Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Israel Bans Pro-Palestinian Boycotts

Israel Outlaws Pro-Palestinian Boycotts

“The Israeli Parliament on Monday passed contentious legislation that effectively bans any public call for a boycott against the state of Israel or its West Bank settlements, making such action a punishable offense.

Critics and civil rights groups denounced the new law as anti-democratic and a flagrant assault on the freedom of expression and protest. The law’s defenders said it was a necessary tool in Israel’s fight against what they called its global delegitimization.

Passage of the law followed a string of efforts in the rightist-dominated Israeli parliament to promote legislation that is seen by more liberal Israelis as an erosion of the country’s democratic values.

Some critics argued passage of the anti-boycott legislation would further delegitimize Israel, which is facing increasing pressure over West Bank settlements that Palestinians regard as part of the territory for a future state. The settlements issue has been a major impediment in attempts to resume stalled peace talks.

The anti-boycott legislation, which passed its third and final reading in the 120-seat Parliament by 47 votes to 38, relates to calls for economic, cultural or academic boycotts of the state, its institutions or any area under its control, a reference to territory occupied by Israel”

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