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March 21, 2017 6:43 am

Israel’s Anti-Boycott Law Is Overdue

avatar by Morton A. Klein and Daniel Mandel

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Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. Photo: Itzik Edri via Wikimedia Commons.

Last week, the Israeli Knesset passed a law barring the entry of visitors who have called for a boycott of Israel, or who are otherwise actively engaged in the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement.

The BDS campaign, as openly affirmed by its originators, aims for the gradual elimination  of Israel — hoping it will be replaced by an Arab-dominated state. BDS intends to achieve this goal via the economic, diplomatic and social ostracism of Israel, and Israeli institutions and enterprises.

BDS is based on Israel’s alleged and “illegal” occupation of Palestinian Arabs. The problem is that this premise is utterly false, and rewrites history.

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When speaking of “occupation,” BDS advocates speak with forked tongues. They regard every square inch of Israel as illegitimate and occupied — not just the territories conquered by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

In any case, it’s all a political lie.

Judea and Samaria are un-allocated territories under international law. They did not belong to the unlawful occupier, Jordan, before they were won by Israel in 1967. That is why the term “occupation” — so far as international law is concerned — doesn’t apply.

“Occupation” generally refers to one state taking and holding territory recognized as belonging to another sovereign state. As former State Department legal adviser and former head of the International Court of Justice in the Hague, Stephen Schwebel, has written: “Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has, against that prior holder, better title.”

But, in truth, the territories are only an alibi, and a shabby one.Half of Judea/Samaria and all of Gaza were been transferred to Palestinian Arab control years ago, with 98% of Palestinians in these territories no longer living under Israeli administration. Instead, they live under the control of Palestinian regimes: Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), and Hamas in Gaza.

The areas from which Israel has not withdrawn are virtually uninhabited, except for the 2% where Israelis reside.

Moreover, these territories form part of the land that was earmarked for the Jewish national home and Jewish settlement by the San Remo Settlement of 1920, which has never been superseded by an internationally binding agreement. The terms of this settlement were incorporated in the British Mandate that followed, and they remain in force as per Article 80 of the UN Charter.

The very name “Judea” — a term that was commonly used by the international community for centuries until the Jordanian occupation in 1949 – is derived from the same root as the word “Jew,” testifying to the deep Jewish connection to this land.

Indeed,  Israel’s presence in Judea-Samaria is legal, and UN Security Council Resolution 242, which was passed after the 1967 War, does not require complete Israeli withdrawal (as, for example, the Security Council demanded of Iraq in 1990 regarding its unlawful invasion and annexation of Kuwait).

The Oslo Accords also recognize Israel’s right to remain in the territories, at least until a final settlement is reached. Accordingly, there is no basis to regard Israel’s conquest of the territories as either illegal or immoral.

The BDS movement simply uses this lie as the pretext for seeking to harm Jews, with a view towards turning the the Jewish collective into an international pariah. The lie of occupation is also used to incite murderous violence against Jews, both in Israel and abroad. In short, it is a vicious program to destroy Israel’s independence and existence.

It is right and proper that foreign BDS advocates be identified by the Israeli government and prevented from entering the country — just as would be the case with activists seeking to enter any country whose independence they were seeking to subvert and destroy.

Morton A. Klein is National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). Dr. Daniel Mandel is Director of the ZOA’ s Center for Middle East Policy and author of H.V. Evatt & the Establishment of Israel (Routledge, London, 2004). A modified version of this article was published by FrontPage. 

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