Human Rights Watch’s Israel-Palestine director to be expelled from the country for advocating BDS

Omar Shakir will remain in his job, the organisation said, and will operate from a neighbouring country


Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) Israel-Palestine Director will be deported under BDS law from promoting anti-Israel boycotts.

But the organisation has said that Omar Shakir will keep his job and operate from a neighbouring country. He will leave Israel on Monday, a year and a half after deportation proceedings began.

Mr Shakir said: “This has never been about BDS. It’s always been about the Israeli government’s efforts to muzzle Human Rights Watch.

“But it’s had exactly the opposite effect. The world has seen through this for what it is. It’s an attack on the human rights movement.”

HRW tweeted: “Today is the day that Israel deports Human Rights Watch's Israel-Palestine Director, @omarsshakir, for doing his job.

“It won't stop us investigating and reporting human rights abuses there.”

The Israeli Supreme Court recently upheld the Interior Ministry’s decision not to renew Mr Shakir’s work visa.

In a document making the recommendation from the Strategic Affairs Ministry obtained by Haaretz, it says that “Shakir continued encouraging activities to promote boycotts against Israel even after obtaining a work visa.”

It also noted his efforts to get Israel suspended from FIFA and his “consistent calls for BDS at conferences, meetings and on social media over the years.”

Mr Shakir's attorneys Michael Sfard, Emily Schaeffer Omer-Man and Alon Sapir wrote in a joint statement that the ruling “would unprecedentedly harm the ability of human rights organizations and human rights defenders to do their work in Israel and the occupied territories in connection with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

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