Ami Eden
Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) (Blog)
July 19, 2011 - 12:00am

If the goal of the new Israeli law banning boycotts was actually to prevent boycotts... things aren't exactly going according to plan.

The board of Americans for Peace Now has unanimously endorsed a boycott of products made in the settlements.

Why? Well, it has nothing to do with the settlements. The group says it's boycotting settlement products in order to protest the anti-boycott law.

Here's the statement from APN's president and CEO Debra DeLee:

“The actions of our Board today underscore the seriousness of the threat today to Israel’s democracy. The new law passed by the Knesset is a travesty of democracy. APN proudly supports our colleagues in the Israeli Peace Now movement as they lead domestic efforts to challenge the new law. They understand what this law means for Israel and for their future as Israelis. They know that it is not just their own ability to fight for peace, but also the very soul of Israel, that it is at stake.

“APN continues to oppose boycotts and other forms of BDS against Israel and the Israeli people as a whole, and urges people to continue buying Israeli products. However, today it is clear that Israeli extremists are exploiting concerns about BDS, turning them into a pretext to effectively outlaw peaceful opposition to settlements and the occupation. In light of these attacks, no one who cares about Israel can afford to be squeamish about the issue of settlement boycotts.

“Today we join Peace Now in urging all those who care about Israel’s character as a democracy to boycott settlements and products made in settlements. Settlements are not Israel. Such a boycott is the best way to show our support for Israel and to register our commitment to Israeli democracy.”

“Like Peace Now, we recognize that fundamentally this new law is not about boycotts or even, truly, about settlements. It is about stifling dissent, smothering activism, and suppressing freedom of expression. We also know that this flagrant attack on the basic democratic value of freedom of expression is not an isolated case. Tomorrow the Knesset will consider an anti-democratic measure that would set up McCarthy-ite committees to investigate Israeli non-governmental organizations. Multiple other pieces of pending legislation seek to suffocate the Israeli civil society organizations that are most critical to preserving Israel’s democracy – groups working to promote peace, human rights, and civil rights within Israel.

“All of us who love Israel – who love the people of Israel and who are deeply committed to ensuring a future for them in the Jewish and democratic state of Israel – must speak out and act to protest these attacks on Israel’s democracy.”


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