Members of the Joint Arab List gesture during a news conference in Nazareth, January 23.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
There was a feeling that something was new in the way the Joint List invested in Hebrew outreach during and after its election campaign; however, its recent spate of boycott calls have worked to severely undermine the little progress it had made.
The Joint List put a great deal of time and resources into its Hebrew-language election campaign and its leader, Ayman Odeh (Hadash) has consistently voiced his wish for democracy, equality and integration, while speaking on Hebrew TV stations, yet such efforts are viewed skeptically by the Jewish public, especially in light of its recent boycott campaign.
The Arab-Jewish Hadash Party, which is the most moderate of the parties in the Joint List, declared this week that it supports boycotting Israeli companies in the settlements.
“Hadash welcomes all expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people in its just struggle, including boycotting commercial enterprises that are involved in the occupation and in violation of the Palestinian people’s rights,” the party said. “This is a legitimate manner of civil resistance.”
Representatives from the three other parties of the Joint List – the southern Islamic Movement’s United Arab List, Ta’al and Balad – confirmed to The Jerusalem Post
that they also back this position. For them, boycotting the settlements is nothing new.
Ta’al chairman Ahmad Tibi has been calling for a boycott for some time. In a speech in the European Parliament last year, he called for a boycott of the settlements and their produce as part of a legitimate struggle against what he called occupation.
A Hadash source told the Post
that this is the first time that Hadash as a party has come out officially to support a settlement products boycott, adding that there were voices in the party that had supported it previously.
The Hadash declaration only relates to goods from the settlements, and the party does not support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement or a general boycott of Israel, the source clarified.
Not to be outdone, the next day right-wing nationalist Balad MK Basel Ghattas announced his support for BDS.
“The boycott is only the beginning of a process that cannot be reversed. As long as Israel continues the occupation, the boycott will continue and justly so,” said Ghattas.
Therefore, any good will which Odeh and his fellow Joint List MKs gained from their outreach efforts, has quickly dissipated and set the stage for more radical positions and clashes with Jewish MKs and the government in the coming months.
Just as the Israeli government moves into high gear to fight BDS, the Joint List is moving in the opposite direction and is likely to find itself as a target in this struggle.Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.