If Amos Oz, David Grossman, Meretz, Peace Now and other Zionist doves want the country to listen to them, they can’t slap the settlers in the face, which is what this boycott does. It’s not only a mistake, it’s an insult. I, too, wish the settlements had never been built, and hope to see many of them evacuated one day, but in the meantime the people living there are entitled to a decent life, which includes such things as culture, entertainment and higher education.
— Jerusalem Post columnist Larry Derfner
Some Israelis have advocated boycotts against their own country. Derfner’s quotation refers to a boycott organized by some artists and writers against the city of Ariel. As Derfner also observes, “If putting on a play or concert in Ariel is an injustice, who is the victim?” Even if one were to argue the Palestinians are somehow the victims, he notes, the boycott is not an effective way of helping them.
This particular boycott also is very different from the ones proposed by BDS advocates. In particular they are Israelis acting in the context of an internal Israeli debate, and there is very strong opposition to their views even by people on the left such as Derfner.
The Israelis boycotting Ariel also are Zionists who believe strongly in the right of the Jewish people to self-determination and oppose the BDS agenda that calls for flooding Israel with Palestinian refugees and creating a binational state that replaces Israel.
Furthermore, the Israelis engaged in criticizing their own government are demonstrating the vitality of Israeli democracy – a vivid demonstration of the fallacy of the BDS caricature of Israeli society.
Though the merits of the Ariel boycott are debated in Israel, such focused boycotts for specific policy goals are legitimate. By contrast, the anti-Israel boycott movement outside Israel attacks the State’s legitimacy, not any specific policy, and singles Israel out for special opprobrium.