Israel's Boycott Bill
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Next Monday – July, 18, 2011 – Israel would reject the rule of law yet another time. That day the Knesset is scheduled to perform the two last votes (Israeli laws are approved by a three votes’ process) on Hok HaHerem – namely the Boycott Bill. The law specifies that whoever is harmed by a boycott would be able to sue the boycotter for “exemplary indemnification,” meaning punitive damages, a concept absent until now in the Israeli system. The key point is that not proof would be needed in order to get punitive damages.
“Great!” – is thinking now a proud carnivore – “I’ll sue the vegetarians, they not buying meat is a type of boycott!” There are precedents to such damages, a boycott on cottage cheese recently took place in Israel and damaged the dairy industry.
Don’t rush to court for that and don’t plan on how to spend the rightfully earned compensation. The Boycott Bill is very specific. Suing nasty vegetarians is not possible since the law is limited to boycotts against the illegal settlements in the West Bank. Ban cottage from Ariel and you would be sued; ban feta cheese from Tel Aviv and you would be kosher. Ban Palestine and you are a hero; boycott the Gilo settlement and you are the devil. Law has never been more relative.
The bill will also restrict the freedom of occupation since it bans boycotters of participating in governmental bids or applying for governmental jobs. Moreover, it creates an intimidating effect on citizens, since people would need to unnecessarily worry about the legitimacy of deciding not to consume a specific product. This is a serious offense against personal freedom which doesn’t exist n any other country. The closest law exists in the USA, where it is illegal for American corporations to operate in countries that have declared boycott on the USA. Yet, this is very far from the Israeli Boycott Bill.
The intimidation exists also in a more basic level. The word “Herem” in Hebrew is much stronger than “boycott.” “Herem” is the highest religious censure in Judaism, meaning the total exclusion of the person from the community; the term implies even destruction of the person being banned. The most violent examples exist in the Book of Joshua where cities like Jericho and Ai were destroyed as result of a Herem. Whole groups of people were destroyed under a “herem;” Deuteronomy 20 describes that for the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Sadly, ehe definition of the law’s name is deceitful; Hebrew speakers unaware of its details would suspect it declares a “herem” on others because of the Biblical connotations of the word. As such, the law becomes doubly evil.
Overall, the whole issue is clearly a result of the Mosaic Law, the Old Testament. It heavily relies on concepts like unforgiveness, hatred, and punishment of descendants for transgressions committed by ancestors. It discriminates and harms. As such it is an awesome reminder on the vast distance between Judaism and Christianity; actually both are an ocean apart.
Do you want to say “No!” to the Rule of Evil? Send a request to all Knesset members to vote against the Boycott Bill from here.
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