Breaking: Boycott bill approved, final vote imminent

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel issued a press release Monday evening confirming that the (Anti)Boycott bill was approved for a final reading, making it highly likely that it will pass in the final vote in Knesset.

According to ACRI’s translation of the bill, a “a boycott against the State of Israel” is

deliberately avoiding economic, cultural or academic ties with another person or another factor only because of his ties with the State of Israel, one of its institutions or an area under its control, in such a way that may cause economic, cultural or academic damage.

According to the bill, not even participating, but just making a public call for boycott is considered a civil wrong which is punishable by a variety of measures enumerated in the bill, which can be read here. Furthermore, NGOs who are found guilty of calling for a boycott would be in danger of losing tax exemptions and the loss of eligibility for benefits afforded by various laws, so this is a political aimed at damaging and limiting the operations of human rights organizations in Israel.

Furthermore, the bill does not specify any difference between Israel inside and outside the Green Line, but rather simply states “The State of Israel,” meaning that if this passes into law, Israel will be prohibiting a legitimate and democratic expression of protest against the occupation. This means that even the Israeli artists and their supporters who are boycotting the Ariel Cultural Center deep in the West Bank, would be implicated.

Now that the bill has been approved by the (ironically called) Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, no more amendments may be made should the bill pass into law.