Israeli Knesset completes step 1 of 3 in criminalizing nonviolent economic pressure against the Occupation

Real News Network, a professional online alternative to US corporate media, has this comprehensive report about a Knesset bill to criminalize Palestinian, international and Israeli efforts to promote and enact boycotts against Israel. Last week, it passed its “preliminary reading” in the Knesset, with two more rounds to go to become law.

If passed, this stunning bill will mark the most severe and antidemocratic backlash thus far against the boycott, sanctions and divestment movement (BDS) to pressure Israel to abide by international law.

The video below includes an interview with Dalit Baum of Who Profits, the project of Israel’s Coalition of Women for Peace that documents which companies profit from Israel’s occupation. The proposed law would put the Coalition out of business, mandating that any Israeli who promotes boycotts be held liable for economic losses suffered by an Israeli company because of the boycott. The report also references the Reut Institute report about the “soft warfare” against Israel –which the rest of the world calls civil society advocacy for universal democratic rights– which we have covered here at length.  There’s also recent news about the harassment of Israeli refuser and BDS support Yonatan Shapira, though no mention of arrest of Palestinian Israelis Ameer Makhoul and Omar Said and others. The entire law depends on the ability of Israeli intelligence services to build and maintain a large databases of internationals and Israelis.

Settlement-based businesses have already reported significant losses due to a new Palestinian Authority ban on settlement-produced goods. The law would ban international supporters of BDS from the country for 10 years, and would  financially devastated the Palestinian Authority by withholding monies rightfully owed to the Palestinians according to international law.

The bill, supported by the so-called “centrist” group Kadmia, is one third of the way to being passed.It is part of a cluster of anti-democratic laws being pushed through the right wing Knesset including, according to Peace Now’s Yariv Oppenheimer: the “NPO registration bill,” the “cinema-loyalty bill” (which demands a loyalty statement as a condition for receiving a budget from the state for making movies), the “citizenship revocation bill” and the “loyalty bill”. Oppenheimer goes on:

Along with these bills, the coalition is succeeding in promoting bills that discriminate in favor of the right wing side of the political map and which give privileges to settlers and their supporters.  The “law for pardoning opponents of disengagement,” the “Golan referendum bill” and the “bill for preserving the rights of Israeli citizens in parts of the Land of Israel to which Israeli law does not apply”–all these are legislative initiatives that place the settlers in a unique legal status above other citizens, and even above the Knesset.

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