A group of left-wing American intellectuals, styling themselves the “Third Narrative,” have called for a “personal” boycott aimed at Israeli politicians whom they strongly dislike, most prominently Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home party. Although they claim to oppose the movement to boycott Israel, and mostly profess to be Zionists themselves, their program, Ron Radosh and Sol Stern write, is anti-democratic, self-contradictory, and blind to the realities of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The claim of [Third Narrative leaders Todd] Gitlin and [Michael] Walzer that since they are not for a blanket boycott their version is more legitimate and ethical is fallacious. What if a far-right government in this country proposed a ban on those leftist political leaders in Israel whom Walzer and Gitlin like? What if a right-wing European government issued [personal] sanctions against Walzer and Gitlin and stopped them from speaking in Europe? Gitlin thinks the views of Bennett and the others are “a proper target” because “their activity is toxic.” He doesn’t seem to comprehend that these “toxic” leaders have gained support because ordinary voters in Israel are fed up with the Palestinian leadership’s long and continuing refusal to accept any kind of a just peace and two-state solution. Israeli politics have become “toxic” primarily because of the failure of Israel’s peace camp to succeed in ending Palestinian rejectionism, despite scores of compromises they have offered to the Palestinians.