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Weinstein: Some alterations implemented Photo: Noam Moskowitz
Weinstein: Some alterations implemented Photo: Noam Moskowitz
 
 

AG: Boycott Law 'borderline' defensible

Yehuda Weinstein to defend new law prohibiting boycotts against Israel in High Court after petition is filed against it, but Coalition MKs warn justices not to intervene. 'Negligent minority controls legal system,' says MK Levin

Aviad Glickman
Latest Update: 07.13.11, 00:30 / Israel News

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein is set to defend the newly-instated Boycott Law before the High Court of Justice, despite his stated opinion that the law is "borderline" defensible.

 

Meanwhile members of the Coalition who voted in favor of the law expressed outrage at the fact that it would be subject to scrutiny by the court, claiming the institution was overstepping its authority.

 

On Monday Gush Shalom filed a petition with the High Court against the law, which imposes sanctions on anyone boycotting Israeli companies or organizations.

 

 

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Justice Salim Joubran allotted the state 60 to respond to the petition, after which, legal sources surmise, and extended panel of judges may take months to come to a decision.

 

Legal sources confirmed to Ynet Tuesday that the law can stand up in court in its current form, but that even the slightest alteration could present insurmountable obstacles.

 

Attorney Raz Nizri, top aide to Weinstein, said last week that the law was on shaky legal ground. Since then, however, the Justice Ministry has ordered the law altered.

 

"We have made various comments on the law with the aim of rendering it more proportional, so that in our opinion it can withstand legal examination," Weinstein said in a statement Tuesday. "Some of the comments were implemented in the final draft of the law and some weren't."

 

"The law is problematic – this is a complicated legal issue. Every clause will have to be examined at great length in order to make sure they do not harm Basic Laws," one source told Ynet.

 

"The High Court may intervene here because of this and order one or more clauses removed or altered. However, there is always the possibility that because the law is a political bombshell, the judges will only criticize it and refrain from intervening."

 

'Court has become Meretz branch'

But Coalition MKs were enraged at the possibility of the court's intervention. "The High Court has no authority to disqualify laws. This whole procedure is an anti-democratic step initiated by a minority that has failed the true public test – the test of elections," said MK Yariv Levin (Likud).

 

"I warn the High Court and the heads of the legal system against intervening and creating a complete rift with the majority of the people," he said, adding, "I think there is a negligent minority that controls the legal system and believes that it has the right to determine the norms instead of the Knesset, while disregarding the will of the people."

 

Another Likud Member of Knesset, Ofir Akunis, accused the Left of "whining to the High Court after losing the political field in a democratic way".

 

"There is no clause in this law that is unconstitutional," he added.

 

The National Union was also outraged, with MK Michael Ben-Ari saying, "I hope the justices will be wise enough not to intervene in the Boycott Law. As it is the public's trust in Dorit Beinish has reached its lowest point yet. The Supreme Court president better think twice before giving legitimacy to the claims that the court has officially become a Meretz branch."

 

Legal sources say that the Justice Ministry's alterations to the law focused on clauses dealing with employment and permits. However other clauses – such as those that deal with the withdrawal of state funds from boycotters – will be easier to defend.

 

In addition, the Justice Ministry opposed a clause labeling violations of the law criminal violations, the sources say.

 

Moran Azulay contributed to this report

 

 

First Published: 07.12.11, 21:30

 

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