Israeli human rights group Physicians for Human Rights-Israel calls for civil disobedience in face of anti-boycott bill

Physicians for Human Rights Israel | July 19, 2011

Passed by the Knesset on July 11, 2011, the “Bill to Prevent Harm to the State of Israel by Means of Boycott” constitutes a harmful blow to egalitarianism, free speech, and the right to organize, and seeks to de-legitimize non-violent protest. Boycotting is a legitimate act of non-violent political protest.

It allows followers to express opposition to policies that conflict with their core political beliefs and principles. The right to protest is an integral component of the practice of free speech. Israeli citizens should be permitted and entitled to protest peacefully, so as to prevent the prolongation of controversial or illegal policies.

We are aware of the complex environment in which the State of Israel exists, yet as human rights activists, we do not accept this deliberate violation of basic human rights. As citizens, we are convinced that there is no other way to contend with this law but to engage in civil disobedience. Out of a deep concern for democratic values, a firm commitment to human rights and a genuine concern over the path our elected officials are taking, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel expresses our firm opposition to the Boycott Law and announce that we will refuse to comply with it. We call on NGOs, activists, members of civil society, and fellow citizens to defy the boycott law and join us in insisting unequivocally on our right to practice and engage in free speech.

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