Is Boycotting Israel the Ethically Correct Thing to Do?
My article that appeared in Tobias Petterson’s “Perspectiv Pa Israel“
As an Israeli Jew, it hurts me to think that there are people out there who want to “boycott” my country. It hurts because I know that my country treats all its citizens; be they Jews or Arabs, Muslims or Christians, heterosexuals, or gays as equals.
Israel is known for being one of the most ethical and humane societies not only in the Middle East but in the entire world. Our Prime Minister recently toured a field hospital where wounded Syrian refugees are being treated. As civil war continues raging at our doorstep, we’ve been taking in refugees from a country that’s attacked us on three separate occasions: when five Arab armies attacked our newborn state in 1948, in 1967 when the Syrian and Egyptian armies gathered at the Israeli border and began a blockade of Israeli goods (we actually attacked them first but that was only as a final response to their provocation), and again in 1973, when Syria, Jordan, and Egypt attacked Israel on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar—a day when Jews are not allowed to work. We’ve taken in the Syrian refugees not because we want positive coverage, or because we’re aiming to profit from other people’s misery but because it’s the ethically right thing to do.
In fact, doing the “ethically right” thing is a preoccupation with most Jews. I had a fellow Jew who supports boycotting Israeli goods tell me that he also supports Mahmoud Abbas, the “Palestinian” leader who was one of the founding fathers of the PLO, one of the bloodiest terrorist organizations ever. Abbas’s PhD thesis was based on the denial of the Holocaust (he’s been directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews). This American Jew lives in Jerusalem and profits from the security afforded him by the Israeli army whom the PA targets in daily terrorist attacks (yes, throwing rocks can kill too). He believes that by supporting Abbas he is performing “Tikkun Olam” literally “fixing the world to make it a better place.” And that’s his prerogative. Israel is a democratic society in which freedom of speech is upheld to the highest degree possible.
In fact, I see many Jews protesting Israel’s “illegal” occupation of Palestine right here, in Jerusalem, a city that was the site of a siege in 1947 whereby the Jordanian Legion (this was before the term “Palestinian” was used to describe Bedouin tribes living in the land of Israel and when the only “Palestinians” were Jews who had settled in Mandate Palestine as a result of centuries of persecution in Eastern Europe) cut off the city from the rest of Israel and forced its Jewish population to either starve to death or make a desperate dash for safety through the Latrun pass. Making the world a better place is a preoccupation that’s as much a part of Jewish culture as lighting the Hanukkah menorah or eating latkes.
As a state, Israel mirrors Jewish values. My country has participated in the rescue efforts of just about every natural disaster that’s taken place since its inception. Israel is on the leading edge when it comes to searching for cancer cures and remedies to a slew of disorders. We’ve even come up with technology that allows paraplegics to feel like they’re moving around.
The “Palestinians” whom we’ve abused so badly? As individuals I have much respect for them. A lot of them work in backbreaking jobs that Jews aren’t willing to do. I talk to them on the streets, meet them for coffee in the local bars and take pleasure in getting to know them better on a daily basis. As a group of people, however, they’ve come up far short of what anyone expected of them. Many of them bear a deep hatred for Jewish people in particular and humanity as a whole. Not that there aren’t any Jews like that, it’s just that the ones that do exist seldom do anything about it and the ones that try are more often than not stopped in their tracks by the Israeli government. The “Palestinians” who want to kill us? Well, those that do succeed often get a “Get out of Jail” pass and go back to killing Jew. It’s a sort of preoccupation they have with the idea of “death.” The Hamas charter pronounces: “Death is as dear to us as life is to the Jews.”
Is boycotting one of the most ethically sound countries in the world an ethical thing to do? Is it OK to prevent not only Jews—but Arabs as well from thriving in the Middle East’s most progressive economy? Next time you try to feel the pain of others and do the “ethically right” thing, I suggest you consider who’s being ethical and who’s not.