Wednesday, July 13, 2011

No, No, No to the Boycott Law

I confess:
I do not support the settlements
I do not support the Occupation
I do not support the siege on Gaza
I do not support any of the actions taken by the government and the IDF to curtail basic human and civil rights

I further confess:
I agree with international law, that the settlements in the West Bank are illegal. Not some, not those that are deemed illegal outposts by the Israeli government, that in spite of them being categorized as such by the Israeli government still provide them with paved roads and lights and garbage removal and security, but ALL.

And so:
When I buy pretzels, I do not buy pretzels made in a certain place over a certain line that has a color name
When I buy cosmetics and lotions, I do not buy from a certain company that is not within this certain line that has a color name
When I undertake academic work, I do not consider collaboration with a certain institution that is in that area, over that line

As an Israeli citizen of a democratic country, I have the right to refrain from buying foods or cosmetics I want from certain manufacturers. I have the right to choose with whom to undertake research, and with whom not.

All you other Israeli citizens: YOU TOO HAVE THE RIGHT. This is called democracy.

I cannot take the credit for this wonderful ideology and form of governance called democracy. Great people who came before me came up with this idea that honors people and is based in human freedom and dignity.

For example, the founders of our country, who wrote and signed our Israeli Declaration of Independence declared the central and integral place that democracy and freedom would have in our state. I have included below some long excerpts from this binding declaration. [The text can be found on the official website of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. So for those wondering, our MFA knows what principles are country is based on, and even publishes this binding declaration on their website - for the full text, click here]:

ERETZ-ISRAEL...was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom...Jews re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland... they returned in their masses. Pioneers...and defenders, they made deserts bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built villages and towns, and created a thriving community controlling its own economy and culture, loving peace but knowing how to defend itself....

In the year 5657 (1897)... the First Zionist Congress convened and proclaimed the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country. This right was recognized in the Balfour Declaration of the 2nd November, 1917, and re-affirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations which... gave international sanction ... to the right of the Jewish people to rebuild its National Home.

The...massacre of millions of Jews in Europe  was another clear demonstration of the urgency of solving the problem of its homelessness by re-establishing in Eretz-Israel the Jewish State, which would open the gates of the homeland wide to every Jew and confer upon the Jewish people the status of a fully privileged member of the comity of nations... Jews...never ceased to assert their right to a life of dignity, freedom and honest toil in their national homeland...the Jewish community...contributed its full share to the struggle of the freedom- and peace-loving nations... On the 29th November, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly... call[ed] for the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel... This recognition...of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable. This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.


WE DECLARE... THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
WE the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions. WE EXTEND our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people...The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.


David Ben-Gurion

Daniel Auster
Mordekhai Bentov
Yitzchak Ben Zvi
Eliyahu Berligne
Fritz Bernstein
Rabbi Wolf Gold
Meir Grabovsky
Yitzchak Gruenbaum
Dr. Abraham Granovsky
Eliyahu Dobkin
Meir Wilner-Kovner
Zerach Wahrhaftig
Herzl Vardi
Rachel Cohen
Rabbi Kalman Kahana
Saadia Kobashi
Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Levin
Meir David Loewenstein
Zvi Luria
Golda Myerson
Nachum Nir
Zvi Segal
Rabbi Yehuda Leib Hacohen Fishman
David Zvi Pinkas
Aharon Zisling
Moshe Kolodny
Eliezer Kaplan
Abraham Katznelson
Felix Rosenblueth
David Remez
Berl Repetur
Mordekhai Shattner
Ben Zion Sternberg
Bekhor Shitreet
Moshe Shapira
Moshe Shertok

To all of my fellow Israelis living in this country that we have fought so hard to achieve and to keep - without democracy, human dignity, freedom, justice, we are nothing.

When we try to squelch non-violent dissent, we go against our Declaration of Independence

When we try to mandate political thought, ideology and conscience, we trample human rights.

No, No, No to the Boycott Law.
YES to freedom and democracy.

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