The recently-passed Israeli anti-boycott bill has been getting an unprecedented amount of press (I wonder, is it because it targets Jewish as well as non-Jewish citizens of Israel?). I thought it seemed prudent to highlight the many others bills and laws proposed by Knesset members over the last year and a half or so, simply because there is a sense, generally, that these laws are only just now starting to be written, which is simply untrue. The Anti-Boycott Law is only the most recent in a long, long legacy of this type of legislation. I didn’t bother to deal with executive orders or anything else because I needed a manageable amount of data.
Here is the PDF: Chart of Anti-Democratic Laws
They may not have been acting in self-defense, but I’m pretty sure manslaughter? aggravated assault? are not terrorism. The victims were, after all, breaking some law. If anyone besides the offspring of a government Minister was entering Nablus without permission (or, if a WB Palestinian was entering Israel without permission) and was shot and killed by border units, it would not be classified as terrorism.
When I was younger, the Haggadah we used at Passover had a farcical play in the back, jocularly re-enacting the story of the Exodus from Egypt. We used to perform it every year around the Seder table as our version of telling the story of Passover. There is one line from the play that has stuck with me through all these years, a line my sister and I quote to each other throughout the year, and one that seems particularly relevant as I look back at what I’ve just written:
“Woe to us, we are in trouble.”
WARNING: This will probably be a little bit incendiary and unquestionably littered with social democratic and possibly Marxist or even anarchistic sentiment.
After much discussion and rumination and explication, I think I am finally able to explain and possibly even support the full call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel.
There is a LOT of information out there about it. It’s dense, seemingly contradictory at times, and very difficult to parse through. Having people to talk about it with is immensely helpful. For your own purposes, some good resources are PACBI, BNC, and IMEU.
To be completely honest, though so many people speak in favor of BDS, they only do so in the context of the real and physical occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. But even among so many leftist Jews, it is very difficult to acknowledge or talk about the State of Israel as its own form of occupation, but to fully support BDS, which is critical for complete justice throughout all of historic Palestine, we must talk about the harder aspects.
I was the last one to notice that he wasn’t speaking to me. We- my friend Laura, him and myself were standing on at the door to a club. I was standing in front of him and asked him something very simple-do you want to leave? Do you want to get dinner? I don’t remember. And he answered, but looking at Laura. I asked my follow up question. He looked at Laura, and answered. It was like a bad tennis ball game of words-I’d shoot the sentence at him and instead of lobbing it back at me, it would bounce and roll
out of the court.
Arabic is an official language of the State of Israel. But apparently, because it is the language of the enemy and all Arabs are threats, it can still be banned in high school classrooms. This was not an institutional ban; it’s not that the high school isn’t teaching Arabic. A high school principal in Jaffa banned students from conversing with each other in Arabic in the classroom. As some of the students pointed out, they didn’t ban other students from speaking Russian; only Arabic. We don’t have to dig deeply to find the inherent discrimination in this decision.
The 250+ comments alone on yesterday’s Mondoweiss post kind of speak for themselves, but really what they tell me is that people don’t want to read what I’m writing or listen to what I’m trying to say. (This isn’t universal; certainly there were a few supportive comments, and plenty that were off-topic enough to be benign or amusing or, indeed, helpful.)
I just want to say that though I’m sure everyone finds the path by which it is necessary to take to reach the conclusions that I did is somehow revolutionary or incendiary, the point was a little bit that (1) two-states are unsustainable and (2) two-states ignores the Palestinians inside Israel, but more importantly it was that (3) media and even public discourse outside Israel is caught up in the diplomatic mentality and cannot see the entirety of the problem or the legitimate range of alternatives.
Anyway, I would really appreciate a counter-piece, or an expansion piece…or comment…
As I’ve looked over our postings the last few months I’ve realized that some context maybe needed to understand where our criticism and cynicism comes from. All of us work at organizations that are fighting to improve the condition inside the country for Palestinian citizens of Israel, defend human rights in general and promote a democracy that provides protection for its minority and multiple ethnic groups. As a result, our job is to read, write, react and act against what we and our organizations view as inequities and injustices. For those of us who are Jews, and the other authors can feel free to disagree with me, part of this experience includes questioning our relationship to a state that propounds to represent and defend the Jewish people. In addition, the internal situation seems to only be getting worse, leading to a growing feeling of disillusionment and recognition of the limitations of the system we are trying to work within.
Here is some background information to give people who are not in Israel an idea of the reality on the ground, and the issues we have been working on. Palestinian citizens of Israel make up 19% of the population. Many are internal refugees whose villages were demolished in 1948. They face discrimination on multiple fronts including at the state level through legislation and unequal budget allocations. Palestinian villages receive inadequate funding leading to poor public education, transportation and healthcare. Arab schools face a severe shortage of adequate classrooms and teaching facilities. The legal system does an inadequate job of protecting Palestinian victims of violence and a very efficient job of persecuting Palestinian defendants.