Knesset session 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Knesset's legal adviser Eyal Yinon presented his legal opinion on
the "Boycott Bill" Monday, saying that the proposed law is borderline
illegal. After reported delays, the full Knesset began debate on the
bill Monday evening ahead of a second and third vote on the law.
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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.
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.
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."
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said that the 'Boycott Bill' should be
sent back to committee for changes but supported the bill in general
Requesting changes to clause 4 of the proposed law, which puts much of
the responsibility in the hands of the finance minister to decide whether
a boycott has been called, Steinitz said that the Ministry "does not
want to be the lone high judge."
The basic notion of the law, however, does not obstruct freedom of expression, the finance minister said.
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.”Shira Frager contributed to