Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Israel's anti-boycott belligerence

A bill seeking to outlaw boycotts of Israeli institutions and products – including in settlements – is diplomatically explosive

Miri Weingarten, Wednesday 30 June 2010

"A new "anti-boycott bill", the third in a series of proposed laws that aim to curtail the ability of civil society to criticise Israeli government policy, will punish Israelis or foreign nationals who initiate or promote a boycott of Israel.

The bill not only prohibits boycotts of legal Israeli institutions, but also of settlement activities and products. It seeks to impose fines on Israelis who "promote boycotts" and transfer the fines to boycotted organisations.

It will impose a 10-year entry ban on foreign residents engaging in boycotts, and forbid them to carry out any economic activities in Israel.....

In court, the EU advocate-general was even clearer. He said that as a matter of international law, the borders of Israel are defined by the 1947 partition plan for Palestine, and any territories outside the 1947 borders do not form part of the territory of Israel for purposes of the association agreement.

If the bill passes into law, the EU would qualify as a "promoter of boycott", whereas Israel could be seen to be breaking the terms of the association agreement. The implications of this could be explosive."

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