Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Israel: Anti-Boycott Bill Stifles Expression

Penalties Could Cause Human Rights Groups to Shut Down

July 13, 2011

"(Jerusalem, July 13, 2011) - The Israeli parliament has violated the right to freedom of expression by approving a law that penalizes individuals and organizations that call for boycotting Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Human Rights Watch said today.....

"Whatever one thinks of boycotts, a law that punishes peaceful advocacy in opposition to government policies is a bald-faced attempt to muzzle public debate," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "This law attacks Israeli civil society and will turn back the clock on freedom of expression and association."

The law penalizes any person or organization that calls for an "economic, cultural or academic" boycott of "a person or other party" because of its "relation" to Israel, Israeli institutions, or "any area under [Israel's] control," a reference to the occupied Palestinian territories. The law defines boycotts to include "undertakings not to purchase products or services produced or provided in the state of Israel, in any of its institutions or in an area under its control."...."

No comments: