Thursday, July 14, 2011

When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty - Israeli activists and the new anti-boycott laws

Dear friends,
As you may be aware, the Israeli Knesset on Monday night (Israeli time, 11 July) passed a new law making it illegal to call for, advocate or participate in a boycott against the Israeli state, its institutions or any Israeli citizen. In addition, the new law makes it illegal to call for a boycott of Israel’s settlements or products manufactured in these colonies which are illegal under international law.

In effect, the new law normalises Israel's occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, erasing the "greenline" (1967 armistice line), as it does not differentiate between Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Under the new law, any NGO which calls for or participates in a boycott against Israel will be denied tax exemption status. Any individual who does the same will be open to legal action. Any litigant can claim damages against both individuals and organisations for the advocating or participating in a boycott of Israel and be awarded financial compensation WITHOUT having to prove that the call for boycott or that an actual boycott has caused him/her and/or the company any financial damages.

Israeli activists both before the passing of the law and after the passing of the law are mobilising to campaign against it. Tali Shapiro and Bekah Wolf, who are just two of the amazing Israeli activists involved in the joint popular struggle and who I have been very lucky to meet in the Occupied Territories, have already issued public statements in support of an Israeli boycott. In issuing their statements, Tali and Bekah, are actively, deliberately and proudly breaking Israeli law.
It should be noted that In the time that it has taken me to put this email together, more and more Israelis have begun to join Tali and Becca, issuing a public statement announcing their support for a boycott of Israel. One such activist, who also issued a statement is Ofer Neiman, who spoke via skype at the first National BDS Conference in Australia in 2010. No doubt many other Israeli activists, in coming days, will engage in similar “illegal” acts, which actively and deliberately seek to break Israeli law.

I have included below, a copy of both Tali and Bekah’s statements, as well as links to some articles by Israeli activists and commentators on the new anti-boycott law.
In addition to the individual stands being taken by activists like Tali, Becca and Ofer, the Israeli group Peace Now, which supports a selective boycott of settlements, has announced that it will publicly launch a campaign calling for boycott. According to reports in the media, more than 2000 people joined their boycott campaign facebook within a few hours (see also here)

Israeli human rights organsiations, Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel have announced that they will petition the Israeli High Court to have the law struck down

As the old saying goes: When Injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty!
Please support these inspiring “law breakers” and join the BDS campaign today!
In solidarity,

For more information on the new bill and what is means see:
explains the impact of the law and has a link to an English translation of the law
outlines the political ideology of the new law
why the law is undemocratic

Tali Shapiro

I call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against the State of Israelby Tali Shapiro on Tuesday, July 12, 2011
I call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against the State of Israel in order to harm the State of Israel by means of boycott. If this is not clear enough, I will clarify: I (Tal Shapira, ID number: 039986310) hereby call for any person to deliberately avoid economic, cultural or academic ties with another person or another factor only because of his ties with the State of Israel, one of its institutions or an area under its control, in such a way that may cause economic, cultural or academic damage. I knowingly publish a public call for a boycott against the State of Israel, hoping that according to the content and circumstances of the publication there is reasonable probability that the call will bring about a boycott; I am aware of this possibility.

אני קוראת לחרם, הימנעות מהשקעות וסנקציות על מדינת ישראל במטרה לפגוע במדינת ישראל באמצעות חרם. אם זה לא מספיק ברור, אבהיר: אני (טל שפירא, מס׳ תעודת־זיהוי: 039986310) קוראת בזאת לכל אדם באשר הוא להמנע במתכוון מקשר כלכלי, תרבותי או אקדמי עם אדם או עם גורם אחר, רק מחמת זיקתו למדינת ישראל, מוסד ממוסדותיה או איזור הנמצא בשליטתה, המנעות שיש בה כדי לפגוע בו פגיעה כלכלית, תרבותית או אקדמית. אני מפרסמת ביודעין קריאה פומבית זו להטלת חרם על מדינת ישראל, בתקווה שעל פי תוכנה של הקריאה והנסיבות שבהן פורסמה יש אפשרות סבירה שהקריאה תביא להטלת חרם כאמור; אני מודעת לאפשרות כאמור.
הקריאה הספציפית הזאת נוסחה במקור כאן:
מוזמנות ומוזמנים להטמיע את שמכןם ולהפיץ בנוט משלכןם.


Bekah Wolf


My name is Rebekah Wolf Gomez. I became an Israeli citizen in 2007 as the only way to ensure I would be able to stay with my husband, a Palestinian from the West Bank, and not fear deportation from the Israeli government, which they did do to me in 2005.
I unequivocally, unabashedly, and with total pride call on everyone across the world to Boycott Israel, in particular, everything called for for boycott by PACBI. I fully support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions and in all of my public speaking outside of Israel I call for support for BDS and will continue to do so.
I am making this statement because the Israeli government recently made it illegal to do so. There is much discussion about whether or not people should sign statements against it with their own names. People are referring to the "decline" in Israeli democracy. Many want to know the risk involved.

My husband, the people of his village, and indeed in all of Palestine, have not had the luxury of deciding how "risky" an act of defiance against Israeli occupation and apartheid will be. So long as Palestinians risk imprisonment, injury, and death for the sake of freedom, I won't cower in the face of much less risk. I think every other Israeli citizen should do the same. Worry about having your bank accounts frozen is no excuse at all.

Israel: come and get me. Tariq Al Ayn, Beit Ommar. The military's knows the way.

[NOTE from Kim: Bekah’s husband is Mousa Abu Maria, one of the leaders of the non-violent struggle in Beit Ommar. Bekah is one of the co-founders of the Palestine Solidarity Project based in Beit Ommar ]

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