***UPDATE: The Knesset passed this bill into law on March 6, 2017*** APN's statement condemning passage of the law is here.
The Israeli Knesset
is poised to vote on on March 6, 2017 passed legislation that
would will ban entry to Israel of foreigners who support or publicly engage in boycotts
of either Israel or settlements. APN’s backgrounder on the bill is here. Key points to understand:
- This legislation is aimed at a basic civil liberty: the freedom of expression. Boycotting and calling for boycotts are legitimate forms of peaceful, political expression protected in any democracy.
- Passage of this legislation will send a message to the Israeli public that legitimate political expression is verboten, further quashing dissent.
- Passage of this legislation will send a message to the world that the Israeli government is throwing out basic democratic norms in its effort to quash peaceful opposition and criticism of its policies.
- With this legislation, the Israeli government and Knesset are making common cause with the anti-democratic policies on the rise in the United States, including Trump Administration immigration policies vehemently opposed by the bulk of the U.S. Jewish community that are antithetical to progressive Jewish values.
APN: "We fiercely reject and condemn this outrageous bill. Should it pass into law, it will be an ugly stain on Israel. It will add Israel to the club of nations that treat non-violent protest as a crime, and that irrationally believe that closing borders can prevent the spread of ideas. If this legislation passes into law, APN will challenge it."
Whether or not they support boycotts of Israel (APN does not), American Jews should be appalled at the prospect of Israel adopting a policy that would be more at home in the old Soviet Union or North Korea than in a progressive democracy.
Whether or not they support boycotts of settlements (APN does), American Jews should be outraged and heartbroken at the prospect of seeing Israel becoming a nation that bars entry to people – including Jews and other supporters of Israel – for the “crime” of peacefully opposing Israeli policies.