The tremendous noise this week over the Knesset’s passage of the “Boycott Bill” shows the stark lines that have long ago been drawn in the war that continues to be fought against Israel’s existence.
And make no mistake, Israel is very much at war on many fronts.
Rather than continuing to fight a military or quasi-military terrorist war against Israel, or rather in addition to these, Israel’s enemies have opened new fronts in their quest to destroy our country. These fronts include social media and viral video campaigns, public relations campaigns, and economic isolation and diplomatic onslaughts in such forums as the United Nations and various other international organizations.
And the battle plans are deceptive and insidious. Cloaked in the politically correct terminology of human rights, freedom and anti-oppression, Israel’s enemies seek to infiltrate the highest levels of western liberalism to incite a hatred of Israel that has been kept latent for the past seven decades.
These new moves are Israel’s enemies at their cynical best, using the same language and values system that captivated the western world in its support of Israel following the Holocaust, and now subverting that sense of justice to inflict harm against the very same State of Israel.
One of the weapons unsheathed by Israel’s enemies over the past decade has been that of economic boycotts and academic divestment campaigns against the country, its institutions and its businesses. These campaigns are part and parcel of the public delegitimization our enemies subject Israel to on a daily basis around the world. And every one of these campaigns has the same singular aim: to create a situation in which the world’s decision makers come to view Israel as a pariah, thereby opening the door for their acceptance of anti-Israel terrorism and later military adventurism on the part of our enemies.
The groundwork is being laid for the acceptance of terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah as full negotiating partners, and of Iran’s potential nuclear terrorism aimed at forcing Israel’s retreat and destruction.
Into this situation the Knesset waded this week with the approval of a law that bans any State dealings with individuals, groups or organizations that call for, initiate or participate in a boycott or divestment campaign against Israel or its institutions or businesses.
Even before the bill’s passage, alleged human rights groups were calling for its repeal, calling it “completely unlawful,” claiming that it “limits the freedom of political expression,” and that it is “against international law.” The groups were joined by various legal eagles of the Israeli judicial system, including the Knesset’s legal counsel and the Attorney General.
While the lawyers consider only the plain legal implications of the law, they must be faulted for not realizing one salient fact – a fact that made this law necessary in the first place. Israel is at war, and the boycotts and divestment campaigns are as much an act of war against Israel as the rockets that fall into farmers’ fields in the Western Negev. They may even have a more long-term and widespread disastrous effect on our country.
But it is the very curious claims of these groups that should draw the most attention. Insofar as Israel faces such warfare, why is it unlawful to try to limit the enemy’s resources? In a military confrontation, weapons caches and military bases are fair targets. Boycotts and divestment campaigns, as weapons in the hands of our enemies, should also be fair targets in the war of public opinion.
The freedom of political expression is not being limited insofar as such expression is part of the democratic health and vibrancy of our society. All citizens are allowed to express themselves freely as long as doing so does not harm the country’s interests. Yet it is instructive that these same “human rights” groups would likely have no problem championing the cause of a person engaged in espionage or treason that harms the State. In fact, the groups who are so vocally opposed to this law, have spared no effort in recent years to harm Israel’s interests both locally and internationally, by actively participating in every anti-Israel campaign and protest imaginable.
And perhaps most telling is the claim by these groups that this law is contrary to international law. It is an increasingly common phenomenon for fifth columns in democracies to turn to international law when the state enacts legislation to protect its own interests. The American left has done so numerous times in recent years on issues ranging from abortion and gay marriage to illegal immigration, and we now see this phenomenon starting in Israel too.
So let’s set the record straight. International Law is not meant to delineate or protect a state’s interests, nor can it do so under any circumstances. The purpose of international law is to serve as a framework to ensure that states act toward each other in ways that protect international interests. And because the interpretation of those interests vary widely from state to state, international law itself can only be loosely and selectively applied. The only way international law can have any bearing on Israel’s efforts to protect itself from the war being waged against it is if it is used honestly and faithfully to prosecute those who continue to wish Israel harm.
The new “Boycott Law” is the latest tool in Israel’s defense arsenal. It is long past time that Israel’s legislators enact such laws to protect this country’s interests and block the efforts of our enemies to destroy us. The very identity of the groups complaining about the law only serves to prove how vital this law really is.