After winning early elections + forming coalition, Netanyahu vows to fight… the calls for boycott

Israel’s re-elected Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has announced he’s dedicating some 100 million shekels to “to combat the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS)”, as YNet reported here. According to the YNet report, Netanyahu will give his Strategic Affairs and Information Minister Gilad Erdan “10 new positions for employees who will deal solely with the boycott and de-legitimization activities against Israel”.

Haaretz’ veteran “Twilight Zone” correspondent Gideon Levy wrote today in Haaretz: “What are you defending? What are you fighting for? … As usual, there are questions that are not even asked. Soul-searching, after all, is a clear sign of weakness. And so an explanation has been invented that absolves us of responsibility: The boycott fell out of the sky, an unavoidable force majeure of Israel hatred, and the only way to fight it is to fight right back at them”…

Levy added:

    “Israel is now defending the preservation of the status quo. It is fighting against the whole world to preserve its advanced school of brutality and cruelty, in which it is educating generations of young people to act brutishly toward human beings, old people and children, to tyrannize them, to bark at them, to crush and humiliate them, only because they are Palestinians. Israel is defending the continuation of apartheid in the occupied territories, in which two peoples live, one of them without any rights…

    “It is defending its entire system of justification for this — a combination of Bible stories, messianism and victimhood, accompanied by lies. It is defending “united Jerusalem,” which is nothing but a territorial monster where separation also exists. It is fighting for its right to destroy the Gaza Strip for as long as it cares to do so, to maintain it as a ghetto and to be the warden of the biggest prison in the world.

    The Israelis are fighting for their right to persist in settling, exploiting and stealing land; to continue breaking international law that prohibits settlement, to continue to thumb its nose at the whole world, which does not recognize any settlements. They are now defending their right to shoot children who throw stones and helpless fishermen pursuing the crumbs of a livelihood in the sea off the coast of Gaza, their right to continue snatching people from their beds in the middle of the night in the West Bank; they are fighting for the right to detain hundreds of people without trial, to hold political prisoners, to abuse them.

    That is what they are protecting, that is what they are fighting for — for an area that most of them have not been to for years, and don’t care what happens there, for conduct that is shameful even to some of them”…

This Gideon Levy piece was published here

Coming at this from another angle, Eva Illouz wrote in Haaretz more than a year ago that making a comparison to slavery might yield a better analysis:

    “What does it mean for a country to have created such conditions of slavery for a people, and yet fail to register it? … We do not know what the occupation is, and we do not know what it is because language itself has been colonized. By defining it in military terms, Israelis fail to see what the world sees. Israelis see terrorists and enemies, and the world sees weak, dispossessed and persecuted people. The world reacts with moral outrage at Israel’s continued domination of Palestinians, and Israel ridicules such moral outrage as an expression of double standards. The world sees Israeli tanks and military technology against Palestinian, homeless people, but Israel sees these denunciations as self-hatred or anti-Semitism. The world wants a just solution, and Israel sees the demand for justice as a threat to its existence.

    In that sense, the debate dividing the Jewish people is more difficult than the debate about slavery, because there is no agreement even on how to properly name the vast enterprise of domination that has been created in the territories. If Britain at the beginning of the 19th century understood that it couldn’t keep claiming that it represented the enlightened values of freedom and humanity and engage in the barbaric commerce of slaves, Israel is more embarrassed, for in a way it doesn’t know that it’s engaged in an enterprise it cannot justify”… This is published here.

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