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Five Ways Israel Will Make You Hate Israel This Week

There was a time when commentators wryly observed that Israel acts like a country which wants people to hate it and boycott it. After this week, there's nothing wry about it.

Bradley Burston
Bradley Burston
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, March 5, 2017.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, March 5, 2017.Credit: Marc Israel Sellem
Bradley Burston
Bradley Burston

There was a time when commentators wryly observed that Israel acts like a country which wants people to hate it and boycott it.

After this week, there's nothing wry about it.

Here, in ascending order of fury-inducement, are five ways Israel will make you hate Israel this week. And the week is still young.


Mary Anne Grady Flores of Ithaca, N.Y., wears tape over her mouth during a rally in the War Room at the state Capitol on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, in Albany, N.Y. Credit: Mike Groll, AP

With exquisite timing, coinciding perfectly with Donald Trump's signing his Muslim Ban 2.0, the Knesset Monday approved one of the most anti-Israel edicts ever conceived.

The new Israeli law essentially creates a travel ban to be enforced by brain police. It would deny visitors entry to Israel if they were deemed to have called for boycotting Israel or the settlements.

In his government's version of a travel ban, Benjamin Netanyahu just handed the BDS movement to boycott, divestment from and sanction Israel – a movement already enormously and explicitly grateful to Bibi for its success – its most valuable single donation ever.

In one stroke, the new law simultaneously validates a range of the worst claims which Israel's critics level against the country. They include the following:

Apartheid - The moment Israel officially equates Israel and the West Bank, which this law does, the government is declaring support for parallel systems of laws, aid, infrastructure and rights for the residents of the West Bank, one for its Jews and one entirely separate and unequal system for its Palestinians.

Also - a Jim Crow-type segregation regime (See A. above); criminalization of non-violent protest; and denial of democracy in the implementation of laws fostering incipient fascism.

It drives the Netanyahu government nuts that there are large numbers of progressive Jews who oppose BDS but nonetheless boycott the settlements.

Just as there are large numbers of progressive Jews who oppose boycotts in general, but vehemently oppose this law.

Summing up the effect of the new law, the progressive, pro-Israel Ameinu organization remarked: "Israel Undermines its Own Legitimacy With New Boycott Ban Law"


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a tunnel near the Gaza border, May 3, 2016.Credit: Amos Ben Gershom

In his report on Israel's longest war, Operation Protective Edge, the State Comptroller ruled that Netanyahu bore primary responsibility for steering Israel toward escalation against Hamas in Gaza, and that he rejected out of hand diplomatic alternatives which might have prevented the war or perhaps shortened it.

The war took the lives of more than 2,000 Palestinians, hundreds of them children, and more than 70 Israelis.

The war also cost Israel dearly in terms of international standing.

Netanyahu, the report said, also paid little attention to warnings by military brass of the effect that Gaza's terrible infrastructure and economic plight could have on hostilities. He also dismissed proposals on ways to aid Gaza's population as an alternative to war.

He continues to do so. Just this week a proposal to aid Gaza with an offshore harbor was reportedly buried by Netanyahu for the umpteenth time.


Likud MK Oren Hazan at the Knesset, June 2016.Credit: Emil Salman

Debating the issue of a Palestinian state, and with Palestinian Israeli MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List) chairing the Knesset debate, Hazan exclaimed:

"We're gonna shut your mouths and we're going to speak the truth. There is no Palestinian People. And there has never been a Palestinian People [in Hebrew, Am Ha'Falastinai].

However, he continued, "There is a Palestinian Moron, [in vulgar Hebrew slang, Ama Falastinai]. And you will stay a Palestinian Moron. And you know that even 'Ama' [a brand of dish detergent liquid] is worth more than the Palestinians."


Zohar, speaking to Channel i24News on Sunday, foresaw Israel annexing the West Bank in the future. He insisted that the one-state alternative would be democratic, but added that he did not expect Palestinians to meet the requirements for the right to vote.

"They will get full rights and all the needs to get to prospect and to succeed here in this country," Zohar said.

"My idea [is] that we can let them vote for the Knesset with only three things that they need to do like every other citizen: One, to go the army or to go to serve the country like everyone here in Israel is obligated to do."

"You want 2.5 million Palestinians going and serving in the IDF army?" journalist Tami Molad then asked Zohar.

"I promise you, they won't serve in the army, they will let go of the option to vote," replied Zohar. "They would prefer not voting and not donating to this country, believe me."


Trump and Netanyahu during a news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., February 15, 2017.Credit: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg

Monday evening, as police investigators interrogated Netanyahu on an array of allegations involving possible high-level influence peddling and bribery, Trump phoned the prime minister to chat.

Netanyahu left the detectives for half an hour to talk to Trump, before returning to continue the questioning.

The prime minister's office said in a statement that Netanyahu had taken "the opportunity to again thank the President for his warm hospitality during his recent visit to Washington and expressed his appreciation for the President's strong statement against anti-Semitism during the President's speech before Congress last week."

The two also "spoke at length about the dangers posed by the nuclear deal with Iran and by Iran's malevolent behavior in the region and about the need to work together to counter those dangers," the Prime Minister's Office said.

Sources close to Netanyahu, quoted in Yediot Ahronot Tuesday, "maintained that the call was not planned in advance."

However, the Yedioth report noted, "past experience indicates that in general, telephone calls of this type do not come as a surprise.

"There were those who expressed wonder over the precise timing of the telephone call."

The week is still young. Who knows how Trump may be able to help a desperate prime minister fend off pro-settler pressure? And who knows how Bibi can work his magic on Republicans and many Democrats, to shield Trump from harm?

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