordance with the motto of “two states for two peoples.”

      Ilan Baruch is the chairman of the Peace NGOs Forum and the former Ambassador of Israel to South Africa. This article first appeared in Hebrew on Local Call.http://972mag.com/why-i-had-to-leave-israels-foreign-ministry/117369/

  11. Darren – thank you for the article. You raised some points I was not aware of, or had not considered.

    Isaac – Also, in regards to “aparatheid” Israel, the difference in rights between Palestinians and Jewish Israelis, is that the Palestinians are not required to serve in the Israeli army. Other than that, they can vote, own property, and hold office. The Arab language is one of the official languages of Israel. Unlike most of the ME, Arab women are allowed to vote and be educated in Israel. The Arab permanent residents who were living in area annexed after the 6 Days War were offered citizenship, but refused because they did not recognize Israel’s right to exist. Considering all of the efforts on the part of Palestinians to destroy Israel, and claim it as yet another Muslim theocracy, Israel and Arab Palestinians definitely have issues.

    Anyone familiar with apartheid in South Africa would not find it similar. The African continent was colonized by foreign invaders who conquered its people, took its resources, and withheld most rights from its people. Jews predated Arabs in the region by many thousands of years. They were driven out of Medina by Mohammed, and subjugated by the Arabs in their homeland, but Israel was their own Holy Land.

    Compare and contrast with the treatment of Jews in various Muslim theocracies. They are granted Dhimmis (limited protection), as long as they acknowledge the superiority of Islam, in some cases pay an annual tax (jizya), are forbidden upon pain of death to criticize the Qu’ran or Islam while Muslims are free to mock and criticize them, they must not proselytize, cannot bear arms, or be represented in government. If they get a divorce and the man converts to Islam, he can take their children. Many face restrictions or great difficulty building churches, if they are allowed to at all. (Recall the Persian pastor imprisoned in Iran.) They are viewed both legally and socially as inferior. Saudi Arabia completely bars them from entry. So they are a conquered people, given limited to no rights, can be killed for their faith, and are treated as inferior. That would be a more similar comparison with apartheid.

  12. @Darren

    You’re right! Plus, there ain’t no such thing as an “organization” or a “state” having an opinion. Only the human representatives of those entities can have, and can express, an opinion. If the governor of Oregon wants to boycott the State of Indiana, he will have the power of the state behind him and he will be acting in the state’s name, but the people of the Oregon may have an entirely different opinion. I bet most of them, or at least a sizable chunk believe the opposite of him.

    Allowing him to boycott Indiana, or boycott “Chick Fil A”, DEPRIVES the humans in his state from expressing their opinion. That is the opposite of free speech. That is nothing but fascism, where the ruling elite of an organization could ban commerce with Jews if they so desired.

    OTOH, people should always have the right to express their opinion through a boycott, as I do with several companies. For example, I have not purchased any Campbell soup product since they ran the self-absorbed sodomite dads commercial on TV. A shame, because I liked their tomato soup, and their pork and beans. But, they can go get their revenue now from the 2% of the population that is sexually screwed up plus those who are indifferent.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  13. Darren, a thought-provoking post. You write, “I support, in principle, legislation barring government agencies from engaging in boycotts of individuals, organizations, corporations, or other governments and states that do not engage in activities that do not violate established statutes prohibiting certain acts or omissions.”

    I generally agree with the idea that bills of attainder at the federal level and even at the state level are appropriate. However, it gives me some pause at the local level, since the degree of harm caused to a county or small incorporated city by, for instance, a raider’s fracking or other pollutant could be devastating were it not for local preemption. California is a big state and not all eyes at one end of the state are on any one county’s or city’s problems at the other end. The self-interest from government seems to be heightened at each higher level.

    And many laws as applied do cause an attainder, such as when zoning laws are used to prevent a WallMart from ruining mom and pop shops or in my neighborhood a KFC’s petition for a drive-thru in place of a portion of its parking lot being denied (which caused the business to relocate) or eminent domain being used to get rid of a business or home when this use is of little public benefit otherwise.

    I’d like to see what others are thinking on this. I’m still on the fence as to no bills of attainder across the board.

  14. Shadow

    I am with you. It is much more effective to protest against Trump by buying Trump’s products off the shelves and burning them publicly.

  15. This is another problem, same tune but with different words, that arises between the collision of the central government and local governments. One of the great accomplishments in democratic societies is to give powers to local governments. The US is perhaps the greatest example of the results of this collision, with good, bad, and indifferent results.

    From the central government’s perspective, dealing with other nations in an organized governmental manner is the domain of the central government. Ipswich does not have an ambassador to Israel but London does. However, people acting on their own morals must have the right to choose whether or not they agree with Israel and express their opinions in their own personal commercial activities. Those that agree with Israel or don’t care should not be obstructed from buying Israeli olive oil. Those that disagree with Israel should not be forced to buy Israeli olive oil. The only determining factor should be the central government’s economic and political/foreign relations determinations as is expressed by most countries in the form of sanctions or trade agreements. In this case Israeli olive oil might be cheaper and of a higher quality than others. However the price may be a result of London’s economic trade agreements with Israel which it might not have in dealing with, perhaps, Tunisia. In this case it is an issue that needs to be taken up in Parliament under the title of discrimination, etc….

    The only group effort in-between should be that composed of private citizens working lawfully to organize boycotts and private institutions. With a permit, a group should be able to express their opinions. However, that should be done within the law and without harming local businesses. The issues of groups obstructing private businesses will always be surfaced and should be dealt with through the courts. However, if enough people in Ipswich are against Israeli olive oil then a smart grocer will discontinue stocking it, ideally stocking both Israeli and other options.

    During the fall of South Africa’s apartheid system many private institutions, universities, etc refused to deal economically with South Africa’s apartheid government which had a large effect on convincing the leaders of that country to change.

    The central government must retain the official position regarding dealing with other countries. The individual should be free to choose. However, if it is the domain of the central government, the central government should and must be able to keep local governments in their proper places.

    In the end other determining factors do come into play. Israel, although its state is built upon a degree of apartheid and the subjugation of the locals who have been, continue to be, and will probably always be displaced, is now apartheid South Africa to some. However the majority of Israelis are the Jewish dominant group. The subjugation of the Palestinians does allow for Palestinians to prosper and rise, not to the top but rise, if they give up their claims to their homeland. In South Africa this was not the case. Israel is a pivotal Western ally and the West carries a history of guilt concerning the treatment of the Jews. As is mostly the case the determining factor between allowing local governments to exercise powers in dealing with foreign governments is a question of degrees. Ipswich would probably not have raised the ire of London if this had been South African wine, in 1985.

    It’s the old problem of the objectivity of the law and the peculiar issues to which it pertains.

  16. Boycotts are a valid form of political expression, but they can also be anti-free speech. When you protest and boycott a retailer until he removes from his shelves a product manufactured or endorsed by someone whose political views you disagree with, you effectively silence that person’s political speech. If the person continues to express unpopular political speech, he risks economic ruin, and so he is silenced. An insincere apology is the demanded response with an added promise to never say such a thing again. This is economically fueled political censorship, a backdoor to silencing speech, and a growing threat to open, public discourse.

    I see more and more of this, especially regarding identity politics, and its deeply troubling. I don’t like Trump. I think he’s a charlatan and a quack who moves from town to town selling elixir out of the back of a wagon. I find him vile, self-absorbed, and shallow. Yet even i cheered when he gave Macy’s and others the finger after they responded to political pressure by removing his products from their “shelves.”

  17. Whenever there is a boy on the cot in England things get dicey. Many of those politicians are perps. I think this article should include discussion about pedophile priests. In any event, I will boycott British goods. The problem is, all the goods for sale here in America are from China. All the tea in China seems to get shipped over here. Which has nothing to do with Brits being queer.

  18. Darren, did you miss a “however” in between “I do agree with his concern and objection of governments jailing individual citizens for engaging in boycotts of various entities” and “allowing local governments to enact legislation calling for boycotts themselves is problematic”.

  19. There is no real freedom of speech or association in the Eastern Side of Puget Sound (Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle and part of Everett). All Olympia (the state capital) did is putting it to writ….12 yrs ago.

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