On a “Zionist” Boycott
When Peter Beinart, in his New York Times op-ed, called for a “Zionist boycott” of Israel, as aghast were the supporters of Israel (see my early comment here), so were the detractors of Israel. Richard “Tikkun Olam” Silverstein, one of the more vicious opponents of Zionism, commented:
Beinart calls for a “counteroffensive” against Bibi Netanyahu’s “one-state” vision. I’m down with that. But what does the campaign involve? He doesn’t like the Bibilical [sic] terms Judea and Samaria. Nor does he like the term, “West Bank.” Instead, he comes up with the hopelessly flawed, “nondemocratic Israel.” How do I hate this phrase? Let me count the ways. First, it associates the Territories with Israel, when they are not Israel, but Palestine. Second, the phrase clearly indicates a claim that Israel within the Green Line is democratic. For any reasonably well informed observer of Israeli society, this is false… I’m amused by Beinart’s call for what can only be called a reverse boycott. Instead of only boycotting goods from the settlements, we should deliberately buy goods from the “good” Israel. This will somehow encourage Israel to reject settlements and turn to the angels of its better democratic nature.
In Haaretz, Don Futterman explained
The Zionist boycott is a proposed wake-up call designed to counter the subliminal campaign to erase the term ‘occupied territories’ from our lexicon.
Beinart’s “Zionist B.D.S.” was portrayed as
a boycott of goods made in the settlements combined with renewed support for Israel within the Green Line (as well as East Jerusalem, which after all has been annexed by Israel). He also advocates referring to the West Bank as “nondemocratic Israel.” “If Israel makes the occupation permanent and Zionism ceases to be a democratic project, Israel’s foes will eventually overthrow Zionism itself,” he argues. “We are closer to that day than many American Jews want to admit.”
I can understand the frustration Beinart, Ben-Ami, Chomsky and Alice Walker, each one distinct in their own ideology but seemingly united on the anti-Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria activity they promote. But, somehow, either I assume that they really mean Israel ill-will and real damage or they don’t fully realize the stupendous ridiculousness of their position, if they are rational and logical.
Consider these products of Judea and Samaria:
a) Feminine empowerment. In Shiloh, Hannah became the role model not only for prayer but for standing up to male-dominated Temple service:-
“Hannah spoke within her heart. Her lips moved, but she uttered no sound…I prayed, and God has given me what I asked.” (I Samuel 1). Rav Hamnuna said: How many important Halachot can be learnt from those verses about Hannah! “Now Hannah, she spoke in her heart.” From here, one who prays shall direct his heart. “Only her lips moved.” From here, one who prays shall do it clearly, with his lips. “But her voice could not be heard.” From here, that it is forbidden to raise one’s voice in the Tephilla. “And Eli thought she had been drunken.” From here, that one who is drunk is forbidden to say the Tephilla. (Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Berachot 31a).
b) Laws of land ownership. In Anatot, Jeremiah purchases land despite knowing of the oncoming exile because he has been assured by God that “Behold, I will gather them out of all the countries, whither I have driven them in Mine anger, and in My fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them back unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely; 38 and they shall be My people, and I will be their God”.
c) Brilliant military tactics still learned in West Point. At Maaleh Levona and Bet Horon, the Maccabees displayed outstanding guerrilla strategy.
d) Standing up to power. Amos of Tekoa prophesizes against transgressions of the surrounding kingdoms.
e) Practical kindness and care for the poor. Boaz at Bethlehem instructs his workers to make sure Ruth is able to collect leftovers from the harvest.
f) Transparency in government crimes like bribery. The sons of Samuel are criticized in Ramah.
Where would social justice, liberalism and humanism be today if the Jews residing in Judea and Samaria and Gaza had not experienced and put into action the ethical guidelines of the Bible.
Those events are, too, what make this the Holy Land. And why the "Zionist boycott" is not only a moral corruption of Judaism but a contradiction to the best legacy of human values.