Peace Now members preparing black flags for MKs 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A coalition of leftist groups will demonstrate outside the Justice Ministry on
Sunday in an effort to prevent the passage of the “Boycott Bill,” which is
expected to be voted into law by the Knesset the next day.
legislation, sponsored by coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), allows
citizens to bring civil suits against people and organizations that call for
economic, cultural or academic boycotts against Israel, Israeli institutions, or
“regions under Israeli control.”
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It would prevent the government from
doing business with companies that initiate or comply with such
Elkin and Kadima MKs initiated the bill following reports that
companies had accepted contracts to build the new Palestinian city of Rawabi,
north of Ramallah, that were contingent on accepting boycotts of
Efforts by Israeli actors to boycott the Ariel Center for the
Performing Arts that opened last November in Samaria also inspired the
Peace Now sent all 120 MKs black flags to warm them of the
ramifications of the bill, which the organization warns will turn the Knesset
into a “thought police” and severely limit freedom of expression.
time when the leaders of the country are encouraging the public to boycott
high-priced dairy products, the Knesset wants to forbid by law the use of a
legitimate tool for citizens to express their political opinion,” Peace Now
secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer wrote the lawmakers. “Even those who support
the settlements should maintain the public discourse over their future and
prevent forcing their opinions on others via antidemocratic legislation in the
A spokesman for the Coalition of Women for Peace, which is
organizing Sunday’s rally, said the legislation could still be defeated, because
there are MKs in the coalition who oppose it.
Elkin rejected charges that
the bill would harm freedom of expression.
“I am for freedom of
expression, but individual freedoms don’t give anyone the right to harm someone
else,” Elkin said. “Boycotts harm people. I fight for the right of people to say
what they think, even if they are criticizing our policies in Judea and Samaria,
but it’s different if they say to harm someone because they live in Judea and