Boycott Bill Passed in Knesset; Human Rights Groups Vie to Challenge It

PNN – Palestine News Network – 12.07.11 – 14:19

Tel Aviv – PNN – The controversial ‘Boycott Bill’ was passed last night in the Knesset as 47 MK’s voted for and 38 against.
ImageThe Bill was approved in its final reading after six hours of Knesset discussion and plenaries. Many Knesset members were not even certain that the vote would take place that day.
The Bill also confusingly nicknamed the ‘Anti-boycott Bill’ outlaws any public call for boycott against the State of Israel. Any such call would be considered a civil wrong and punishable under law; punishment could include financial penalties and withdrawal of state benefits. The Israeli boycott, especially of products produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank has long been used as a legitimate non-violent way of protesting against the occupation.
In response to the Bill being passed, a group of four Human Rights organisations announced they would appeal the new legislation at the High Court. The four groups consist of Adalah – the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, the Public Committee against Torture in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights and Coalition of Women for Peace.
Quoted in The Jerusalem Post, the Human Rights organisations stated that the Bill was “completely unlawful which limits freedom of political expression and is contrary to international law.”
 Director-General of Adalah, Attorney Hassan Jubrin, stated in The Jerusalem Post, that “Not only is the Israeli Knesset trying to silence the protest against the occupation – it is also trying to impose on victims and those in opposition to the occupation, to cooperate and actively support it.” Adalah’s Director-General also stated his belief that the law was contrary to International law and would not be approved by the Supreme Court.
Jubrin continued: “The distinction between different types of damaging protests exposes the unacceptable political intention of this law, which seeks to benefit only one side of the political spectrum and to silence public debate on a central and controversial issue.”
The Boycott Bill has stirred up much controversy due to its undemocratic and illiberal nature by making illegal non-violent expressions of protest.

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