The Gaza conflict is not over yet but it is already possible to notice within Israeli society, an incipient version of economic McCarthyism. Regardless of the ethical and historic considerations related to the application of economic pressure, these sort of internal policies could have serious impacts on the state of Israel. In other words, it's a political double-edged sword.
Firstly, what do I mean when speaking about "McCarthyism"? Let me start with a few examples:
Layoffs: Internet surfers who openly express minority view (i.e.
criticising the actions of the Israeli government) who were dismissed from their jobs.
Boycott: Mr. Lieberman, the Israeli Foreign Ministers called a week ago to boycott the Arab businesses (20% of the population) that took part in the strike in protest against the government´s policy in Gaza
Control: Ben Gurion University announced that it will monitor its staff expressions and views along the social networks (i.e., outside classroom or Campuses!!!).
Now, economic pressures (dismissal, boycott, indirect threats) related to maintain minority political ideas is an unethical, and illegal practice. Above all, it degenerates a society into a a climate of constant fear and political unrest that does not match the fundamentals of the rule of law.
Nevertheless it is better to focus on REAL Politics, i.e.
how measures are counterproductive in terms of macro politics and how an internal McCarthyism legitimizes the use of economic pressures to achieve political ends home and abroad.
The call for economic pressures against Israel is nothing new. For some time, many European and American organizations under the title generic title of BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions), consider that the only way to force Israel to make the concessions toward the Palestinians is to generate a constant economic pressure. The idea of leveraging economy in order to achieve political ends is not new, and just a few examples will prove that: Some 200 years ago Napoleon implemented an economic blockade against the United Kingdom . In other words, Gandhi called for a boycott of British goods in India. Anyhow, the assumption behind the call for boycott is reinforced by the perception that the Apartheid system in South Africa collapsed following a constant economic boycott.
It is believed that the same logic (pressure) should be correct in the Israeli case.
It is noteworthy that most of the governments, and prominent figures like Prof. Noam Chomsky, are strongly opposed to this sort of pressure. The arguments normally rely on the "ethical" perspective which claims that any undiscerning measure is before anything else an undeserved "punishment" for a population; even in the actions of the democratically elected. According to this thesis, it is the Israeli population who should force their government to change course through political action.
Now, if the very Israeli government, or rather a member of the highest political hierarchy calls for boycott and economic pressure, how can one oppose this measure when it comes from abroad? The moral standard is clear: if a tool is legitimate within the Israeli society, then it is a correct tool to deal in the international reign? Isn't it a sort of double standard morality by assuming that " what is permitted for me is prohibited for the rest"?
Furthermore, the internal McCarthyism raises questions over the argument which claims the exclusive right of Israeli citizens to decide. First of all, following the atrocities along WWII, the international community decided that there are limits on what governments are allowed to do in the name of national sovereignty. Not everything is permitted. Still, sovereignty is based upon the moral basis of the right of the citizens to freely review and oppose to their government (Otherwise, Sovereignty is just a façade or a disguise for political oppression) Now, if the rules are broken, you can break them all.
Therefore, whoever calls for disciplinary action or support of economic punishments for dissidents, transforms the economic boycott into a legitimate political weapon. In this sense, Israel as a small country and economically speaking very open nation (i.e. exports and imports account for a large chunk of its economic activity) is very vulnerable to this type of action and a boycott could have serious consequences for its economy.