Boycotts Are a Great Jewish Tradition

The anti-boycott law is a deviation from the ancient Jewish tradition; only an ignoramus when it comes to Torah could be caught in such an heretical act.

And more about the Boycott Law, which was passed this week by irresponsible people, while the frightened captain hid in the belly of the ship. The 18th Knesset will become infamous as for being light-headed but causing heavy damage, which is probably irreparable.

It seems everything possible has already been said about this law: That it's anti-democratic and anti-constitutional, and exposes Israel to public disgrace. But nobody has said that it's a deviation from the ancient Jewish tradition, from a rich national culture. Only someone lacking in Jewish awareness, an ignoramus when it comes to Torah, could be caught in such an heretical act.

What is the value of purification and cleansing on Yom Kippur eve, in the Kol Nidrei prayer, without the boycotts of the preceding year and those to be decreed in the coming year? And how can we be released after the fact from all the vows, obligations, oaths or anathemas, if we didn't impose them in the first place? The new law obviates the purpose of the prayer.

After all, it's well known that every good Jew needs at least two synagogues, one to pray in and one to boycott: He will not set foot in it under threat of death, nor cross its threshold. A congregation that does not have a few ostracized people or institutions cannot be considered a holy and mentally sound congregation; and a boycott on Shabbat is a pleasure.

It's not clear that boycotting and ostracism are a Jewish invention, but there's no question that Jews are among its outstanding developers. Some kind of demon suddenly entered this coalition, which is inciting it to deeds that are not part of Jewish nature - for that alone they deserve to be boycotted.

I would expect the minister of education - another deserter from the Knesset plenum - who nurtures heritage and Israeli culture studies, to enlighten his culturally disadvantaged colleagues: What do you have to do with this legislation - as though you were "post-Jews" - that ignores the boycott that was imposed on Akavia Ben Mahalel; that rejects Shimon Ben Shetach, who wanted to boycott Honi the Circle-Maker; that hardens itself against Rabbi Gershom - the "Light of the Diaspora" - whom we would probably not remember were it not for his boycott.

And where are those guys Baruch Spinoza and Uriel D'Acosta, whose names are familiar to the initiators of the law only due to the boycott imposed on them by the rabbis of Holland, and not necessarily due to their philosophical teachings?

And how will we learn and be taught about historical boycotts of Hasidim against Mitnagdim, and mainly Mitnagdim against Hasidim? And about the Orthodox world that observes negiah (prohibition against physical contact between unmarried men and women ), and has been excommunicating the Reform movement for over 200 years.

How goodly are your boycotts, O Jacob, your ostracized ones, O Israel, only some of which we have enumerated, and why interrupt a magnificent historical chain? But the minister of education is silent, finding refuge in the den of the patriarchs.

The law is not only anti-Jewish, it is anti-Zionist. The path of the nascent state was paved with boycotts: Boazim (Jewish farmers ) boycotting halutzim (pioneers ) and vice versa; protectors of Israeli produce boycotting Arab labor; Ze'ev Jabotinsky boycotting the Zionist Histadrut labor federation, and David Ben-Gurion paying him back.

If only the disciples of Jabotinsky had learned how to break - yes, to break - and not only how to boycott. But as post-Zionists, they knew only how to climb the iron wall.

And eventually, after independence, Ben-Gurion removed Herut (the forerunner of Likud ) and Maki (the Israel Communist Party ) from the Israeli community and buried them outside the fence. They were great men, the founding fathers, with great boycotts and great dreams; their successors are grasshoppers, for whom even a small boycott is too big.

Faithful to tradition, let us boycott settlements and their products, and even call on others to follow in our footsteps. And we won't be counted among post-Jews and Zionists, the new Hellenists, Zeev Elkin and his partners. And the more they legislate for us, the more we will violate unacceptable laws. Because there is no longer a choice: If we don't want to swallow them, then we can only vomit them out.