Boycott the state of Israel, not just the settlements

Yousef Munayyer writes:

Recent legislation passed in the Israeli Knesset, which many people call the “Anti-BDS” bill, has raised a number of questions about a rising tide of “fascism” in Israel. This language is not only used by Palestinian critics, who have long borne the brunt of Israel’s undemocratic policies. Now, many Israeli and Jewish-American writers can no longer ignore the trend.

If something good has come out of the passage of this legislation, it is two things: First, a growing number of people are recognizing that the Zionist aim – the imposition of an ethnocentric majority by force in a territory where the majority of the native inhabitants are disenfranchised – is fundamentally and inherently undemocratic. Second, the passage of this bill has brought discussion of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to the foreground.

While increased discussion about BDS will only strengthen the movement, a troubling trend has become apparent in some of the commentaries on BDS written in response to the passage of the “Anti-BDS” bill. This is the assertion that boycotting colonies or settlement goods is acceptable, while boycotting the Israeli state or Israeli products outside of the occupied territories is somehow unacceptable.

For many, this argument may be made with consideration for political strategy and not based on moral underpinnings or clarity. There is undoubtedly a hesitation among some who have embraced BDS as a strategy to extend BDS activities beyond products produced in the colonies and settlements.

This attitude is particularly prevalent among Zionists who recognize the danger the occupation poses for Israel, but do not want to be seen as targeting Israel itself. The BDS tent is growing nonetheless, regardless of what part of the occupation system is targeted. This is clearly threatening to Israel. The greatest evidence of the threat this poses is that the state felt threatened enough by the BDS movement to attempt to stop it through legislative repression.

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