If boycotting is a crime then I am a criminal

Will Israel really punish thousands of citizens that are ostensibly breaking the law? However, if they aren't punished, how will this reflect on the Knesset? The legislation must therefore be reversed.

Peace Now boycott law_311 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Peace Now boycott law_311
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
A new law was passed in Israel last week. On July 11, the Knesset decided that every individual or institution that intentionally refrains from doing business with an individual or an institution in Israeli-controlled territories can be punished for doing so.
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How bothersome.
What is someone like me to do? I not only refrain from conducting business and maintaining cultural contacts with institutions within the territories, I also refrain from intentionally visiting these places. As I have been doing for at least ten years now.
Does this new law expect me to start buying products manufactured in the territories? Or to go and watch plays in Ariel’s cultural center?
If I am sued and brought to trial, I will not hide the fact that I intentionally boycotted the settlements. However, if I am not sued, how will this reflect on the Knesset? It will surely be criticized for not implementing its own legislation.
And what will happen to the thousands of Israelis who reacted to the new law by publishing an open call to continue boycotting settlements products?
Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin recently published a courageous article strongly criticizing the so-called "boycott law," saying that it will damage Israel's international standing and will play into the hands of those around the globe who are challenging Israel's democratic nature. Bless you Mr. Speaker, you are right, but how come half of the Knesset members don’t agree with you? Is it because they do not care about Israel's democracy, or are they indifferent to the issue of the Jewish state's international standing?
Therefore, I call upon Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu—who himself admitted that the law would not have been passed without his approval—to please reconsider this legislation. We deserve better than some suicidal law that will further damage Israel’s image globally.
In addition, suing all of us for transgressing the anti- boycott law will place Israel on a par with its neighbors, the same neighbors that Netanyahu himself condemns for being anti-democratic.
Its time for our prime minister to start dealing with the more serious issues that concern Israel's future, and to stop wasting time on cheap political gimmicks.
The writer, a former chargé d’affaires in Turkey and ambassador to South Africa, was director-general of the Foreign Ministry between 2000 and 2001. Today he lectures at Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University and the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya.