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American Jews Unite Against Knesset Bill

The law of unintended consequences

Dan Klein
July 13, 2011
The new home of the campaign to deligitimize Israel.(Wikicommons)
The new home of the campaign to deligitimize Israel.(Wikicommons)

Apparently the best way to unite American Jews is for the Knesset to do something particularly stupid, like pass a law that criminalizes calling for boycotts. Marc Tracy and Liel Liebovitz expressed their feelings yesterday, which could be characterized as disappointment and defiance, respectively. Now much of the Jewish American establishment has chimed in with surprisingly universal disapproval.

The question is: do the law’s Israeli supports care? A few months ago they were bringing J Street founder Jeremy Ben-Ami before the Knesset to be harangued as anti-Zionist. Now he finds himself sharing an issue with unlikely fellow travelers lie Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America, and Jonathan Tobin at Commentary.

Indeed, it is those conservative opponents who are being put in the tightest spot right now: Forced into a stance that the bills supporters call “scaremongering,” forced to legitimize political opponents who similarly opposed BDS, and even find common cause with BDS supporters.

When the dust settles, the question isn’t just whether Israel will be delegitimized, but which viewpoints will become consensus.