Knesset Anti-Boycott Law May Infringe On Basic Democratic Rights

Jerusalem, July 12, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed concern about a law passed in the Israeli parliament which imposes legal liability for damages against anyone calling for a boycott of Israel, including economic, academic, cultural, and other blacklisting.

The law enables Israeli citizens to bring civil suits against people or organizations instigating anti-Israel boycotts, and bars companies which participate in any boycott, including of goods produced in the West Bank, from bidding for Israeli government tenders.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, who is currently in Israel, issued the following statement:

The Anti-Defamation League has a long history of vigorous opposition to any and all boycotts of Israel, and works every day to expose and combat those who seek to cause damage to the Jewish state. We are, however, concerned that this law may unduly impinge on the basic democratic rights of Israelis to freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

Among Israel's many assets is its vibrant democracy – a fact clearly supported by the six-plus hour debate of this bill in the Knesset. To legally stifle calls to action – however abhorrent and detrimental they might be – is a disservice to Israeli society. We hope Israel's Supreme Court will quickly take up a review of this law and resolve the concerns it raises.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

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Rafael López