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The Only Democracy? » Discrimination » A bad day for Israeli democracy

A bad day for Israeli democracy

Coalition of Women for Peace, whose campaign we have featured before on this site, have a new video, and sadly, a new update on the progress of the “Boycott Bill” working its way through the Israeli Knesset. H/t to ACRI for the blog title, it came from the subject line of their email alerting us to the passage of this bill and the news that journalists aboard the Gaza Flotilla would be treated as criminals, which the government backed away from.

“Boycott Bill” update, June 27, 2011

A new article was introduced in the Knesset committee hearing today denying public and non-profit tax status to organizations who “call for boycott.’ Knesset committee approved bill including new article for final vote. Members of Kadima party who supported the bill withdrew their support. The bill was heavily criticized by government officials present at the hearing

Highlights from today’s hearing:

Eilat Maoz, CWP, to committee members:
“We are honored to inform you that even if you pass the bill, we will continue calling on Israelis to boycott the occupation”

MK Taleb Assana: “What about the fact that the bill breaches international law creating de Jure unification of Israel and the OPT?”

MK David Rotem (Chairman of Knesset Committee): “International Law is none of my interest”

MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima): “{eople who advance this delirious bill are mindless about the efforts to maintain Israel’s position in the world. You are robbing Israel of its greatest PR asset, its democracy.”

State’s Attorney’s office: “The bill is shaky and borders illegality”

Foreign Office representative: “The bill might cause serious diplomatic damage and encourage boycotts”


The bill aims at preventing citizens of Israel from protesting against the occupation by means of initiating or calling for a boycott. It passed first reading in the Knesset plenum on March 7, 2011 and has been deliberated today in preparation for a final vote. The bill defines a call for boycott as a tort, for which the court may rule compensation without obligation to prove damage. The bill further authorizes the Minister of Finance to limit the participation of companies that have committed themselves not to work in illegal settlements in the OPT in state tenders. The bill is one of the most dangerous anti-democratic laws promoted in this current Knesset. It criminalizes non-violent, legal and legitimate means to promote social and political aims that are protected in civil rights of freedom of expression, opinion and assembly. Leading civil society organizations have joined CWP’s campaign against the bill.

Coalition of Women for Peace: “Right to Resist” Campaign

CWP was present at the Knesset hearing and sent live twitter and facebook updates as part of its campaign against the bill. CWP is now launching the second phase of the “Right to Resist” campaign. The campaign consists of four videos starring some of Israel’s popular artists and cultural figures: singer-songwriter Rona Kenan, filmmakers Eitan Fox and Gal Ochovsky, the poet Meit Wizeltir, actress Einat Weizman, and cultural figure Muhammed Jabali.

Follow our campaign on twitter and facebook

Stay tuned for updates!

Written by

JESSE BACON (Philadelphia) is a freelance activist and father. He has a Masters in teaching from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is an observant progressive Jew, and is trying to be a good ally for Palestinians and all dispossessed peoples, while staying true to the best traditions in Judaism. He visited Israel and Palestine in 1996, 2001, and 2002. He served for three years on the local steering committee of Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, and one year on the board of Pursue the Peace in Seattle. Read his posts here.

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