BDS even more vital
On Monday night the Israeli parliament passed legislation (57-48 in favour) which requires NGO’s working in Israel to declare monies received from overseas governments, on the pretext that the law will expose foreign influences interfering in Israeli internal affairs. Who could argue against this?
In truth the law is specifically tailored to target peace and human rights organizations. Its true intent appears to be to divert Israeli public discourse away from the occupation and to silence opposition to the policies of the Israeli government. It is now almost universally recognised that the Netanyahu government is one of the most right wing in the world, and certainly the most right wing in Israel’s history.
The leader of Israeli opposition, Isaac Hertzog, had earlier said that the law “represents the buds of fascism blooming in Israel”.
The US has previously expressed concerns over the “chilling effects” the legislation will have, while the EU, specifically Germany, has expressed its own grave concerns over the effect the legislation will have in quelling open discussion of human rights violations in Israel.
What the law specifically does not do is require transparency about the source of funds that flow into Israel to support the building of illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories. These funds are mostly gained from overseas corporate and private sources.
It is these funds that specifically alienate Palestinian human rights, steal by stealth Palestinian homes, land and livelihoods and enable Israel to expand economically and territorially at the expense of a largely invisible people.
BDS is effective because it maintains the visibility of the Palestinian people. It does not target Jews, it targets activity that is in contradiction of international law. It targets those involved in these activities, activities in gross violation of basic human rights.
Israel’s new NGO law is confirmation, if confirmation were required, of the necessity of an internationally supported Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions programme that keeps visible what Israel is doing its best to divert attention away from, even to hide.