Saturday, June 12, 2010

Israel plans to send bill to Palestinians over boycotts.

It doesn't surprise me in the least that there has been an inevitable reaction to the Israeli attack on the freedom flotilla and that artistes are now boycotting Israel.

After last week's deadly raid on the flotilla, US rock band The Pixies cancelled their gig. Several other bands have followed suit, prompting Israeli music promoter Shuki Weiss to complain that performers are waging a form of "cultural terrorism".
Is there no act which is not an act of "terrorism?" I mean, seriously, every time people misuse that term they rob it of all meaning.

But it's the reaction of right wing Israelis which I find so appalling.

Embattled and increasingly isolated, a group of politicians are now proposing a bill that would outlaw boycotts against the Jewish State, both homegrown and international.

The Land of Israel, a right-wing parliamentary lobby group committed to Jewish settlement of the West Bank, submitted the bill with the support of 25 politicians from right wing and centrist parties. If approved, it could theoretically force the Palestinian Authority (PA) to pay thousands of dollars in compensation to Jewish businesses affected by the Fayyad-led boycott campaign, a scenario that would likely spark furious reaction from Palestinians.

So now the Palestinians will have to pay for any financial losses incurred by the people who are occupying and oppressing them. I'm sorry, but that's insane.

Human rights activists, meanwhile, decried efforts by politicians to alienate those critical of Israel with new legislation. "We have wild right-wing politicians presenting wild demagogic bills ... which create a very nasty public atmosphere," said Adam Keller, spokesman for Gush Shalom, an Israeli NGO that has joined calls for a boycott of settler-made goods. "If this is passed into law, it would mean a total breakdown between Israel and the PA."

Israel has condemned Mr Fayyad's boycott campaign as harmful to the fragile peace process, and Israeli settler leaders have urged the government to respond with harsh retaliatory measures.

Should the proposal gain traction in its current form, it would force boycotters to pay compensation to settlers who claim their business had suffered. It would also affect foreign citizens calling for a boycott of Israel, potentially barring them from Israel for 10 years.

I think the current Israeli government is amongst the most right wing I can remember. And it's inevitable, given the way which they behave, that people are going to want to boycott them.

That their answer to this is to make the Palestinians financially responsible for any loss they incur from worldwide condemnation of their actions, only stresses how extreme a group of people the current Israeli government are.

Click here for full article.

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