Progressive Movement adds its Voice to BDS Legislation

July 15, 2011 Agencies
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The Union for Progressive Judaism (UPJ) and ARZA (Australian Reform Zionist Association) join Jewish leaders in Israel and around the world in opposing new legislation passed in Israel.

On Tuesday the Knesset passed legislation that will allow civil proceedings against individuals or organizations found to be instigators of anti-Israel boycotts and will bar companies from bidding for Israeli government tenders if they participate in boycotts, including in the West Bank.

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, executive director of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), who recently visited Australia and Anat Hoffman, director of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) who is visiting next month characterized the law as anti-democratic and anti-pluralistic and were joined by Barbara Ford, chair of ARZA in stating “We emphatically do not support boycott as a means to delegitimize the State of Israel,” they said. “Progressive Judaism in Israel and throughout the world stands against international actors who are taking steps to harm Israel’s legitimacy and to isolate the country. However, the attempt to prevent a boycott by means of legislation is much more dangerous than the use of the boycott and may cause greater damage to the strength of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

“The law that was recently approved by the Knesset actually provides support to those calling for boycotts and isolation of Israel and in this sense, the law is both unjust and unintelligent at the same time. Therefore, the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism condemns the Knesset’s adoption of the ‘Boycott Law’, a law that penalizes a form of non-violent protest against government policies and severely infringes on the fundamental right to freedom of expression.

“This law is yet another sad addition to a series of anti-democratic, anti-pluralistic laws recklessly being passed by the current Israeli Knesset in its efforts to silence opposition.  The Jewish tradition embraces public debate and controversy.  As our sages teach us: “These are the words of the Living God.” The Knesset would do wisely to heed this teaching,” said Kariv and Hoffman.

“We totally support the leadership of the Israel Movement.  This is a clear case where two wrongs do not make it right” said UPJ Executive Director, Steve Denenberg “While we are totally opposed to any boycotts or sanctions we are gravely concerned when the Government of Israel makes non-violent protest a criminal act.  Israel is the bastion of democracy in the Middle East but such legislation undermines this position and only serves those who seek to deny Israel’s democratic basis.  The passage of the anti-boycott legislation, and other recent decisions by the Knesset, tarnishes the open, inclusive, democratic Israel for which we all work each day.”

“Rather than having to speak out against this legislation we would prefer to be working with Israel to combat the odious efforts to delegitimize her and to encourage our communities to provide moral and financial support.”


2 Responses to “Progressive Movement adds its Voice to BDS Legislation”
  1. MICHAEL BURD says:

    The Progressives never fail an opportunity to criticize or condemn Israel for something or another ,with friends like these who needs enemies.

    The Australian progressives are the best Palestinian advocates they have.

    Michael Burd

  2. Otto Waldmann says:

    “Silencing opposition” is the inherent DUTY of any political forces fighting their …opposition. Do you really expect Israel to…encourage its opponents ??!!!
    Israel has allowed opposing elements to enjoy liberties with such impunity that, times-circumstances demand measures which may look draconic, but also necessary, condidering the circumstances created by the known abuses of liberties. These have been abuses which have seen Israelis threatened by vociferous and bitter opponents enagaged in all manner of drasticaly UNdemocratic manifestations.
    Aligned with open enemies of the State of Israel, whether willingly and responsible or not, the purveyors of limtless democratic practices must learn that there are limits to privileges and due consideration must be given to those who, just as legally, have embraced ideologies which may disturb and displease the dedicated partisans of “democracy by denial”. I expect the opposing views to embrace and run away with the notion of “denial”. I am referring,however,to the violent denial to the settlers, for example, to exercise their RIGHT to express ,just as legally, their beliefs, that Judaism contains also the dimension of embracing ancestral Jewish lands with passion and decency, something cruelly lacking among the violent and so called peaceful opponents of anything fundamentally Jewish.

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