Forward: "APN Calls for Boycott of Products Made in the West Bank"
By Nathan Guttman and JTA
Published July 19, 2011
Washington -- Taking protest against Israel's new anti-boycott law one step forward, a member organization of American Jewry's primary umbrella group for Israel is calling on its supporters to boycott products made in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Americans for Peace Now adopted a resolution July 19 supporting the call of its sister organization in Israel, Peace Now, to actively resist the new legislation, and joined in its own call for a boycott on settlement products.
But while most groups were cautious not to let their criticism be interpreted as supporting boycotts, APN decided, in a special meeting of its board of directors, to actively challenge the new law. The decision was taken days after Israel's Peace Now announced its intention to call for a boycott on settlement products, thus openly defying the law passed by the Knesset.
Ori Nir, APN's spokesman, told the Forward that the meaning of the new resolution adopted by the group is that APN is now calling for a boycott on settlement products. However, the group has yet to decide on whether or not to actively launch a campaign calling on its U.S. supporters to join the boycott. "We don't see it as breaking the law. We are challenging it," Nir said.
He added that APN still calls for investments in the state of Israel and for supporting Israel in all ways, including financially. "The intention of our decision is to strengthen the line separating between Israel and the settlements," he said.
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JTA: "U.S. Jewish groups against Israel's boycott law consulting on next steps"
By Ron Kampeas · July 19, 2011
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- American Jewish groups that have spoken out against Israel's new anti-boycott law aren't stopping there -- now they're speaking with each other on further responses.
Americans for Peace Now announced Tuesday afternoon that it was backing its Israeli sister group's boycott of settlement products that was launched to challenge the new law.
"Like Peace Now, we recognize that fundamentally this new law is not about boycotts or even, truly, about settlements," APN said in a statement. "It is about stifling dissent, smothering activism, and suppressing freedom of expression."
By Ami Eden · July 19, 2011
If the goal of the new Israeli law banning boycotts was actually to prevent boycotts... things aren't exactly going according to plan.
The board of Americans for Peace Now has unanimously endorsed a boycott of products made in the settlements.
Why? Well, it has nothing to do with the settlements. The group says it's boycotting settlement products in order to protest the anti-boycott law.
Here's the statement from APN's president and CEO Debra DeLee:
"The actions of our Board today underscore the seriousness of the threat today to Israel's democracy. The new law passed by the Knesset is a travesty of democracy. APN proudly supports our colleagues in the Israeli Peace Now movement as they lead domestic efforts to challenge the new law. They understand what this law means for Israel and for their future as Israelis. They know that it is not just their own ability to fight for peace, but also the very soul of Israel, that it is at stake.
"APN continues to oppose boycotts and other forms of BDS against Israel and the Israeli people as a whole, and urges people to continue buying Israeli products. However, today it is clear that Israeli extremists are exploiting concerns about BDS, turning them into a pretext to effectively outlaw peaceful opposition to settlements and the occupation. In light of these attacks, no one who cares about Israel can afford to be squeamish about the issue of settlement boycotts.
"Today we join Peace Now in urging all those who care about Israel's character as a democracy to boycott settlements and products made in settlements. Settlements are not Israel. Such a boycott is the best way to show our support for Israel and to register our commitment to Israeli democracy."
"Like Peace Now, we recognize that fundamentally this new law is not about boycotts or even, truly, about settlements. It is about stifling dissent, smothering activism, and suppressing freedom of expression. We also know that this flagrant attack on the basic democratic value of freedom of expression is not an isolated case. Tomorrow the Knesset will consider an anti-democratic measure that would set up McCarthy-ite committees to investigate Israeli non-governmental organizations. Multiple other pieces of pending legislation seek to suffocate the Israeli civil society organizations that are most critical to preserving Israel's democracy - groups working to promote peace, human rights, and civil rights within Israel.
"All of us who love Israel - who love the people of Israel and who are deeply committed to ensuring a future for them in the Jewish and democratic state of Israel - must speak out and act to protest these attacks on Israel's democracy."
Jerusalem Post: "OU president slams US Jewish groups over anti-boycott law"
By JONAH MANDEL
Orthodox Union head urges US Jews, who don't pay Israel taxes or serve IDF, to keep from criticizing Israeli policy.
The president of the Orthodox Union on Monday slammed the US Jewish groups who recently chastised Israel over the anti-boycott law.
"We live in the United States, we haven't served in the army, we don't pay taxes [in Israel], so it would be inappropriate for us to publicly, in some fashion, criticize Israel on what they do to protect themselves," said Simcha Katz.
The new law, which passed in the Knesset last Monday, enables citizens to file civil suits against people or organizations that call for economic, cultural or academic boycotts against Israel, Israeli institutions or regions under Israeli control, and prevents the government from doing business with companies that initiate or comply with such boycotts.
American Jewish groups ranging from J-Street to Zionists of America, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the ADL, Americans for Peace Now and the New Israel Fund all spoke out against the law.
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