Bury the Boycotts by Burying the Occupation

Israelis are coming up with all sorts of ideas about countering the BDS movement, without ever facing up to the real reason.

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
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A mural calling for a boycott of Israeli goods in the al-Azzeh refugee camp near the West Bank city of Bethlehem
A mural calling for a boycott of Israeli goods in the al-Azzeh refugee camp near the West Bank city of BethlehemCredit: AFP
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

Two large potholes appeared on the highway leading to the village, the result of bad weather and human negligence. Numerous accidents occurred there, claiming many victims. As in Chelm, the who’s who of the village convened to discuss the serious problem. The first suggested positioning an ambulance at the site, while another wondered whether, if there was to be an ambulance, there should possibly also be a clinic to treat the injured. And a third, who was most worried about his tires, suggested opening a tire shop.

While those present continued making sensible proposals, one got up and said,”Wait, let’s just fix the potholes with a little asphalt, and get to the root of the problem.” Needless to say, that guy was expelled from the meeting.

Now everyone is offering advice. One suggests that we boycott the boycott, while another proposes that we punish those calling for a boycott and a third wants a few more billions for a public diplomacy effort. Oh, and this one is setting up a committee of academics while the other is convening a forum of experts. And if things go on this way, pretty soon our preschool children will be asked to give up their few shekels for this blessed effort, while the women on the home front will provide warm clothes to their precious children in the bunkers of Paris and London.

So this is the answer to the non-Jews who are rising up “to annihilate us,” as Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein explained when he supported the Anti-Boycott Law.

As this welcome effort is being made, no one is even mentioning the occupation. When MKs Esawi Friege and Aida Touma-Suliman wanted to conduct a debate on the occupation, the Knesset presidium refused.

It isn’t urgent, apparently. What is the connection between the occupation and boycotts, divestment and sanctions? Now please, clear the way! The gang at Yedioth Aharonoth have decided to act and will teach all of us how do dealt with the BDS bullies. Yedioth is going to do this for free, and if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could just rise above the petty fights between Yedioth and Israel Hayom, he would be well advised to annex Yedioth as a division of the Public Diplomacy Ministry.

Why do we need a Public Diplomacy Ministry if we have Yedioth, anyway? My advice, with all due respect to the Jews, who are known as a clever people, is to tell the goyim that the newspaper is published in Qatar, and not in Tel Aviv, God forbid.

This isn’t the first time that Yedioth has rolled up its sleeves and shown the government how to do public diplomacy. After the Israel Defense Forces’ raid on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, the lead ship of a flotilla trying to break the Gaza blockage in 2010, Yair Lapid, then a leading writer at Yedioth, wrote that the government should have presented missiles and weapons that had been seized from other ships as if they had been seized from the Marmara. As we know, in the end it was Netanyahu who apologized, not Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

And that’s not all. There’s a story of a passenger who asked a taxi driver to please close the window because it was cold outside. A wise man, who was also in the taxi, wondered in his usual aggressive way, “And if the window is closed, will it be warm outside?” And so, ladies and gentlemen, continue to try to persuade yourselves. Let Miri convince Danny, and let Benjamin persuade Naftali, and Tzipi, Bougie. It will be nice and warm inside. But while the echoes of the singing pierce the sky, the ship is sailing full speed ahead toward the iceberg.

As someone who is sensitive to those excluded by society, let me mention that this week we are marking the 48th birthday of the lovely occupation. When it was born, enthusiasm swept the land. Everyone wanted to take credit for it. Today they flee from it as if it was a leper.

How the wheel turns and the glory fades. As great as the victory was then, that’s how great the curse is now. For 48 years they have been trying to legitimize one small occupation (the size of the Ramat Negev Regional Council) and it doesn’t help. The occupation has rotted, and its stench fills the air. As the Arabs say, “We respect the dead by burying him.” It’s time to bury the occupation.

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