Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The quiet sound of going fascist

Read Bradley Burston's column in Haaretz today: Israel's boycott law: the quiet sound of going fascist.
This is the one. Don't let what we like to call the relative calm here, fool you. When the Knesset passed the boycott law Monday night, it changed the history of the state of Israel.

In real time, a tipping point of great magnitude can sound a lot like nothing at all. But if the Boycott Law makes it past challenges filed by human rights and pro-peace organizations in Israel's High Court of Justice, then anything goes, beginning with democracy itself.

Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak and 10 other cabinet ministers already know this. That's why they failed to show up for the vote.

They stayed away because they know that this is the stain that may prove indelible. The Boycott Law is the litmus test for Israeli democracy, the threshold test for Israeli fascism. It's a test of moderates everywhere who care about the future of this place.
Why is the law so bad? Among other reasons:
The effect of the law could be crippling to the efforts of all organizations and many individuals working for Israeli-Palestinian peace and enhanced freedoms and human rights within Israel and the territories. The rabid anti-NGO campaigns of Im Tirtzu and other groups could escalate into a full-bore "lawfare" offensive, hauling them repeatedly into court and costing them prohibitive legal fees.
And this law is not the last attempt to stifle dissent.
A list of new bills, beginning next week, each designed to choke debate, gag protest, punish criticism, and/or cement the rule of the right. First up: The return of a bill to create McCarthyesque committees to investigate organizations the panels deem leftist. The bill was originally withdrawn for lack of votes in Knesset, but, buoyed by the success of the Boycott Law, the McCarthy Bill's sponsors now believe they can win passage.

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