Paradoxically, the anti-BDS bill could very well hasten the end of the repression and subjugation of the Palestinian people.
Only when all of us, men and women, Israelis who are partners in and responsible for the continuation of the occupation, begin to pay a real price for it will Israel receive a chance to be a sane and civilized country with diplomatically recognized and moral borders based on international law. Without that we will not have security or peace.
If the new bill is passed imposing a seven-year sentence on activists in the BDS movement against Israel and its products for harming the country and its foreign relations, it will mark a giant step in the constitutional revolution the right-wing nationalist government has been making in recent years.
This revolution is progressing at a terrifying pace under the patronage of a fraud that’s second to none. It’s as if the struggle for human rights (and not the attacks on them) could be considered harming the country; as if a country and its policies, citizenship and ideology were one. As if ideologies hadn’t yet brought about the destruction of countries in which power was awarded to the ideologues.
Yet maybe a glimmer of hope is hiding here. This bill to protect the occupation could very well bring nearer the end of the repression and subjugation of the Palestinian people at the hands of Israel, and along with it the chance – maybe the last – of both peoples to live in peace.
The trials of the activists for boycotting an occupying and settling Israel will quickly turn into show trials. This will tear open the remnant of the worn-out mask of democracy that Israel still manages to take pride in both at home and abroad despite its military and civil rule over millions of people for 50 years.
When this happens, the similarity will grow between Israel and the final period of the Soviet Union and a few post-Stalinist communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe that persecuted and imprisoned opponents of the regime for the crime of “harming the state.”