Zehava Galon spoke in the Knesset today. She argued that Israel’s policies, the rhetoric of Israel’s right wing politicians, and, in particular, the continuation of the expansion of settlements and the occupation are the causes behind the calls to boycott Israel. She stated clearly: “My friends and I oppose a boycott of Israel.”
She later posted the gist of her speech on Facebook. The following is a translation. You can read the original in Hebrew here.
The Right wing wants us to believe that the recent boycott initiatives and international pressure on Israel are the result of anti-Semitism. They want us to believe that anyone who criticizes the occupation and the settlements would like to see Israel vanish. This argument serves the rhetoric of intimidation that we have learned to identify with Netanyahu while simultaneously allowing the government to avoid addressing the accusations of the international community.
Perhaps this is the reason why Netanyahu and his right wing government best serve those who call for a boycott of Israel and the BDS movement. After all, neither leftist organizations nor the BDS movement declared on Election Day that the “Arabs are flocking to the polls” clip. Those calling for boycott did not initiate the segregation of Arabs and Jews on buses in the occupied territories. And students in London were not the ones who threatened the Palestinian Football Federation president with imprisonment in the Muqata [the Palestinian government compound in Ramallah] so he could play football with his comrades.
Translation Note: Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz responded to FIFA’s decision by posting a Facebook status which read: “Jibril Rajoub [Palestinian Football Federation president] failed in his plot to kick Israel out of FIFA. Now is the time to jail him in the Muqata and let him play football with his comrades!”
When the ministers are doing such a good job helping the boycott movement, it is clear that Israel’s problem is neither inefficient propaganda [hasbara] nor manning the Ministry of Foreign Affairs […]. The problem is that Israel not only holds millions of Palestinians under occupation and gives them different rights than Jews living in the same area, but it also does nothing to change this situation. In fact, it is rather proud of its actions.
This is only one way to remove the boycott threat: stop burying our heads in the sand and saying that the whole world is anti-Semitic. Instead we should understand that Israel’s international status will continue to deteriorate as long as it continues the “conflict management” policy. The only way to stop the “political tsunami” is by ending the occupation and negotiating two states for two peoples.
One more thing, the boycott initiatives and the BDS movements are unpleasant but they should not be underestimated. They prove that the government’s conflict management policy and settlement expansion have an international cultural, academic and economic price. This price is still nothing in comparison to the death toll, bereavement and moral decay we pay for this policy. These prices threaten Israel’s existence as a democratic state much more than any boycott movement.