US State Dept. issues muted criticism of Boycott Law

Washington says law an internal Israeli matter, reaffirms freedom of expression, protest are tenets of democracy; ADL praises US statement.

Abe Foxman 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Abe Foxman 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The United States State Department put out a mild condemnation of Israel's new Boycott Law on Tuesday, deferring a direct reaction saying it was an internal Israeli matter.
However, the Department of State reaffirmed that freedom of expression and the right to protest and organize are basics right under democracy.
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Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman called the statement from Washington, "sufficient," adding, "they said they didn't think this law was good in the spirit of democracy," speaking with Army Radio.
His criticism of the Boycott Law, however, was more pointed. The law, he said, is "unnecessary legislation, which will only do damage to the democratic State of Israel."
"It's a sad day for Israeli democracy," Foxman told Army Radio.
In an earlier statement, Foxman said that while he opposes all boycotts of Israel, the law concerns him as an infringement on democratic freedoms in Israel.
"The Anti-Defamation League has a long history of vigorous opposition to any and all boycotts of Israel, and works every day to expose and combat those who seek to cause damage to the Jewish state," Abraham Foxman, ADL National Director said. "We are, however, concerned that this law may unduly impinge on the basic democratic rights of Israelis to freedom of speech and freedom of expression."
Foxman said he hoped "Israel’s Supreme Court will quickly take up a review of this law and resolve the concerns it raises."
JTA contributed to this report