The coalition agreement between Likud and the Religious Zionism party to revoke the law that forbids discrimination, a move intended to let service providers boycott customers and let doctors refuse to give treatment for “reasons of religious belief,” opens the way to a simple, effective response: Boycott them back.
It’s not complicated. All that’s needed is to publicize the names of the believers, who now want legal permission to declare themselves racists, misogynists and homophobes. Then those who believe in equality and oppose discrimination, even if it’s legalized, will stay away from the businesses and clinics of the supporters of the racist camp in the Knesset.
MK Orit Strock encourages doctors not to provide treatment that “is against their faith”? Her colleague MK Simcha Rothman wants hotels to refuse to host LGBT people? And it seems, according to their proposed law, that religious businesspeople, taxi drivers, psychologists and flower arrangers could choose not to serve women, or demand that they wear a skirt and a head covering? Or that they will refuse to provide services to Arabs because this is ”the state of the Jewish people?” Fine: Let everyone know who they are and warn the public about them. The Noam party is preparing blacklists of LGBT people and feminists in the media? Lists of racists and other primitives can be prepared too.
The coalition agreements are not a predestined fate that will turn Israel into the new Iran tomorrow morning. It may be that Benjamin Netanyahu studied his father Benzion’s writings about the history of the Inquisition in Catholic Europe and wants to reestablish it in Israel, as the Jewish Inquisition.
Without a doubt, Avi Maoz of Noam, Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir would have been happy to establish a similar institution and humiliate everybody they don’t want to look at – women, Arabs, LGBT people, leftists and leading jurists.
Racism is their “religious belief” and the essence of their political doctrine. But Benjamin Netanyahu did not receive the coalition agreements at Mount Sinai or in Talmud class. Complete cynic that he is, Netanyahu is using these religious decrees to convince the nonreligious that he is the only one who can protect them from the poisonous emissaries of Religious Zionism and Meir Kahane’s successors. He is acting like Charlie Chaplin’s glazier in “The Kid,” who sends his little son to break windows and then offers his services to fix them. The price of the repair is known: Stopping the trial, and punishing the presumptive prime minister’s investigators and prosecutors for the crime of “framing” him.
We must not surrender to Netanyahu’s transparent tricks and the racist initiatives of his partners. Secularists, liberals, Arabs and the religious whose faith does not clash with the goal of equality have great purchasing power, and among them are enough doctors, service providers and business owners who will be happy to treat the patients and customers turned away by Strock, Rothman and Maoz. Israel Discount Bank’s announcement that it will not provide credit to businesses that discriminate is the first step in the right direction. The boycotters must be marked, condemned and boycotted in return.
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Here is a mission for the camp that lost the election, and has been busy ever since with self-pity and regret over Netanyahu’s trial, which supposedly caused the disaster of November 1. We must not forget: “Religious belief” is not a force majeure that justifies racism, discrimination and the violation of human rights. At most, religion is a poor excuse in the hands of the racists, misogynists and homophobes – and we cannot capitulate and remain silent facing them.
Netanyahu’s trial must not be stopped in the false hope that this is how democratic Israel will be saved from the destruction advanced by “Religious Zionism.” The judges must determine Netanyahu’s verdict, not the political maneuvers of the Likud chairman and leader of the “change for the worse” coalition.