Israel’s ban on BDS activists: Welcome and justified

What a Chutzpah that a Yachad employee is telling the government of Israel whom it should admit!  Remember: It was Yachad that lobbied the UK government to vote for UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which seeks to relinquish Israeli control over the Western Wall, the most significant place on the planet where Jews are allowed to pray.

Ethan Schwartz is also wrong to describe the Land Regulation Law as ‘retroactively legalising the theft of privately-owned Palestinian land’. In passing the law, the Knesset was perfectly within its rights. Enforcing land-use regulations accompanied by the payment of complete compensation is not ‘theft’!

Every government has the right to decide on who should be allowed in. Including that of Israel. Israel is perfectly justified in preventing entry for those who would wish to damage its economy by boycotting.

One can legitimately question whether the new law is necessary since Israel already has the right to keep out individuals and organisations, as shown in recent months. But – as in other democracies – MKs have the right to respond to the concerns of their constituents – and BDS and political warfare are big issues there.

In any case, the logic of would-be boycotters who want to visit Israel is highly questionable. Why would you want to both boycott and visit a country? I boycotted South African goods during the Apartheid era and would not have dreamed of going there. The argument is no different if the boycotter is simply using Israel as a transit route to Gaza.

A fair argument is to point to those whose minds have been changed by visiting Israel. Kasim Hafeez for example. (I will ask him to comment).

I accept that argument and I would hope that some way could be found for admitting those like Kasim who visit in a genuine spirit of enquiry. But to oppose the law because of a few cases like this one is to wish to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Neither does Ethan’s argument that the new law ‘accepts the basic logic of the boycott movement’ make sense. Boycotts have their place – as they did in combatting apartheid or the rise of the Nazis. But Israel has done nothing to merit a boycott.

The communal organisations have got their knickers in a twist about the new law. It shows they have not read it. It says:

who knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel that, given the content of the call and the circumstances in which it was issued, has a reasonable possibility of leading to the imposition of a boycott – if the issuer was aware of this possibility.

The Trade Union member whose Union has a boycott policy but who personally has no involvement in BDS is clearly safe!

BDS activists work to destroy Israel’s economy and the jobs of those who live there. As such Israel has every right to exclude them.

About the Author
Jonathan Hoffman is a blogger who has written for United With Israel, CiFWatch (now UK Media Watch), Harrys Place and Z-Word.
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