Israel's Knesset Passes Boycott Prohibition Bill - by Stephen Lendman
Israeli outrages never quit. Besides lawlessly stealing Palestine, slaughtering and dispossessing its people, occupying its remaining 22% for over 44 years, blockading Gaza, committing high-seas piracy and murder to keep out humanitarian aid, and arresting European and other human rights advocates showing up to protest, another example highlights Israel's rogue state status.
On July 11, Haaretz writer Jonathan Lis headlined, "Israel set to vote on controversial law penalizing boycotters," saying:
Israel's "controversial 'Boycott Bill' is expected to come up for its second and third (Knesset) votes" today, despite Netanyahu earlier wanting it delayed, expected criticism from Knesset Legal Advisor Eyal Yinon, and opponents holding a protest press conference.
A same day Lis update headlined, "Israel passes law banning calls for boycott," saying:
Despite vocal opposition, the bill passed 47 - 38, criminalizing boycott supporters. Provisions include letting boycott targets sue "without having to prove they sustained damage. The court will then decide how much compensation" they're due. Another provision prohibits boycott supporters (people and companies) from "bid(ding) in government tenders."
Opponents call the bill outrageous, shameful and lawless. Kadima's spokesman said:
"Netanyahu has crossed a red line of political foolishness today and national irresponsibility, knowing the meaning of the law and its severity, while giving in to the extreme right that is taking over the Likkud."
In fact, Israel increasingly resembles a fascist police state, endangering anyone challenging state policies.
In response, Peace Now opened a Facebook page, calling for settlement products, services and activities to be boycotted. A national campaign will follow.
On February 15, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) called the measure "one of the most concerning (ever) anti-democratic propositions....advanced in the Israeli parliament."
Despite strong opposition from MKs, ministry legal advisers, NGO's, and others, the Knesset's Constitution Committee discussed it on February 23.
"The Prohibition on Instituting a Boycott" bill passed a preliminary July 2010 vote. It then went to a Knesset plenary first vote, on to committee, and finally to another two up or down votes, begun July 11.
At issue is prohibiting boycotting Israeli products, persons and activities connected to Israel and Israeli settlements. Moreover, the bill is politically motivated and broad, including Section 2 stipulating:
"It is prohibited to initiate a boycott of the state of Israel, to encourage participation in a boycott, or to provide assistance or information with the purpose of promoting a boycott."
The measure aims mainly at Israeli citizens (including Arabs) and residents involved in advocating boycotts of Israeli or settlement-related goods, services and/or activities, including cultural ones.