Israeli Government Response
On 11 July 2011, the Israeli Knesset passed a law that makes the call for a boycott on Israel or Israeli settlements a civil wrong. 47 members of the Knesset voted in favour and 38 against. The law primarily allows targets of announced boycotts to persons and organisations that promote them, without having to first prove they were harmed by the boycott. The law also allows the Israeli government to deny contracts and withdraw financial support to those who promote boycotts. The law does not create any criminal offences or criminal sanctions.
The law was heavily criticized in Israel by both left-wing and Arab political parties. Israeli leftist and human rights organizations also criticized the law, and launched a public campaign against it. Prior to the law's approval, four Israeli human rights groups sent letters to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, demanding a halt in the approval process of the law. After the law was passed, the far-left Gush Shalom movement petitioned the Supreme Court, claiming that the law violated basic democratic principles. The Supreme Court has given the Israeli government 60 days to respond. Thirty-four law professors signed a petition against the law to be forwarded to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein.
During an address to the Knesset, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected criticism over his failure to attend the boycott law vote, and stressed that he had in fact approved the bill. He also criticized Kadima party members who initially supported the bill and later opposed its final version, accusing them of folding to pressure.
Read more about this topic: Boycotts Of Israel
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