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July 24, 2011 1:08 pm

Israel, For Sake of PR, Say ‘No’ to Anti-Boycott Law

avatar by Ronn Torossian

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Protesters objecting to the newly enacted boycott law.

As a proud activist and supporter of Israel, I believe in an integral land and State of Israel, including Israel’s right to Judea and Samaria. Yet, I say that the new anti-boycott law approved by Israel’s Knesset, which provides for civil sanctions against supporters of boycotts targeting Israel or its settlements, is a major public relations mistake.

While Israel does, in fact have a need to push against those who would delegitimize the nation, couldn’t this statement have been expressed better by a lobby organization or NGO? How much of an impact will this “law” really have for all of the negative publicity it might potentially bring the State of Israel?

The “law” says that those harmed by boycotts can file civil lawsuits seeking monetary damages from those who advocate or organize such boycotts. Couldn’t they have filed a lawsuit previously, in a world where everyone sued everyone for anything?

Since Israel does not work with a PR agency nor, it seems, even image consultants, perhaps they don’t realize the damage of legislating laws like this. It provides our enemies with easy fodder to make noise about Israel’s government, but boycotts in and of themselves are not immoral. How many people in Israel, and Jews worldwide, were raised in homes where they wouldn’t buy products made in Germany?

Anyone has the right to buy anything – or not buy anything – they want, but I believe it will be in Israel’s best interest – from a public relations standpoint – for this law to be repealed.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, 1 of the 25 largest PR Firms in the U.S.

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