American Silence Typical as New Israeli Law Attacks Free Speech
Pay attention to the American political establishment’s tone with respect to Israel, and it’s safe to conclude that the Jewish state is a beacon of freedom in the region, the most noble of democracies, and a defender of all things right. They’ll tell you Israel only wants peace, supports a two state solution, and seeks to co-exist with its Palestinian neighbors. In fact, the devotion runs so deep that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was lavished with an opulent reception that President Obama would pine for when addressing Congress a few months back. But things aren’t as they appear.
Dig through the typical American propaganda about Israel and a completely different picture comes into focus. Whether it’s the expansion of settlements, bombings, or the Gaza blockade, Israel’s actions are antithetical to the sophistry emanating from the American political class. For a country claiming to uphold the values of a free democracy, they certainly have a funny way of showing it.
Recently, the Israeli legislature passed a new law making it a punishable offense to engage in any public speech calling for boycotts against Israel or its settlements in the West Bank. Those who violate the law “could face lawsuits and monetary penalties. Companies or organizations supporting a boycott could be disqualified from participating in bids for government work. Nonprofit organizations issuing boycott calls risk losing tax benefits.” This pernicious attack on freedom of speech and assembly within its own borders is no way for an alleged “free” democracy to act. You might expect a law this objectionable to the core ideals and values of the US Constitution to warrant serious condemnation from American lawmakers – but alas, nothing.
Certainly, this new law will not singlehandedly stymie the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Rather, it is the latest example of typical action taken by Israel that further delegitimizes its world standing and the emblematic failure of American politicians to voice any discontent – not exactly what you expect from a country desperately seeking acceptance from the global community. Claiming to represent forces for virtue, justice, and freedom in a region marred by tyranny and hostility is noble; however, actions speak volumes.
Regardless of the rhetoric flowing from Israel or its enablers in the American government, they obviously care little about creating the conditions for a lasting peace, or maintaining an efficient, vibrant society. Rule of law and equality for all are inherent in a democracy, and the Israeli government must employ these principles if they desire concord. In stark contrast to grandiose statements about their righteousness, this law, like many policies before it, only serve to further isolate Israel within the Middle East and the rest of the world – making the possibility of a sustainable peace all the more difficult.