TAU Prof. Rachel Giora asks Poland to boycott Israel while bill to prohibits boycott approved in preliminary reading
Israeli Academics Call Poland to Boycott Israel
by Elad Benari, Israel National News
On Tuesday, as the Knesset debated a law against boycotts on Israel, a group of radical left Israeli academics turned to the government of Poland (the incoming president of the European Union) and demanded action against what they termed the “crimes of the occupation” perpetrated by Israel.
The group is headed by Professor Rachel Giora of Tel Aviv University and is demanding that Poland cancel a cooperation agreement with Israel over production of the Spike missile, which they claim Israeli directs against civilians.
The group members are also calling on the Polish government to promote an “arms embargo” on Israel on behalf of the European Union.
In addition, the group is demanding that the Polish government send independent observers to monitor what they term “the human rights violations perpetrated by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” and are also calling to “begin to protest against the wave of racist legislation that was recently adopted by the Knesset, or those that may come to a vote soon,” a reference to the
to establish a parliamentary inquiry into the funding sources of leftist groups.
As if that was not enough, the group members also call on Poland to disallow the activities of Israeli companies that operate in Judea and Samaria, including Egged which operates bus lines in the area, as well as the Eden mineral water company, which has operations in Poland as well.
In response to the boycott call, MK Othniel Schneller (Kadima) has addressed a letter to Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, asking him to investigate the signatories of the letter.
“As a citizen who sees great importance in the right to free speech, I'm afraid that the legal system sets no clear boundaries which clarify how far one may go before harming the interests of the State of Israel,” wrote Schneller.
The Im Tirtzu movement issued a statement on Tuesday in which it condemned the call for the boycott and said: “We express our disgust at the continuing policy of turning a blind eye to attacks by Israelis against the state. Im Tirtzu is planning to turn to the Attorney General with a request to open a criminal investigation against Professor Rachel Giora of Tel Aviv University, who is calling for a Polish boycott on Israel, Egged and Eden.”
The statement goes on to say: “The call to boycott is a sabotage of the foundations of the state. It is the Attorney General's responsibility to prosecute these criminals. We call on Tel Aviv University to immediately fire Prof. Rachel Giora for calling for an international boycott of Israel.”
This is not the first time that Prof. Giora has been involved in calling for boycotts against Israeli interests. Several weeks ago she was one of
to call on English author Ian McEwan to boycott a ceremony in Israel in which he is slated to receive the Jerusalem Prize.
Giora was also a member of one of the radical leftist and anti-Israel groups which called on pop singer Madonna
two years ago.
Giora had said then that a performance in Israel “would imply that Israel is behaving in an acceptable manner, and would be interpreted by Israelis as moral support for the illegal and inhumane policies, described by many as war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Her salary is covered by the Israeli taxpayer and donors to TAU. She did not tell the latter to boycott Israel.
Channel 2 News program in Hebrew speaks about the new boycott bill approved in preliminary reading while TAU Prof. Rachel Giora calls Poland to boycott Israel: http://www.mako.co.il/news-channel2/Channel-2-Newscast/Article-a999f81da6b2e21004.htm go to 22:40 mins into the program
Anti-boycott bill passes first reading
By RON FRIEDMAN
Bill would impose fine on citizens who aid campaigns against Israel; MK Henin: It’s the latest trend in anti-democratic legislation.
Despite the objections of leftwing MKs and the professional opinions of the Justice and Foreign ministries, the Knesset Law Committee on Tuesday approved for first reading in the plenum a bill that aims to sanction boycotts against Israel.
The bill proposes to place a NIS 30,000 fine on anyone who initiates, encourages or provides assistance to boycotts against a person because of his ties to Israel or an area under Israel’s control.
At the request of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, additional clauses that would sanction non-Israelis, as well as foreign states and entities that boycotted Israel, were removed from the legislation.
The bill was submitted by coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin and sponsored by 27 MKs from Likud, Israel Beiteinu, Shas, Habayit Hayehudi, United Torah Judaism and Kadima in its preliminary reading.
In presenting the measure, Elkin said that it is ridiculous that the United States has a law protecting Israel from boycotts, but that Israel doesn’t.
“It is time to put an end to this absurd situation. A citizen who acts out against Israel must know that he will face consequences,” he said.
Reactions to the bill from the Left were unanimously negative.
Hadash MK Dov Henin said it was the latest in an emerging trend of anti-democratic legislation promoted by Israel Beiteinu.
“The bill is crass, aggressive, brutal and anti-democratic,” Henin said. “The true significance of the bill is far-reaching and seeks to enlist the political Center to the agenda of the extreme Right. Its true intent is to determine that Israel and the occupied territories are one and the same.”
Henin said that if the bill becomes law, it would mean that people who sit at a restaurant and ask to return a bottle of wine produced in the West Bank, because they object to Israeli settlement there, would be subject to a large fine.
Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz demanded to hear the bills exact definition of a boycott.
“I searched the Internet to see what Israelis are boycotting these days, and I saw boycotts against the gas companies, boycotts against the Hermon ski resort, boycotts against Ikea and H&M, boycotts against Bar Refaeli... These are all legitimate public battles and a way for people to express their dislike of something. This bill has no definition of what constitutes a boycott. What will you sue people for? Where are the limits?” Horowitz asked.
Meretz chairman Haim Oron chose to attack the legislation from a wider angle. He challenged its supporters by asking them how they thought a law forbidding a boycott against a country would be accepted by the international community.
“How will you be able to justify Israel calling for a boycott against Iran?” he asked.
Hadash MK Hanna Sweid said the bill was meant to intimidate critics of government policies and was a clear violation of the freedom of expression.
Labor MK Eitan Cabel said the bill has no place in a democratic society and that it smelled of a nation living in fear. “The bill creates the feeling that Israel is cowardly and secluded, it presents us as weak and unconfident,” Cabel said.
Kadima MK Yochanan Plesner, whose party co-sponsored the measure, said it would harm Israel’s legitimacy in the eyes of the world.
“I don’t believe that anyone here seriously believes that this bill will reverse the anti-Israel trend in the international community.
If anything, it will do the opposite,” Plesner said.
Additional criticism of the bill was expressed by the professional ranks of the Justice, Industry, Trade and Labor, and Foreign ministries. The Justice Ministry representative at the Law Committee meeting said the definition of boycott was overly vague and would require a more narrow wording to pass judicial review.
The Foreign Ministry representative said the bill, in its current form, would not help in the ministry’s efforts to oppose anti-Israel boycotts and delegitimization, and would in fact harm Israel’s relations with foreign countries in general and with other democracies in particular because of its implications for freedom of expression.
Additional objections were raised by the Association for Civil Rights, the Israel Democracy Institute and the Manufacturers Association.
After a fiery discussion, which included a procedural commotion, the bill was passed with its opponents storming out of the room, refusing to participate in the vote.