Friday, July 15th, 2011
The AJC expressed deep misgivings over the new law, passed by the Knesset this week, on boycotts against Israel. The controversial measure will allow Israelis to sue those who instigate or support such boycotts.
“Our organization has been at the forefront globally confronting the insidious activities of the BDS movement that seek to undermine the very legitimacy of the State of Israel,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “But this Knesset action, which challenges freedom of expression in Israel, is not the appropriate answer to the BDS campaign.”
Israeli opponents of the law will likely contest the measure in the Israeli Supreme Court. It is highly desirable that the court rule quickly on the legality of this measure.
The new law states that any boycott against Israel or any group located within its territory, including the West Bank, will be labeled a civil offense and its initiators will be subject to litigation. Targets of economic, cultural or academic boycotts will be able to sue the boycott supporters. In addition, the law authorizes the state to revoke tax privileges and public funding from any institution, group or person that backs a boycott.
“The anti-boycott law is undemocratic. It ironically has already harmed, rather than helped, our community’s overall efforts to defeat those groups who challenge Israel’s legitimacy,” said Harris.