Knesset promotes anti-boycott bill
Legislative body approves in preliminary reading bill aimed at deterring Israeli citizens from taking part in economic or academic boycotts of Israel
The Knesset on Wednesday approved in a preliminary hearing a bill meant to deter Israelis from taking part in boycotts of Israel. The bill is slated to apply to anyone who will initiate or promote a boycott of individuals, factories, companies or organizations in all Israeli territories, apart from the West Bank. The vote was virtually unanimous.
Zvi Lavi 07.14.10 YNET
The bill was drafted under a joint initiative of coalition and opposition leaders - Knesset members Zeev Elkin (Likud) and Dalia Itzik (Kadima).
According to the proposal, a group or a person who was harmed by a boycott on behalf of Israeli elements will be able to sue the boycott organizer or party promoting it for NIS 30,000 ($7,756.35) without the burden of proof of damage. In addition, the party will also be able to gain an additional sum through a civil suit in accordance with the level of damage it sustained.
The bill's initiators noted a similar law exists in the United States which forbids American citizens from taking part in boycotts of friendly countries, including Israel. The bill aims to target elements in the Arab sector which participate in the economic boycott imposed by the Palestinian Authority on goods manufactured in Israeli factories in the settlements and Israeli territory. The bill also aims to deter academics who participate in international academic boycotts of Israel.
Restricted to Israelis only
The original bill was meant to apply to Palestinian elements in the territories who initiate or participate in boycotts, however the clause was omitted during the drafting of the bill.
The bill will therefore be restricted to Israeli elements only.
Coalition chairman MK Elkin said that the wall-to-wall support for the bill proves that the MKs recognize the need to maintain a balance between democratic rights and prevention of direct damage to Israeli groups.
The next vote on the matter will be held after the Knesset's summer recess ends.