יום חמישי, 28 במאי 2015

On the boycott Israel movement

A recent debate goes around the Palestinian request to suspend Israel from FIFA - the international football (soccer) federation - due to its policies of occupation in Palestine. This comes as a result of Israel's restrictions on the freedom of movement of Palestinian soccer players and its disruption of Palestinian soccer, not to mention Israeli soccer teams playing at illegal settlements. This is an important struggle - as Israel is finding more and more that its policy of illegal settlements and brutal occupation of Palestine has a price. One could imagine, for example, a struggle against the celebrated Israeli basketball team, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, at the European championship; a country which violates the rights of its neighbors should be shamed when entering such a competition.

But this goes beyond soccer; Marinah Gracias, a Spanish singer, has decided to boycott Méditerranée Festival in Ashdod in June due to Israel's actions in the occupied territories. The international telecommunication company Orange also had to distance itself from its Israeli branch due to allegations of collaboration between it and the occupation regime. Part of it was a struggle in Egypt, where Orange owns one of the biggest telecom companies, against this company due to its connection to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine. More and more bodies are divesting themselves from Israel, whose government is repressing the Palestinian population and building settlements on private Palestinian land.

As an Israeli citizen, I want to express my support of this struggle. "My" government does not represent all or most people in this country, and is their enemy, and also the enemy of many Jewish people in Israel. Last Tuesday I went to a local discussion between activists about the BDS and the government's response, the "boycott law". According to this law, any Israeli group or person who boycotts Israeli goods of any kind (also settlement goods) for political reasons is exposed to civil lawsuits by any business harmed by this boycott, as long as damage could be proven. International bodies can also be sued, but if for example and Israeli citizen signs a petition by a foreign body calling for boycott, he cannot be sued for his or her signature.

As an Israeli citizen, I hope that this pressure would force "my" government to abandon its policy of occupation and settlement and help build real peace in this country.

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