Magazine article Tablet Magazine

No, the Anti-Boycott Law Really Isn't Okay

Magazine article Tablet Magazine

No, the Anti-Boycott Law Really Isn't Okay

Article excerpt

I'd like to answer several questions raised, by readers here and elsewhere, about my recent denunciation of Israel's new anti-boycott law.

1. Isn't this bill exactly like the American Antiboycott Compliance, which prohibits companies from supporting the Arab League's (now-deceased) boycott of Israel? Absolutely not. As Joseph Dana noted in +972, "the American document prohibits U.S. 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." What countries, then, have prohibitions that are actually similar to Israel's new law? A Knesset committee was asked to investigate this matter. In a report dated January 30, 2011, it released its conclusions: Venezuela, Ethiopia, and Eritrea.

2. What are you getting so worked up about? Israel's supreme court will strike down this law. If only this were a sure thing. Because Israel lacks a constitution, striking down a law passed by the parliament is a tricky proposition. And the same members of Knesset behind the anti-boycott law are currently working on a sequel, which would give the Knesset the authority to reject Supreme Court nominees suspected of "a post-Zionist agenda." The court should tread carefully here, as should those on the Israeli left who rely on it as the last bastion of liberty. …

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