The Knesset approved a bill proposal that bans boycotts against Israeli individuals, companies and organizations in its first reading. If it is approved in subsequent readings, the law will place sanctions on Israelis that initiate or promote such boycotts.
The Knesset has already made a preliminary move to approve the proposal earlier this month, but the measure was appealed by MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima). The Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee debated the bill, and decided to revise it to state that it will only target the individuals who organize the boycotts, not those who participate in them.
"Despite the revisions that were made to the bill after pressure from the Opposition, it is still a dangerous law that allows for the violation of the freedom of political expression," Pelsner said.
Rawabi ClauseMK Zeev Elkin (Likud), who initiated the proposal, used the opportunity to add the "Rawabi Clause" to the bill, which would allow the Finance Ministry to prevent companies that agree to take part in anti-Israeli boycotts from participating in government bids.
"I welcome the committee's majority approval of the bill, and I hope that the lawmaking process will be completed hastily," Elkin said. "Israel must protect itself from those who attempt to destroy it, at least as much as we ask other nations to protect us."
Government officials from the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Justice Ministry said in an earlier discussion that the law proposal might heavily damage Israel. Left wing officials, including MKs from Labor and Arab parties, spoke fervently against the proposal, claiming that it weakens Israel in its battle against its de-legitimization around the world. Kadima, which leads the Opposition, also decided not to participate in promoting the law.
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