Law to criminalise Israel boycotts planned

Dalya Itzik: law proposal

Dalya Itzik: law proposal

A new law that will fine Israelis who promote boycotts of Israel and prevent foreign citizens who do so from entering the country will be brought to the Knesset next week.

The law is a joint proposal of the coalition chairman, MK Zeev Elkin, and the chairman of the parliamentary faction of the main opposition party, Kadima's Dalya Itzik.

It includes a range of sanctions against those calling for boycotts of Israel and Israeli institutions and companies.

Under the law, Israelis involved in such initiatives will be fined and trade sanctions will be levied against countries supporting a boycott, while their
citizens doing so will be denied entry to Israel. The Knesset Justice Committee approved the proposal last week for a first reading, despite opposition both from the Foreign Ministry and within Kadima.

The Foreign Ministry expressed reservations over the law, its legal adviser saying that legislation would actually limit the means to fight boycott initiatives. Meanwhile, a number of Kadima MKs objected to the sweeping terms of the law, which they claimed were contradictory to freedom of speech.

Another law that was turned down this week was a proposal by coalition member Yisrael Beiteinu to prevent artists who have not served in the IDF from appearing in state-funded events. The law, which generated fierce opposition from artists' unions, was removed from the agenda after a large majority of the ministers on the cabinet's legislative committee objected to what Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar described as "creating a culture commissar".

    Last updated: 2:18pm, February 24 2011