Anti-boycott law not yet making diplomatic waves

State Department official calls Israel a “healthy democracy”; British Ambassador Matthew Gould coming out publicly against the law.

July 14, 2011 03:00
1 minute read.
British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould.

311_UK ambassador Gould. (photo credit: Courtesy of British Embassy )

While the anti-boycott law passed by the Knesset on Tuesday continued to ignite sparks domestically, diplomatically there has yet to be much fallout, with a State Department official calling Israel a “healthy democracy” and only British Ambassador Matthew Gould coming out publicly against the law.

However, the EU was expected to issue a statement on the matter in the very near future.

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'EU worried 'Boycott Bill' will effect Israeli free speech'

“This is an internal Israeli matter,” the State Department official said. “Israel has a history of a healthy democracy, and this law is a product of the democratic process of Israel.” At the same time, the official said that “freedom of expression, including the freedom to organize and protest peacefully, is a basic right in democracy, and one of the values that Americans and Israelis share.”

Ultimately, the official said, “the laws of the State of Israel are in the hands of the people.”

The official indicated that the US would watch to see how the law was applied, saying, “We routinely monitor laws that are passed in countries where we have embassies, to keep Washington informed of the realities on the ground.”

The British ambassador, meanwhile, said in a Ma’ariv interview: “We are concerned about the passing of this law, which damages the legitimate right to freedom of speech, and which conflicts with the strong Israeli tradition of lively and vigorous political debate.”

Foreign Ministry officials said they had not yet heard any concern about the law or condemnations of it from other governments around the world, nor been asked for any clarifications.

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