Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – The Times of Israel reports that 255 American Jewish businessmen, who have billions of dollars invested in the country, have warned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that they will cease investing in Israel if he goes forward with his plans to gut the Israeli judiciary.
The huge irony is that pro-Israeli figures have spent decades attempting to smear anyone who boycotts Israel as a hopeless anti-Jewish bigot. Those boycotts were provoked by the Israeli Apartheid practices in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
The current Jewish boycott movement does not seem mostly to care very much about the plight of the stateless Palestinians living without basic human rights under the rule of extremist Jewish fascist Itamar Ben-Gvir. Many of them have excoriated those boycotting Israel on this human rights issue as antisemites. But now that a human rights issue has emerged that affects Israeli Jews, all of a sudden a boycott seems to be in order.
Netanyahu and other extremists in the current government, such as Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Minister of National Security Ben-Gvir, plan to remove some prerogatives from the court, to make it easy for parliament to overrule the Supreme Court when it declares a law unconstitutional, and to change the way justices are selected to allow sitting governments to have more influence.
A law is being considered now preventing the court from ordering the prime minister to recuse himself over conflicts of interest or on other grounds. In January Netanyahu was unable to keep Aryeh Deri in his cabinet because the Supreme Court viewed him as habitually and criminally corrupt.
The TOI report depended on the microblogging of Noga Tarnopolsky, who wrote at Twitter:
#Breaking: 255 US Jewish business leaders, with billions of dollars in Israel, warn Netanyahu they will halt Israel investments if he pursues his régime change plan. Among them: Gene Ludwig, Jeff Feig, Tom Glocer, former Treasury Undersecretary Jeffrey Goldstein. @AmalyaDuek pic.twitter.com/jhJ9fU2tnq
— Noga Tarnopolsky נגה טרנופולסקי نوغا ترنوبولسكي (@NTarnopolsky) March 12, 2023
Eynat Guez of Papaya Global and other high tech firms have announced they are leaving Israel over Netanyahu’s extremism.
Some Jewish organizations also boycotted Smotrich on his recent trip to the U.S. to raise money via Israeli bonds. So too did the entire Biden administration. Smotrich had called for the small Palestinian town of Huwwara, pop. 7,000, to be wiped off the map after a gunman from Nablus killed two Israeli squatters on Palestinian land there. Smotrich later said he had expressed himself poorly in the heat of the moment but did not really retract his threat.
The American Jewish Committee and other elements of the Israel lobbies in the US have gone blue in the face charging supporters of a boycott of Israel with being wretched Jew-haters. Organizations among the Israel lobbies have also cooperated with Evangelicals to have anti-BDS laws passed in 28 states, threatening anyone who boycotts Israel with being unable to do business with the state. This frontal assault on the US first amendment would even prevent state universities from giving an honorarium to a speaker in favor of BDS, even one who would not sign a disavowal of any such boycott. These laws have been struck down wherever they have gone to the courts, except in Arkansas, which apparently has the most corrupt judiciary in the union.
So shouldn’t Gene Ludwig and former treasury undersecretary Jeffrey Goldstein be subject to these anti-BDS laws, now? Or are the laws not only unconstitutional but also racist in character, targeting some Americans but not others on the basis of ethnicity?
Of course, boycotting, divesting from and sanctioning (BDS) Israel has nothing to do with Jews at all. The movement just wants to support Palestinians’ right to have rights. That isn’t antisemitic, unless you think the very existence of the Palestinian people is an offense against Jews. And if you think that, you are a racist.