Ultra-Orthodox lawmaker Meir Porush at a Jerusalem polling station in 2008. / Getty Images
A boycott of West Bank settlements is a favorite subject for discussion among Palestinian activists and Western liberals alike. Surprisingly, it’s getting some ultra-Orthodox Israelis talking too.
In fact, a Haredi lawmaker has revealed that he’s coming under “tremendous pressure” to initiate a boycott of settlement enterprises. Meir Porush of United Torah Judaism is “preventing it” for the moment but said that he doesn’t know if he can keep a lid on it. “I do not know if this matter will remain under control,” he said.
Porush made the comments on the religious Kol Berama radio station and they were reported by the pro-settler news service Arutz Sheva.
So what’s the rationale behind this Haredi boycott mindset?
It’s not motivated by the fact that settlements are illegal under international law, but rather by the simple fact that the strongly pro-settlement religious-Zionist camp is supporting legislation to force Haredi men to serve in the army, which would prevent them from studying in religious academies instead.
Porush explained the thought process, according to Arutz Sheva, saying: “If that is how you treat us and the Torah study that is the foundation of our existence, let’s boycott some of the settlers’ factories in Judea and Samaria.”
In short, a revenge boycott.
Now, Porush may be wildly exaggerating the pressure for a boycott in order to make a political point, but it’s still notable that the boycott discourse has become such a looming threat in the Israeli mindset that Israelis are prepared to use it as a stick to beat each other with — even if they’re not ideologically behind it.