The NIFAu and the Knesset’s Anti-Boycott Laws

July 17, 2011 Agencies
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The New Israel Fund Australia has issued a statement…demonstrating concern about Israel’s new anti-boycott laws.

The Fund has issued the follow statement:

The New Israel Fund (Australia) (NIFAu) shares the grave concern being expressed in Israel and throughout the Diaspora about the “Anti-Boycott law” that the Knesset passed last week, despite strong lobbying of MKs by NIF grantees and others.

The law, sponsored by coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), has effect that a person who says anything publicly that is deemed to encourage a boycott commits a civil wrong, compensable if damage might reasonably have been expected to occur but without need to prove actual damage, and can lose the right to bid for government contracts.

NIF strongly opposes the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign and other delegitimisation of Israel. This law, however, though in terms applicable to all boycotts, is primarily intended to prevent boycotts of West Bank settlements and goods. It blurs the distinction between Israel proper and the occupied territories, and between unacceptable attacks on Israel and legitimate political activity by Israeli citizens, by selectively restricting the freedom of conscience and political expression of those many Israelis who believe that the settlements are illegal, illegitimate or do not serve the good of the State. For example, an artist who says publicly that conscience forbids him or her to perform in Ariel runs the risk of being sued for a large amount of money.

The law has been strongly criticised as undemocratic by many Jewish leaders, including the Speaker of the Knesset, Reuven Rivlin, and the Leader of the Opposition, Tzipi Livni.  Leading Israeli newspapers, including Ha’aretz, Ma’ariv, Israel Hayom and the Jerusalem Post, have published editorials or front page articles warning of the danger it signals to Israeli democracy. The Knesset’s own legal adviser, Eyal Yinon, and 32 Israeli university law professors have doubted its constitutionality. And the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), NIF’s flagship grantee, has filed a petition against the law with the Israeli High Court of Justice.

Israeli public debate has always been polarised over the issue of settlements and Israel’s presence in the West Bank and it is vital for Israel’s future that such political debate remain free and open. The Anti-Boycott law is part only of a raft of undemocratic legislative proposals that have been raised since this the 18th Knesset was formed.  ACRI monitors such proposals and posts updates on its website.

All who want to ensure that Israel remains a democracy in substance as well as form need to keep themselves informed and to make their voices heard. One way to do that is to support NIFAu and NIF, one of the strongest voices advocating for democracy, equality and justice in Israel.


3 Responses to “The NIFAu and the Knesset’s Anti-Boycott Laws”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:


    The whole so called ethical/legal argument is a ridiculously transparent dedication by NIF/NIFAu to the thinly veiled BDS type anti Israel actions so heavily financed by NIF.

    They reckon that long and hollow texts in which they avoid any refferrences to the vast history of NIF’s involvement in the deligimatisation of Israel, will fool all those far more intelligent than NIF’s partisans.

    But they don’t seem to be affected by criticism and even offense, as they keep on regurgitating the same deficient stuff.
    NIF belongs in the same periphery of oblivion as their brothers in arms JDS and all Lowensteins, rightly repudiated by a Community which is far more vigillant than NIF gives it credit for.

  2. david singer says:

    The Courts will finally rule on the constitutionality of this legislation and if found to be legal – the electorate will have a chance to have its say at the next elections.

    That such legislation became necessary to even contemplate introducing was the result of organizations like NIF encouraging support for organizations discriminating between Jews living in Israel and Jews living in the West Bank.

    Would the next call have been for Magen David Adom to refuse to accept blood from West Bank residents? After all if their products or services should be boycotted – why not their blood?

    This is the ridiculous situation to which a selective boycott of West Bank Jews could well have led.

    Oppose the settlements with all your strength and vigor and pursue the Government over its policy.

    But don’t discriminate against, vilify and demonize those Jews who live there with the full encouragement and support of successive Israeli Governments over the last four decades.

  3. MICHAEL BURD says:

    The NIF want the right to join Arab and Muslim groups in boycotting WestBank Israeli products and criticizing Israel after all NIF supporters keep telling us that the Left wing NIF is just as Zionistic as the SZC, ZFA and all other Israeli Lobby groups… Yeh … Go Figure?

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