Brain Bush’s Blog

The Boycott Bill

  • By : Brian Bush
  • July 13, 2011
  • 6:42 pm

Hello Everyone,

Today the legal battle has begun with Israel's Supreme Court judges ordering the State to respond to petitions made against the controversial Boycott Bill mentioned on yesterday's Harvest Show broadcast within 60 days.

Four Human Rights organizations are seeking to overturn the one day old law saying it is unconstitutional, restricts freedom of expression, and contravenes international law.

The Law, which enacts a series of sanctions on anyone who calls for a boycott of Israel, received support of 47 Members of the Knesset over 38 after a stormy plenum discussion.

The law provides for the fining and trying any person or organization that calls for a boycott of settlements.

Interestingly, due to anticipated criticism, Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and several of his key Ministers were absent from the vote.

Many have expressed that Netanyahu failed to lead on the issue.

Their rational is that if he thought that this law damages the State of Israel and its image as a democratic state, one would have expected the Prime Minister to have opposed it in the plenum. If Netanyahu favored it, he should not have allowed others to represent the bill by attendeding the plenum and voting for it.

Today, Mr. Netanyahu responded to the criticism by saying the Boycott Law reflects democracy in Israel.

Israel's Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has indicated that the law is a red line – expressing reservations over its articles, but yet he will defend it before the High Court.

Weinstein said the law has severe constitutional difficulties; “When one is on the border, every little step is liable to take you over it”.

Israel's Justice Ministry has emphasized that those behind the law did not incorporate the Ministry personnel's comments in the final version of the bill.

People are saying that Mr. Netanyahu, in parallel to his successes in the international arena, is carrying out a process of an ever-deepening depreciation of Israel's social-political covenant.

This law is the most recent in a series of steps that greatly weaken the nation's democracy in their minds. They see an eventual uprooting of Israel's legal system.

Next week the Knesset (with it's right-wing majority) is due to debate on committees to inquire into so-called left-wing organizations.

Thousands of citizens in Israel have been calling on a boycott on goods from the West Bank and demonstrations took place across from the Knesset today.

America has raised its concern over the bill, and news of it's passing is making waves in Europe as well.

The British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould said that Israel is hurting it's freedom of expression by harming legitimate rights and called the bill “worrying”.

We'll keep you abreast of developments,

Brian Bush
Middle East Correspondent
LeSEA Broadcasting

Leave a Reply