Were one to be asked by the Knesset to draw up a law that would at the same time antagonise one’s friends and please one’s enemies, force a deep cleavage between Israel and the diaspora, produce the opposite result to that which was intended and make many passionate Zionists feel like criminals, one would be hard pushed to do better than the Boycott Law passed this week.
Even on its own terms, the law makes no sense. A Jewish student who sits on the executive of a BDS-supporting body such as the NUS but fights to overturn its policy would, under the legislation, still be barred from Israel.
Such idiocies are, however, irrelevant — because the purpose of the law is not to contribute to furthering Israel’s cause or help its friends. Rather, it is about political posturing within Israel.
The law has no strategic or tactical value — quite the opposite. Israel is a vibrant democracy that has many lessons to share with the world. But by passing this law, the Knesset paints a picture — however false in every other respect — of an Israel that has no interest in the outside world.
The Boycott Law is a profound mistake.
it was always ridiculous that two competing free schools submitted applications to the DfE last year. Unsurprisingly, the government declined to make the Jewish community’s choice for it and rejected both bids.
Now sense has prevailed and Barkai and Kavanah Colleges have come together. The new applicant would be a welcome addition to the existing schools and it is greatly to be hoped that this new bid will succeed.