The Knesset's legal adviser Eyal Yinon presented his legal opinion on the "Boycott Bill" Monday, saying that the proposed law is borderline illegal.
"The broad definition of a boycott on the state of Israel is a violation of the core tenet of freedom of political expression and elements in the proposed bill are borderline illegal," Yinon said in a letter.
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"There is one component among others which violates constitutional law," he said, explaining that any individual is empowered to enforce the law by seeking damages, and it allows one to seek monetary compensation that is not dependent on the actual damages caused.
"This violation together along with the broad definition given of a 'boycott on the State of Israel' creates a [legal] cause of damages in compensation for calls to boycott, whose goal is to affect the political debate on the future of Judea and Shomron, a debate which has been at the heart of political debate in the State of Israel for over 40 years."
MKs on all sides of the political spectrum prepared for Monday’s vote on the “Boycott Bill,” with opposition factions
drafting counter-legislation and working to enlist coalition members to vote
against the proposed law.
MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) proposed on Sunday
legislation requiring that all products manufactured in the West Bank be labeled
The “Boycott Bill, sponsored by coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin
(Likud), would allow citizens to bring civil suits against persons and
organizations that call for economic, cultural or academic boycotts against
Israel, Israeli institutions or regions under Israeli control.
measure pass in its second and third (final) readings on Monday, it would also
prevent the government from doing business with companies that initiate or
comply with such boycotts.
“Settlement products are part of the
widespread occupation economy,” Gal- On said. “Requiring products to be labeled
will allow Israeli consumers to fight against those who seek to defend the
occupation, and won’t allow the differentiation between Israel and the occupied
territory beyond the Green Line to be blurred.”
Gal-On pointed out that
products exported to the European Union are labeled if they are manufactured in
the West Bank. “Israeli citizens should know what European consumers know,” she
The current law requires packaging to include the manufacturer’s
name and an address, but not the location of production.
“For me, blue
and white stops at the Green Line,” Gal-On said. “I don’t buy products
manufactured in the settlements.”
Knesset legal adviser Eyal Inon also
came out against the “Boycott Bill” on Sunday, Channel 2 reported. He said its
legality was questionable and that it would not stand the test of a challenge in
the High Court of Justice, according to the report.
However, a Knesset
spokesman said that Inon had yet to reach a conclusion, and plans to meet with
Elkin on Monday morning before giving a legal assessment.
decide on Monday to delay the votes, either because of Yinon’s opposition or
because of the Middle East Quartet’s meeting taking place in Washington. A
source close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said there was a “reasonable
chance” that he would ask Elkin to delay the votes at the last minute.
The Prime Minister's Office, however, announced early Monday morning that it would not stop efforts to present the bill. If
the votes do take place, the legislation is expected to be passed into law by a
wide margin. The only coalition MKs who have come out against the bill are
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, ministers Michael Eitan and Dan Meridor and
Independence faction chairwoman Einat Wilf. Eitan is abroad and the others are
not expected to participate in the vote.Shira Frager contributed to