The Knesset’s Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee has approved an extended edition of a boycott bill which will prohibit the boycott of any person or product connected to Israel.The “Bill to Prevent Harm to the State of Israel by Means of Boycott” will make boycotting anything connected to the state of Israel both a civil and criminal offense. The bill received approval on Monday and awaits its final vote in the plenum.
The most recent version of the bill has several additions that will be extremely detrimental to any NGO’s and public businesses operating in Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The sanctions include fines, the loss of tax exemptions, and the loss of benefits usually afforded by law.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel described the bill as “politically motivated,” and its executive director, Hagai El-Ad, stated, “Why should Israeli citizens be allowed to boycott Israeli cottage cheese, as we have heard and seen in recent weeks, but be barred from boycotting the occupation? … A boycott by consumers is a legitimate tool of protest and falls within the protection of freedom of expression.”
The wording of the bill is very broad and will allow the Israeli government to apply it according to its wide range of interpretations.