Israel's hardliners seek to outlaw settlement boycotts
Tuesday 12 July 2011
Israeli politicians were last night debating a bill that would punish any of its nationals who call for a cultural, academic or economic boycott of Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian territory.
Human rights campaigners say the bill, sponsored by right-wing politicians, is profoundly undemocratic and would deal a severe blow to freedom of speech if passed.
The bill is the product of hawkish politicians, who have bristled at domestic dissent towards Israeli policies – and in particular criticism of the settlement enterprise, viewed by many Israelis as an obstacle to a two-state solution. About 300,000 Israelis live in more than 100 settlements in the West Bank, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War.
The bill has provoked fierce criticism from the left, and non-governmental organisations have denounced it as anti-democratic and a violation of free speech, arguing that it robs Israelis of a means of protesting the occupation. The debate on boycotts was thrust into the public domain last summer after the Palestinians' decision to boycott settlement goods infuriated right-wing Israelis.
At the same time, a wave of high-profile international performers, among them the Pixies and Elvis Costello, cancelled performances in Israel, citing their discomfort with the occupation.
The backlash against homegrown boycotts appeared to grow in response to the refusal of a group of Israeli artists to perform at a new cultural centre in Ariel, a Jewish settlement deep inside the occupied West Bank.
And investors in a new Palestinian city provoked anger when they hired Israeli contractors on condition that they would not use materials or services from the settlements.
"It is a law for armour-plating the settlements, turning them into a sacred and immune cow, since anyone who dares to criticise it will pay dearly – quite literally," said Uri Avnery, an Israeli former politician.
PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
UK weather: Travel chaos continues as King's Cross train delays add to snow on roads
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 1 The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
- 2 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 3 Andy Murray takes to Twitter to show off his Christmas jumper
- 4 Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
- 5 Top 10 travel destinations for 2015: From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...