A new Israeli law criminalizes support to Palestinian civil society campaigns.

 

PNN – Palestine News Network –  15.07.11 – 16:50

Ramallah – PNN – A repressive law criminalizing support for the Palestinian civil society campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel was approved last night by the Israeli parliament (Knesset). The new legislation will punish both Israeli people and organisations active in any kind of partial boycott of Israel or its institutions, and will even exclude companies that refuse to deal with Israel’s illegal colonies built on occupied Palestinian land from receiving government contracts. 

ImageSuch restrictive measures have been branded as “draconian” by Hind Awwad, coordinator with the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), who compares the current situation of Palestine with the former South African system of Apartheid.  “Israel is once again taking draconian measures to criminalize civil resistance to its system of apartheid, colonialism and occupation over the Palestinian people” she said.

Also, Prof. Gabi Baramki, former head of Birzeit University and currently a Steering Committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) explains the new edict as “a continuation of the Knesset’s decades-old pivotal role in legislating Israeli apartheid, colonialism, and other forms of oppression of the Palestinian people.”

However, Awwad also believes these repressive acts will rather motivate and encourage more people to join the Palestinian cause, as they are showing “further evidence of the undemocratic and oppressive nature of Israeli political life.” Indeed, according to her, Israel’s legislation policies can be understood as a reaction to the great success of the BDS movement, which has already motivated several international companies and institutions to step away from the Israeli undemocratic behaviour, and created a powerful network of international artists supporting the Palestinian cultural call.

The leadership of the Palestinian boycott campaign want to emphasize that they stand in solidarity with all the Israeli citizens and organizations targeted by this law, as well as with all those who have been deprived of “exercising their fundamental right to speak out and act non-violently in order to bring their state into compliance with international law.”

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