Rights groups to appeal 'Boycott Law' at High Court

Bill is "completely unlawful which limits freedom of political expression, is contrary to int'l law," organizations say.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
July 12, 2011 08:56
2 minute read.
The Knesset adjourning for its spring break.

Knesset session 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Four human rights organizations announced overnight Monday that they will appeal the newly approved "Boycott Bill" at the High Court, in a letter sent to government officials prior to the law's approval in the Knesset.

Groups participating in the appeal include Adalah - the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights and Coalition of Women for Peace. The four organizations sent a letter to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz demanding a halt in the approval process of the law.

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According to the rights organizations, the "Boycott Bill" is "completely unlawful which limits freedom of political expression and is contrary to international law."

Furthermore, the groups allege that the law also "forces residents of east Jerusalem to cooperate with the occupation" and "violates the principle of equality by attempting to defend one political position while limiting other positions."

"Not only is the Israeli Knesset trying to silence the protest against the occupation - it is also trying to impose on victims and those in opposition to the occupation, to cooperate and actively support it," Director-General of Adalah Attorney Hassan Jabareen said. "[The bill] does not meet any criteria of international law and we believe that [the bill] will not receive the approval of the Supreme Court."

It is impossible to distinguish between a boycott which is unlawful and punishable, with another boycott against an industrial company or a municipality of some sort, Jabareen continued. "The distinction between different types of damaging protests exposes the unacceptable political intention of this law, which seeks to benefit only one side of the political spectrum and to silence public debate on a central and controversial issue," Jabareen added.

The “Boycott Bill” was approved in its final reading in the Knesset on Monday night, after a plenum discussion that lasted nearly six hours and uncertainty throughout the day as to whether a vote would take place.

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The bill passed with 47 in favor and 38 opposed, despite the fact that most Shas lawmakers were absent because of MK Nissim Ze’ev’s daughter’s wedding.

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.

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