BDS activist
BDS activist Reuters

Not satisfied with demanding that the world boycott goods from Judea and Samaria, Ha'aretz op-ed writer Roy Isacowitz is now asking the world to boycott Israeli goods – all of them – as well as companies that do business here.

In an op-ed piece titled “Target me with your boycott, please,” Isacowitz bemoans the fact that the “limited” boycott of goods for Judea and Samaria is not working. Instead, he writes, more aggressive action is needed – and that would include a boycott of all Israeli products.

Borrowing a simile from the world of billiards, Isacowitz posits that “it’s not always possible” to try and influence the government directly to change policy – in this case, to withdraw from Judea and Samaria and render hundreds of thousands of Jews homeless.

When a grassroots boycott campaign has no direct influence over either the government or the public of the target country, it must motivate those who do have influence – such as corporations, academic, cultural and sports institutions and, of course, their own governments and their agencies – to implement their own boycott campaigns,” writes Isacowitz. Just like in South Africa in the 1990s, individuals boycotted IBM in order to force it to stop doing business there – a policy that eventually succeeded – so Israel needs to be boycotted, in order to economically hurt Israelis, and motivate them to pressure the government to withdraw from Judea and Samaria.

After almost 50 years of Israeli defiance and evasion, there is little prospect of diplomatic change. The prime goal of the boycott against Israel, therefore, is to persuade the bulk of Israelis that the occupation is not in their interests,” writes Isacowitz. “And the way to do that is by focusing their attention sharply on what those interests are and how much they have to lose.

It follows that boycotting only the settlements and their commerce, as many on the Israeli left suggest, makes no sense. They are not ideologically inclined to force the government out of the occupied territories and their numbers are insufficient. It is precisely those of us who have – or perceive ourselves to have – little personal investment in the occupation who should be targeted. For the occupation to end, Israel’s self-indulgent, apathetic and blinkered middle class needs a profound wake-up call – courtesy of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement,” Isacowitz says.

The boycott means that we are going to get a dose of our own medicine for a change. Bring it on,” he concludes. Isacowitz is a journalist and writer living in Tel Aviv and an editor at the English edition of Ha'aretz.

While many organizations in Europe, including governments, do boycott products and services from Judea and Samaria, no government has yet advocated a boycott of Israel as a state, and in fact such a move would be in violation of laws in many European Union countries. A total boycott of Israel is identified with the most radical anti-Israel elements of the BDS movement.

This is not the first time that Ha'aretz writers have adopted the language and tactics of radical anti-Israel groups.

In a 2007 editorial, the late David Landau, at the time editor of the paper, asked U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to “rape” Israel, using other unsavory terminology as well in his request for American pressure.

Landau, who was attending a meeting hosted by then-U.S. Ambassador Richard Jones, made the comments in front of about 20 heads of the most senior Israeli think tanks and media leaders.

Seated next to Rice, he referred to Israel as a “failed state” politically, and said that a US-imposed settlement is the only thing that can save it. He asked Rice to intervene, going so far as to say that the Israeli government wanted “to be raped” and that it would bring him much satisfaction to see this happen.

Contacted later by the New York Jewish Week, Landau confirmed the statements, but said his views had been delivered “with much more sophistication.” He admitted: “I did say that in general, Israel wants to be raped — I did use that word — by the U.S., and I myself have long felt Israel needed more vigorous U.S. intervention in the affairs of the Middle East.”

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