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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/12/11

Israel's Knesset Passes Boycott Prohibition Bill

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"Those sponsoring this anti-democratic bill claim its goal is to protect Israel from delegitimization. The truth is that this law will only generate more delegitimization because it will truly turn Israel into a far weaker democracy, where supporting any anti-occupation act will be considered unlawful."

"No other democracy has ever advanced an anti-boycott law that intentionally provides a loose definition for what supporting a boycott means and turns a legal, nonviolent tool of protest into a felony, so as to achieve a greater chilling effect on society." It also underscores Israel's pariah status, advancing it one repressive bill and policy at a time.

On June 27, ACRI's El Ad commented on a "more extended and harmful version of the" bill, approved for final reading, saying:

"Why should Israeli citizens be allowed to boycott Israeli cottage cheese, as we have heard and seen in recent weeks, but be barred from boycotting the occupation?"

The updated bill includes sanctions against NGOs and public companies, including stripping their tax exemptions and eligibility for benefits other laws afford. Even funds or property owed Palestinians from other "laws, agreements or governmental decisions" will be lost.

The bill allegedly distinguishes between "legitimate" Israeli criticism and delegitimizing other forms, Israel deciding which is which, some examples including:

-- endorsing the global BDS movement;

-- supporting universal jurisdiction to prosecute Israeli war criminals and human rights violators abroad; and

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