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Knesset study: No democracy has similar anti-boycott laws

Some claim that the Israeli anti-boycott bill is similar to anti-boycott measures in other democratic countries. A Knesset fact finding commission found that there are similar anti-boycott measures in countries like Venezuela and Eritrea but could not find anything similar in another democracy.

Protest against the "Boycott Law" Tel Aviv Photo by Oren Ziv/activistills.org

Protest against the "Boycott Law" Tel Aviv Photo by Oren Ziv/activistills.org

Late yesterday evening after a marathon discussion which bordered on a filibuster, the Israeli Knesset passed the anti-Boycott bill through its final reading. The landmark bill criminalizes support of boycotts against Israel and its occupation, exposing individuals and organizations that support such boycotts to endless lawsuits and heavy fines. The anti-boycott bill is latest in a wave of pernicious legislation being debated in the Knesset which attack freedom of speech and expression, often specifically targeting Israel’s Palestinian minority.

Almost as soon as the bill passed its final reading, an American anti-boycott compliance document spread through the social media world like wildfire. Citing this document, defenders of Israel’s anti-boycott bill claimed that similar legislation had been drafted in the United States. In response to the anti-boycott bill, the oft used pro-Israel debating tacit of “if happens somewhere else in the world, then it is ok here” was deployed in full defensive force using the American document.

Reading the document, it seems clear that it has no similarity to the Israeli bill. In reference to Israel, the American document prohibits US companies from ‘furthering or supporting the boycott of Israel sponsored by the Arab League and certain Muslim countries.” Namely, the document targets countries or governments pushing a boycott of Israel. The Israeli boycott bill, on the other hand, targets civil society organizations and individuals. There is no similar law in the United States that addresses civil society boycotts against the State of Israel. Follow the highlighted link for ACRI’s in-depth report on the matter and how the laws differ. Quite simply, comparing the anti-boycott law and this American anti-boycott compliance document is akin to comparing apples and pears.

In the run up to the vote on the anti-boycott bill, a Knesset fact finding commission was created to find similar anti-boycott laws in other countries. On January 30, 2011, the commission released a small report (Heb) which found that there are no similar anti-boycott laws in democratic countries. On page 2, the report states that,

Our committee focused on reviewing similar arrangements [laws] in Europe, but we did not find arrangements in these countries that were similar to our proposed legislation

Unable to find similar anti-boycott laws in democratic countries, the commission looked for examples in countries like Venezuela, Ethiopia and Eritrea for similar laws. On page 2, the report explains its rationale,

The following survey will briefly demonstrate the main arrangements found, although in some of these cases, there are existing arrangements in countries that are not necessarily democracies/western and while normally not included in the surveys conducted by the Knesset research and information center, they have been included in order to exhibit the wide variety of actions taken in this matter.

On the surface, the Israeli anti-boycott bill is innovative in the way that it seeks to limit legitimate freedom of speech and expression under the auspices of democratic infrastructure. However, the Knesset’s own fact finding mission proves, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the bill has no parallel in other democracies. Arguing that there are similar laws in other democratic countries is simply a device used to ignore the gravity of the present Israeli law. The implications of this bill on freedom of speech and expression in Israel are profound and even the Knesset harbours no illusion that there are similar laws in other democratic countries.

Read more on the boycott law:

Why the Left shouldn’t petition the High Court against the law (Yossi Gurvitz)

Breaking: Knesset outlaws political boycott by 48 to 37 (Dimi Reider)

What is the anti-boycott law? Who does it affect? (Roi Maor)

Roger Waters speaks against boycott bill, endorses BDS (Noam Sheizaf)

Boycott: No longer taboo in progressive pro-Israel circles (Mairav Zonszein)

For additional original analysis and breaking news, visit +972 Magazine's Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Our newsletter features a comprehensive round-up of the week's events. Sign up here.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Shira

      Yes, the parallel is that the USA has anti-boycott laws:
      http://www.bis.doc.gov/complianceandenforcement/antiboycottcompliance.htm#boycottlaws

      The EU upheld a French ruling deeming it illegal and discriminatory to boycott Israeli products:
      http://www.lphr.org.uk/publications/Willem_casenote_final_24.10.09.pdf
      http://cmiskp.echr.coe.int/tkp197/view.asp?action=html&documentId=852555&portal=hbkm&source=externalbydocnumber&table=F69A27FD8FB86142BF01C1166DEA398649

      “The Court observed that the interference with the applicant’s freedom of expression had been provided for by law, being based on Articles 23 and 24 of the Press Act 1881, and that it pursued a legitimate aim, namely to protect the rights of Israeli producers.”

      Reply to Comment
    2. Shira,
      Perhaps you did not read the text as I cite the American document that you have linked here. Please reread (or just read) the piece to see my comments on your statement.

      Reply to Comment
    3. max

      @Noam, As I looked and couldn’t find it, I’d be very interested to see where ‘the document’ deals with the French case!
      .
      The ECtHR states that the French decision was legal (the French law is compliant with the EU law), does not violate the freedom of expression and the penalty was proportional to the legitimate aim pursued (by the French government).
      The French decision states that calling for a boycott of Israeli products is in violation of the rights of Israeli producers, and such an act is only within the jurisdiction of the State.
      .
      It’s probably also worth noting that the document provided by Noam seems to have been compiled based on a previous version of the bill.
      The law that passed has restrictions such as “he who causes a binding legal agreement to be breached” and leaves the decision about compensation to the courts, where – one should hope – considerations like the EU’s hint about ‘proportional’ will be observed.

      Reply to Comment
    4. The funny thing is that all of the “parallels” people are trying to point to are examples of Israel lobbies in the US and Europe managing to pass legislation that is clearly only passed due to pressure from groups like AIPAC and Crif.

      Reply to Comment
    5. max

      Sean, I’m absolutely certain that you haven’t looked at the documents, or else you’d be ashamed of your ignorance

      Reply to Comment
    6. Daniel

      To quote the article: “the oft used pro-Israel debating tacit of ‘if happens somewhere else in the world, then it is ok here’”. From this we can pretty much sum up what’s wrong with the whole way the Israeli government acts.
      The fact that someone else does something wrong, doesn’t make it alright if we do it as well (or something similar), nor is it ethical by any accepted standard. People that use this tacit simply prove that they are narrow-minded, dumb and in many cases also racist (for instance when they agree to hurting Palestinians – because the Jordanians also did it).

      Reply to Comment
    7. Empress Trudy

      this user was banned by the site’s editors

      Reply to Comment
    8. max

      Daniel, do you mind rephrasing your comment? All I could understand is that it’s dumb to use international precedence, and some unintelligible reference to Jordan.

      Reply to Comment
    9. sh

      A country forbidding its nationals to boycott the produce of another country (at a personal level, France makes this easy by scrupulously labelling all produce – in the case of its own also by region or sometimes even village – at its point of sale) is not quite the same as a country preventing its own citizens from boycotting produce from an illegally occupied area of their country if they so wish. Actually France, in accordance with EU rules (see below), itself sets OT produce apart from Israeli produce by demanding that Israel label it as such prior to shipping.

      Israel’s citizens, however, in the absence of any law obliging retailers to clearly state the provenance of local produce, are obliged to scrabble about to discover where things come from because Israel purposely muzzes the issue. And placing such information at the disposal of citizens as France and other EU countries do, has now been made a punishable offence. Gush Shalom, who ran a boycott list on their website for years, today petitioned the high court to repeal the law.

      Below an extract from instructions given to British importers on differentiating between produce coming from the Golan Heights, Gaza and the West Bank and that coming from Israel:

      “The EU has become aware that Israel was exporting to the EU as ‘Israeli’ products originating from places brought under Israeli administration since 1967. There is nothing to prevent such products being imported into the EU, but, according to the EU they should not benefit from preferential treatment under the EU/Israel Association Agreement.

      The European Commission therefore alerted importers in November 2001, through a notice in the EC Official Journal, that importers in EU countries had to take all the necessary precautions. It noted that putting into circulation goods produced in Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories risked giving rise to a customs debt, ie that importers might have to pay national customs authorities the difference between the EU/Israel Association Agreement’s preferential rate and the standard rate. This made clear that the onus was on importers in EU countries to take steps to establish whether the products involved were entitled to benefit from the EU’s preferential tarriff rates.

      There is a separate issue concerning the requirements under EC law for stating the origin of products on retail labels. This is important, both to provide a level playing field in trade across the Community and to provide information to consumers on the origin of products. The laws covering the labelling of fresh fruit and vegetables differ slightly from those for other products – an origin must be indicated on the package at all stages of distribution as well as at the retail point. But for both fruit and vegetables and for other products the broad purpose of EC labelling rules is to avoid misleading the consumer. Under EC law, the origin of a product for retail labelling purposes can be given as a region or other geographical indication that does not equate to a country or state, provided that the meaning is clear to the consumer. For certain goods this will be in addition to stating the country of origin.

      In addition to horticultural produce, there are also special rules as to labelling of origin which apply in some other sectoral areas eg wine; beef; poultrymeat. The retailer has a responsibility to ensure that the relevant laws are complied with and, as necessary, to take legal advice on issues arising.”
      http://rpa.gov.uk/rpa/index.nsf/vContentByTaxonomy/63A2B37A3EAD0FE08025713B005430CA?OpenDocument

      Reply to Comment
    10. @Max

      the article in the Hebrew doc is not directly on the french case but on the legal pretext for the ruling there (see bottom of page 6). This is the “freedom of trade” reasons to oppose boycott which is obviously different from the Israeli law.
      Note that the French case wasn’t about the settlements – “boycotting” them is legally recognized, even required, by the EU.

      Regarding your second comment, the bill is actually more far-reaching in some ways than its first draft. to be honest, I was kind of surprised it passed a Knesset vote – Even this Knesset.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Why is such a study even necessary? Would it make it okay to pass this law if another flawed democracy passed it before? Why does Israel constantly try to see if others have done the same to justify its actions? I thought we were trying to be Light Upon the Nations in here, not their shadow…

      Reply to Comment
    12. sh

      Sorry for the long post above. Just wanted to say that I agree with Daniel. Instead of pointing at another country guilty of the same or even more unethical behaviour in justification of our own, we could be setting an example of ethical behaviour ourselves….

      Reply to Comment
    13. Tactical Nuclear Housecat

      Few other countries are confronted with what can only be described as economic terrorism against a selected minority of their population by virtue of their religion and/or where they live.

      None the less a government’s job is to protect all its citizens, not just the ones you approve of. Any other nation on earth, more or less would enact laws to stop external discrimination of some of it citizens just because of where they live.

      It would be as if the US government decided that Mexican drug cartels could kill a ‘few’ Americans who live near the border. Or if Venezuela decided that Americans buying Citgo gasoline had to prove they weren’t Jews first.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Hebrew Slave

      I wonder what the Israeli BDS people would feel about using any of the Leviathan Gas find since according to the Arabs all of it belongs to them. Can you boycott your own electricity? Should you?

      Reply to Comment
    15. max

      There’s a mix-up of topics and out of context facts.
      France labels its products not to allow people to boycott by village but because they’re proud of the difference in taste. It also allows them – Italians and others do the same – to sue others who use similar labels; you don’t want to buy Foie Gras that hasn’t come from the Land of Cyrano! Mentioning this practice in our context is clearly misleading.
      .
      Referring to laws in other (democratic) countries is a corner stone in modern legal systems and a must for the international one. Denying this on pretext that it doesn’t fit with one’s view of what’s moral is pretentious and ridiculous.
      .
      The EU doesn’t require boycotting the settlement’s products – this is patently false. It requires Israel to label the origin for tax reasons, as it doesn’t recognize the settlements as part of Israel; the legal system in Israel agrees with this distinction (i.e. the WB isn’t part of Israel, despite what many in Israel hope would happen in the future).
      .
      I’m not familiar with an Israeli national goal of becoming an example to the world… Nevertheless, I’d be interested in an example of another democracy behaving better in times of war, the ugly occupation notwithstanding.
      .
      It would be nice if instead of political declarations we could read here what the core legal issues referred to by the Knesset’s legal team are.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Deïr Yassin

      Shira links to a analysis of a French court decision, the “famous Willem vs France”, and writes “The EU upheld a French ruling deeming it illegal and discrimonatory to boycott Israeli products”.
      This is simply NOT true, but then I guess Shira counts on people not knowing neither this case nor France and not reading the link.
      It’s absolutely not illegal in France to boycott Israeli products.
      Firstly, there is a difference in France between ‘boycott’ and ‘public incitement to boycott’, and Willem was sentenced as the elected mayor of a town where he advocated the boycott of Israeli products in the public school system’s canteens.
      One other French BDS activist, Mme Sakina Arnaud, has been sentenced to a 1000 Euros fine in February 2010 – sued by Carrefour, a huge supermarket, and the usual pro-Israeli organizations, the local AIPAC (CRIF) and other Likudnik-supporters – for ‘light degradations of products’ during a BDS campaign in the supermarket.

      Lots of water have run under the bridge in France since the famous Willem ve France case back in 2009 and the times are a-changing and on Friday 8th while in Roissy-Charles de Gaulle as part of the “Welcome to Palestine”-Mission, Olivia Zemor had news of her acquittal for ‘incitement to boycott based on racial, religious or ethnic origin’ by the High Court of Paris. The hearing on June 17th lasted for 9 hours !
      The Judges made their decision, expressing “the fundamental right of freedom of expression and calling for a boycott as an integral part of that freedom of expression”.
      The case is still so new and I didn’t find any link in English, so here are two articles (in French) from a French pro-Palestinian organization and a Likudnik pro-Israeli lobby – just to show that I’m not lying:

      http://www.france-palestine.org/article17842.html

      http://www.upjf.org/fr/4135-scandaleux–la-17eme-correctionnelle-du-tribunal-de-paris-a-relaxe-olivia-zemor.html

      Reply to Comment
    17. Deïr Yassin

      I forgot to mention concerning France:
      One of the major activities of the BDS movement actually is visiting supermarkets and controlling that products are correctly labelled which is very often NOT the case. Products from the OT are labelled “Made in Israel” and Israeli product from within the Green Line often labeled “Made in Spain” etc. SodeStream, branded “Made in Israel” but produced in a West Bank settlement was banned from a major public event in Paris but only after many meeting with local politicians.

      Product labeled “Made in Israel” are often produced in the settlements, but also in the refugees camps in the West Bank:
      From min 3:40, you clearly see the label at min 4:28 (sorry, in Arabic, French subtitles, but the eyes are enough to undertstand):
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8UZZcxjAno

      Reply to Comment
    18. max

      Here’s the relevant summary for those who follow neither Arabic nor French:
      since 2006 the Palestinians in (I assume Asker or Balata near) Nablus have no more jobs. Some subsist on low fare work provided by Israeli companies that outsource their manual work – the work in Israel will cost 3 times more [they compete with Turkish, Indian and Chinese workforce – Max].
      Why did this happen? According to the younger guy, it’s Hamas’ fault – they bombed and money stopped flowing; according to the older guy, it’s Israel’s fault – “it’s all politics”.
      A good reportage: the misery is real, the “full Palestine” map is there, and a balanced explanation.
      .
      I guess that Dear Yassin’s point is that outsourcing is unethical and the Palestinians should be left on UNRWA’s dole, since the PA can’t provide support and Israeli real business left the place.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Woody

      @Shira. The USA boycott law is totally different than Israel’s:

      1. US legislation bans only participation in boycott, the Israeli legislation bans also calls for boycott.
      2. US legislation only restricts participation in a boycott initiated by a foreign government; Israeli legislation restricts all boycotts of Israel and the settlements.,
      3. In the US, the federal government is the sole body charged with enforcing the law, and there is no opening for the intervening action of private bodies.
      4. US law grants special protection to the boycott as an expression of conscience; the Israeli law not only does not protect it as an expression, but now formally says that boycott is a non-legitimate expression (only when it is a call for boycott of Israel or a territory under the control of Israel) .
      5. The wording of the Israeli law is so vague that it could apply to any boycott of any Israeli citizen or body for almost any reason. And as such causes a “chilling effect” on all boycotts, and on freedom of speech
      (http://www.acri.org.il/en/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Comparative-US-Israel-boycott-ENG.pdf)

      You only have to read a few lines of the EU/France case and the USA anti-boycott law to see the relevant differences Those are all CRIMINAL law. The Israeli law is a TORT, that is civil law. In addition, it is a TORT law that provides no need for DAMAGES! To most lawyers that would seem insane! (I will discuss in separate post)

      Reply to Comment
    20. Deïr Yassin

      @ Max
      “I guess that DY’s point is that outsourcing is unethical”
      You’re trying to ‘drown the fish’, right ? That was not at all the point in this video, and I don’t expect anything ethical from the State of Israel as far as the Palestinians – on both sides of the Green Line – is concerned, frankly.

      It’s not only unethical – which is a subjective opinion – it is ILLEGAL to outsource the Israeli production to the OT, and exporting it, labeled “Made in Israel”. You did understand that, didn’t you ?

      Here a Dutch award-winng documentary from 2009 “Seeds of Hope” in English. It’s a must for all trade unionists and people who haven’t made up their mind on the BDS of Israeli goods from within the Green Line. This is the ultra-liberalistic nightmare, combined with pure colonialism and ecological disasters three-in-one.

      It’ s a long documentary, keep it for a rainy day.
      http://www.march21.nl/video_seedsofpeace/

      Reply to Comment
    21. max

      @Woody, since you know so much, why don’t you point us to the text of the law and highlight the points you just described?
      Once you’ve done this, please also explain how the French Freedom of the Press law is part of the criminal codex.
      Thanks in advance!

      Reply to Comment
    22. max

      Deïr Yassin, …
      The rules for “made in” labels are different from country to country, and there’s no international standard… I guess you know that.
      I have no idea what’s Israel’s law in this regard; I know that the FTC has a definition that can’t be enforced (how much of a car is made of Chinese electronics?)
      Would you suggest that the label should be: Contract by Israelis, textile collected in Israel, stitched in Nablus, sent from Israel?

      Reply to Comment
    23. Woody

      (I’m working on a piece on this now, but here are some outlines so people stop with the passing ships style arguments.)

      To reiterate – the laws being cited by defenders of the anti-boycott law in Israel, namely the USA and France/EU case are both CRIMINAL LAWS. The new Israeli law is a TORT law. The difference reveals how FRIGHTENING the Israeli law is.

      Criminal law are restrictions on behaviors imposed by a government. Tort laws are codification of a set of “common law” principles that set the basic parameters of how/when/why one person can sue another for money damages.

      Criminal laws of a country can outlaw anything. They codify the obligations that individuals have to society as a whole. They can outlaw heroin use, spitting on the street, or opening your store on shabbat. In the US/France anti-boycott laws cited, these are criminal laws. Those who would run afoul of them have violated an obligation the legislature determined individuals had to the society. To enforce these laws, the government took action against an individual to make consequences of the violation of the law occur. They must prove that the individual met the elements of the crime stated in the law. If the US government doesn’t take action under its anti-boycott law, it just sits on the books, unchallenged. Present in word, but useless.

      When a criminal charge is made under one of these anti-boycott laws, the accused is afforded a number of rights. I’m going to discuss the rights shared in Israel and US. The accused is afforded the standard set of criminal protections people might be familiar with on TV – the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent (though in Israel it CAN and WILL be used against you if you remain silent), as well as evidentiary protections. The really important factor here is that under criminal law, the burden of proof is rather high, being “beyond a reasonable doubt”. (for TORT law it is “preponderance of the evidence” which is SIGNIFICANTLY EASIER to prove. This is true in Israel and US.)

      TORT law is an entirely different area of law that expresses/codifies the set of liabilities and obligations people have to each other – through tradition, court decisions, and the passage of laws. One cannot hit another – one cannot smash their car into another – one cannot defame someone publicly. Well, one can do all of these, but it subjects the actor to lawsuit for money, which discourages such behavior. Under Tort Law in common law, there are a few basic elements every lawyer in UK, AUS, Israel, or US would know. That the tortfeasor/defendant (the civil equivalent of the accused) needs 1) to have an obligation to the injured party 2) to have breached that obligation 3) to have been the cause of 4) damages.

      As an example, we have a traditional obligation (1) not to hit others. If x hits y, then they have (2) breached that obligation (absent consent, duress, and other justifications). The hitting is ostensibly the (3) cause of the (4) damage (physical damage requiring medical attention or subsequent pain and suffering, loss of income, etc.). Obviously, you can see each of these steps involves a lot of “what ifs” but the core elements should appear obvious.

      Now the Israeli law simply codifies the entire set of elements by stating 1&2) Israelis owe obligations to each other not to boycott/call for boycott and 3&4) no damages are required to sue for this. Let’s look at the English version of the law:

      —–Definition:

      1. In this bill, “a boycott against the State of Israel” – deliberately avoiding economic, cultural or academic ties with another person or another factor only because of his ties with the State of Israel, one of its institutions or an area under its control, in such a way that may cause economic, cultural or academic damage.

      A. Knowingly publishing a public call for a boycott against the State of Israel will be considered a civil wrong to which the civil tort law [new version] applies, if according to the content and circumstances of the publication there is reasonable probability that the call will bring about a boycott and he who published the call was aware of this possibility.

      C. If the court will find that an wrong according to this law was deliberately carried out, it will be authorized to compel the person who did the wrongdoing to pay damages that are not dependent on the damage (in this clause – damages, for example); in calculating the sum of the damages for example, the court will take into consideration, among other things, the circumstances under which the wrong was carried out, its severity and its extent. —–

      So this is more than shocking. A tortfeasor/defendant simply has to have “deliberately” called for boycott. The one who is suing, the plaintiff, doesn’t have to be damaged by this call – that is under the Common Law tradition of Tort, they don’t even have to have been the “victim” of the boycott call. There merely has to be potential “damage” that is “economic, cultural, or academic” (it appears to society as a whole, not an individual) The amount of money to be paid, will be “exemplary” or “punitive” – that is, UNRELATED to the damage that the call for boycott created. This amount of money will be determined BY THE JUDGE.

      So essentially the inundation with “my neighbor does it too” excuses from those supporting the new Israeli law does show us something. Other countries pursue such public policy as criminal law, meant to protect society according to legislative interests (and it is traditionally acceptable for Israel and other countries to criminalize anyone/everyone, legally, perhaps not morally).

      However, it’s a TORT law here, meaning that PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS get to pursue its enforcement and get the financial benefits/money damages at the mercy of the judicial system. Private individuals here means most likely settlers, or the Right. Instead of the State of Israel taking the responsibility to criminalize dissent and having to defend it. It has outsourced the job to private individuals. We don’t have to wait to see if the government has the guts to challenge the social consensus. Every settler lawyer – hell every lawyer is itching to file papers at this very moment.

      What is more concerning is that the legal battle over this issue will likely be resolved without the government and on technical issues, with the mention of “occupation” or “Palestinians” nowhere to be heard.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Shira

      Woody,
      Thanks for the explanation.

      Mr.Dana,
      It’s not that other countries do it so it’s okay for Israel to do so. It’s called context and realizing Israel isn’t even the worst among fellow western democracies. It’s arguably the best. The problem many Liberal Zionists have with anti-zionist or non-zionist Leftist criticism of Israel is that their criticism isn’t really made to make Israel into a better, stronger country but rather to delegitimize and demonize Israel, in the service of Israel’s enemies seeking to destroy the country. Israel’s worst enemies use liberal criticism of Israel and many so-called Leftists collude with Israel’s most extreme Rightwing enemies like Hamas to give them what they want.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Shira

      General comment about BDS. It seems to me that those pushing for BDS in Israel need to be publicly confronted (peacefully of course) in some way or another. Those pushing for BDS tend to almost always be for one state, no cooperation between Jews and Arabs, for Hamas’ right to target civilians, and have no problem associating with the worst antisemites. In essence, they adopt the Hamas hardline anti-peace position. I think at the very least if they get to push their pro-Hamas views, they should constantly be challenged to support their views from a “Leftist/Liberal” viewpoint. Because as far as I’m concerned, when your activism is based on the Hamas agenda, you’re more Rightwing than most settlers. They should be called on that.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Woody

      @ Shira: LOL@like everything you say. You seem to have no contact with people who “push for BDS” and tons of contact with government press releases. I mean – seriously, you just said this:

      “Those pushing for BDS tend to almost always be for…. no cooperation between Jews and Arabs, for Hamas’ right to target civilians, and have no problem associating with the worst antisemites.”

      “I think at the very least if they get to push their pro-Hamas views, they should constantly be challenged to support their views from a “Leftist/Liberal” viewpoint. Because as far as I’m concerned, when your activism is based on the Hamas agenda, you’re more Rightwing than most settlers. They should be called on that.”

      Let us guess, you consider yourself Leftist (notice how most Leftists don’t put “slash liberal” in their self-description, it’s b/c they’re anathema)? Are you leftist like “Labor” or leftist like “Livni” or leftist like “Likud”? Really rich…

      Reply to Comment
    27. max

      @Woody, I’m sure you’re a great law specialist, but you haven’t read the French protocol.
      The plaintiffs didn’t claim they lost money and the defendant had to pay.
      I hope you do better on other cases :)

      Reply to Comment
    28. sh

      @Max
      “France labels its products not to allow people to boycott by village but because they’re proud of the difference in taste”
      - and also because it is required to by EU rules.
      Far from being misleading, exactly that was the point I made.

      No-one denies that referring to laws in other (democratic) countries is relevant, especially if it is to indicate that they will surely have taken morality into account when drafting them. Thus Israel, according to people of your persuasion, has no need to be holier than the pope. But what if it really was the Jewish state we demand Palestinians (not the rest of the world) recognize, instead of pretending to be?

      The EU demands separate labelling for settlement products and Israel complies. But Israel does precisely the opposite at home by doing its best to blur labelling using invented area names that lump together parts of green line areas and parts of occupied areas. Israel’s reason for doing this is that it considers the occupied areas as part of Israel, but when it comes to proving they are by giving the same basic rights to EVERYONE living there, one category is subject to military rule, the other to Israeli civilian rule.

      You are unfamiliar with an Israeli national goal of being an example to the world because you evidently don’t hear the rhetoric about morals in every aspect of life here. Ask the IDF spokesman if our army isn’t the most moral in the world and you’ll be surprised by the answer. Again, if this really was the JEWISH state our government tells us it is, morality would rule supreme.

      “I’d be interested in an example of another democracy behaving better in times of war, the ugly occupation notwithstanding”
      With whom are we at war, Max? The Palestinians have no army of their own (they only have ours!).

      Lastly, you either interpreted Deïr Yassin’s clip to suit your own agenda or your French isn’t up to scratch.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Woody

      @Max: I didn’t say “The plaintiffs claim they lost money and the defendant had to pay.” So your cute response: “The plaintiffs didn’t claim they lost money and the defendant had to pay. I hope you do better on other cases,” is confusing.

      My point was exactly the opposite – at least upon my cursory reading of the EU review of the French case, it says that this is a criminal matter. My point is that the US law and French Law are criminal. The Israeli law is civil. Not really sure what you’re saying in response – would be interested in what you mean though. Please clarify.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Woody

      @Max: I was referring to Shira’s comments at the top and the cites that she gives. What are the cites for the “French Protocol” and how does it interact with the analysis I gave? *very interested*

      Reply to Comment
    31. Shira

      @Woody,
      I’d say liberals in Meretz or PeaceNow rate as part of the Left, of course not as Left as a typical Marxist. I just don’t see anything Leftwing about activists who advocate for Hamas Rightwing positions, that’s all. The FGM, for example, is generally for 1-state, RoR, BDS with no cooperation b/w Jews/Arabs, and for Hamas’ right to target civilians. You think it’s only coincidence those extreme far Rightwing positions are the same as “Leftist” groups like FGM? Activists should be proud of the positions they advocate. Why not just admit they’re for very extreme Rightwing Hamas positions and get on with life? Their positions are more Rightwing than most settlers. Rather than LOL’ing, what exactly do you disagree with and why?

      Reply to Comment
    32. richard Allen

      Shira, I’m assuming that you consider yourself a Liberal Zionist, but I’m pretty sure that as soon as the word “delegitimize” crosses anyone’s lips, or fingers in this case, they’re firmly part of the Right. It is a meaningless term that is simply used because no one serious accepts the previous willy-nilly use of the term “anti-semitic” in connection to any and all criticism of Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    33. Woody

      FGM and BDS activists actually spend time in joint struggle with Palestinians. Most of the people active outside of Israel do so b/c they have been banned for cooperative action b/w Jews & Arabs. The BDS from within are all people involved heavily in the WB. “BDS with no cooperation”, your catch phrase, is a ruse. It’s not real. That’s simply not what anyone actually involved in boycott advocates. The call for boycott originates from Palestinian civil society, not “Hamas” as you constantly repeat. I’m not sure what to make of your claim that people support “Hamas’ right to target civilians” and the association of political positions held by a wide spectrum of Jewish and Palestinian political parties as “Hamas Rightwing positions”. I’m not sure what “rightwing” (settler?) group believes there should be a democratic 1-state, Right of Return enshrined in UN Res 194, BDS, and the right to self-defence – unless of course you causally phrase those things as “1-state” and “Hamas’ right to target civilians”. Your stroke is so broad its painful. If I painted the same stroke it would come out “Meretz believes in committing war crimes against Gazan civilians and apartheid like bantustans in the WB, why can’t people just see that liberals are the same as Nazis” LOL, indeed.

      Reply to Comment
    34. Woody

      @Richard re: Shira. Thanks for catching that “delegit” language. She’s clearly an American pretending to be something she’s not b/c her analysis is very detached from what’s happening on the ground, shallow/filled with tropes, and lacks a coherent political analysis. That is, asking her where she comes from and who she aligns with, it’s clear she can’t quite put it all together. Sorry Shira :(

      Reply to Comment
    35. max

      @SH,
      Neither France nor the EU require to label products by region; they allow it under some conditions. Those who do, do it for marketing purpose. That’s the fact.
      Israel doesn’t have such a law. Neither do most other countries. That’s also a fact.
      So your statements and arguments are false.
      .
      If you have comments about my French, please show what’s wrong with my summary.
      Your posts are riddled with insinuations and false statement. Your logic on top is then irrelevant.
      .
      @Woody:
      You wrote “they don’t even have to have been the “victim” of the boycott call”
      I wrote back that the same applies in the French case.
      More importantly: the state doesn’t delegate the issue to the citizens; this IS a citizens’ issue as the boycott addresses individuals, not the state, and these individuals had no legal means to fight back. That’s exactly why in my opinion this type of boycott is wrong.
      The law has several provisions which I propose you look at before you “expand” its potential effect

      Reply to Comment
    36. sh

      @Max
      I was addressing the issue of Israel. Specifically obligations imposed on it abroad that it chooses without fuss to accept rather than lose its special status with the EU for products from within the green line, compared to the obfuscations it engages in at home to erase any concept of a green line in the eyes of the Israeli electorate. The discussion here is about those who insist on remembering the green line in particular and history in general, who are now punishable by law on two counts: the Nakba and boycott of settler products. – You have chosen to rabbit on about France and foie gras.
      .
      As for your French, I was giving you the benefit of doubt. I watched the video up to the point where a man in a factory that manufactures and packs shirts for shipment to the US tells the camera that the next step in the procedure is sending it through the checkpoints and shipping via Israel (the only way open to them) and what Israel deducts for it, how it profits from it. Had your French been impeccable it would have been devious of you not to have mentioned that. I wouldn’t have watched it at all if you hadn’t summarized it the way you did, because Deïr Yassin had already done so.
      .
      - “Your posts are riddled with insinuations and false statement.”
      I can’t decide whether that’s insinuation or false statement, but again, let’s stick to the subject in hand.

      Reply to Comment
    37. max

      SH, thanks, I’ll also give you the benefit of doubt :)
      The comments you jumped into and referred to were about the comparison of legal systems.
      You insinuated that the EU laws are meant to allow boycotting and that it requires regional labeling. I say that the laws are about taxation, trademarks, quality… not about boycotting. So your reference to Israel not labeling products to allow you to boycott are nonsensical.
      In addition, the EU doesn’t require regional labeling; when done it’s for marketing reasons.
      As for boycotting – what we know is that in 1 instance the French legal system was against and in 1 in favor, of allowing it. Personally, I’m in favor of allowing it – as a political, not legal point of view – but in this particular case don’t see how one can support a measure against civilians when the issue is with all Israeli governments.
      .
      I’m glad to learn that thanks to me you watched the clip; DY’s effort wasn’t in vain. He, however, didn’t summarize it. I did because I found it good and had an issue with DY’s reasoning. You added nothing to the discussion, just proved that your understanding of Arabic and French is patchy at best. You can look at my last comment to DY if you want to learn what you missed in the clip.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Rann B

      Shira: I find it rather strange that you say that people who want one-state believe in no cooperation between Jews and Arabs. Surely that’s a contradiction in terms.

      Woody: thank you for the in depth analysis. Please let me know when you’ve written this all up systematically. Your work will provide a very useful tool in the arsenal.

      Just for reference, many significant Jewish organizations in the US have come out against the law, from J St to (get this), the ADL. See http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4094680,00.html

      Reply to Comment
    39. Shira

      @Woody, Richard, Rann-
      Do you guys really think the PLO and Hamas represent Leftwing socialist values? They’re very extreme far Rightwing fascist organizations who have absolutely nothing in common with Leftwing socialists and its their agenda the FGM and other like-minded (supposedly Leftist socialist) organizations support. In a one-state scenario with full RoR, there will be an Iranian influenced, reactionary theocratic dictatorship running the show – not the Palestinian people who are just their pawns – and it will be nothing even remotely close to a secular democracy which they absolutely abhor and will fight to the death to prevent. I’d like to believe those like yourselves who support Palestinians would do all you can to ensure a representative secular democracy but I don’t see any of you lifting a finger to help bring that about. In fact I see just the opposite, as the FGM “Left” never criticizes or condemns fascist Palestinian leadership for what they do to the Palestinians (many who are genuine moderates) they are supposed to represent. I can understand why fellow Rightwingers wouldn’t want to speak up for Palestinians against their Rightwing fascist Hamas/PLO oppressors so that’s why I believe those championing Hamas/PLO aims are Rightwing supporters themselves. Here are a couple of short articles you guys should read to understand better where I’m coming from:
      http://transmontanus.blogspot.com/2010/12/why-are-rich-white-left-wingers.html
      http://www.ericlee.info/2006/07/the_left_should_be_supporting.html

      Reply to Comment
    40. Shira

      The global BDS movement is against cooperation between Jews and Palestinians until there’s 1-state and full RoR. Look 1 minute into this video…
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnpilMYsR0I

      Reply to Comment
    41. max

      Shira,
      Why analyze the risks of a single-state when it obviously won’t happen instead of simply using it as a tool to foster disagreements? How can one deal with the possible meaning of Hamas’ use of PA persons for free-fall physical experiments, when under occupation? Why shudder in the streets of Cairo with the thought of living under such a regime when one can be pampered by Israeli democracy, and claim it’s undemocratic? Why think of abuse of minorities in Arab countries and under Palestinian governance when one can abuse Israel for taking security reasons (possibly) a notch too far? Why discuss Sharia laws when one can discuss Israeli religious radicals? Why discuss actual legal executions in Gaza and WB when one can discuss the RUMOR of Israel’s prosecution asking for the symbolic death penalty for the Itamar murderers?
      .
      But there’re good news: a few years ago, Plato rated democracy as the worst form of government short of tyranny, since it gives power to the ignorant many rather than to knowledgeable experts.
      We now have the ultimate symbiosis: we can appoint each other as experts with human-rights labels, educate the world masses, and come up with innovative social theories, consisting mostly of the maxim that the weak is right, appeasement builds trust and please don’t come up with your paranoia as a risk factor.
      BTW, we’re not all in favor of the global BDS movement, we have our own. If the global one happens to use us, well, it’s simply unfair but won’t detract us from our mission. The very idea of association is disproportional group punishment.
      And please – please! – don’t come up with so-called Leftist articles that don’t match our view. By definition, these people aren’t leftists! We are the left, to our left are purists, and to our right are right-wingers, then fascists – in short, all those who doubt our dreams.
      .
      Independent analysis and reporting must have borders, and the whole picture may lead to wrong views! Trust me, once Israel’s apartheid regime falls, the whole ME will be able to breathe and re-think its human rights principles. At the moment, we have to focus on Israel’s inability to set an example to the world in tolerance, democratic values and human rights.
      .
      I don’t claim ownership to the above – it’s merely a compilation of rhetoric I found on the site.
      I also needed to provide a distraction from the thought provoking articles you presented.

      Reply to Comment
    42. Tactical Nuclear Housecat

      This comment has been deleted

      Reply to Comment
    43. Fellow Traveler

      There is one state with similar laws. That Fascist States of America

      The Antiboycott laws under the U.S. Export Administration Act of 1979 [as amended in August 1999] were written specifically to protect Israel from the Arab League and other Moslem countries.

      On Monday, July 11, 2011 the Knesset [the Israeli Parliament] passed an Antiboycott law against those who promote and call to boycott Israel.

      Israel’s Attorney-General claims that the Israeli boycott laws’ border on unconstitutionality. A look at the U.S. Antiboycott laws objectives, should be helpful in defending the Israeli law.

      “The [U.S.] Antiboycott laws discourage, and in some circumstances, prohibit U.S. companies from furthering or supporting the boycott of Israel sponsored by the Arab League, and certain Moslem countries, including complying with certain requests for information designed to verify compliance with the boycott. Compliance with such requests may be prohibited by the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and may be reportable to the Bureau.”

      The U.S. Laws Prohibits among others:

      “Agreements to refuse or actual refusal to do business with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.

      “Agreements to discriminate or actual discrimination against other persons based on race, religion, sex, national origin or nationality.

      “Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about business relationships with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.

      “Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about the race, religion, sex, or national origin of another person.”

      Acting against the U.S. laws is considered a criminal behavior and carry with it penalties of up to $1 million and 20 years imprisonment per violation.

      Reply to Comment
    44. Tactical Nuclear Housecat

      Why does my factual reference that the US has a similar law get deleted? I did not say it was a good law, in fact it’s a terrible law. I agree with you. Putting up barriers between Arab states and Israel is illegal and ill thought out.

      Reply to Comment
    45. sh

      @Max

      “I guess that Dear” (sic) “Yassin’s point is that outsourcing is unethical and the Palestinians should be left on UNRWA’s dole, since the PA can’t provide support and Israeli real business left the place..”
      .
      Since nothing was said either by Deïr Yassin or in the clip to infer this, there is every reason for scepticism about your unsolicited summary.
      - BTW the French that was my livelihood over a quarter of a century probably sufficed here, but many thanks for the legalese and the erudite conjecture over whether the camp was Askar or Balata. Why trust the title after all?

      Reply to Comment
    46. max

      @SH: as usual, ranting about the package and avoiding the content.

      Reply to Comment
    47. John Canfield

      Who else sees the irony that this post decries an Israeli law as an infringement on freedom of speech and expression while its author deletes replies that he does not like? I didn’t bother to read any of his other posts, but the irony would be even greater if the author was also a supporter of the PA/Hamas government, which offers few such freedoms at all and rules by the gun. I doubt this comment will be posted.

      Reply to Comment
    48. Joseph Dana

      Thanks for the comment John. 972 has a strict comment policy which you can read. I can tell you that I have not deleted any post here. It must have been one of the editors. Thanks for reading.

      Reply to Comment
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