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Israeli ministers advance new anti-BDS legislation

BDS
BDS [File photo]

Israeli ministers approved a new measure targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign on Sunday, a bill which, if ultimately passed into law, will make it easier to sue “people encouraging boycotts of Israel or the settlements” by removing the need for “proof of damages”.

Having received the backing of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, the legislation, drafted by Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan and Likud MK Yoav Kisch, will now head to the Knesset plenum.

According to The Jerusalem Post, “the bill brings back an article from the 2011 Boycott Law that the Supreme Court cancelled”, namely the ability to sue without proof of damages. Since the law was passed, the paper noted, “no one has sued invoking it, and the new bill hopes to change that”.

The new bill seeks to avoid problems with the Supreme Court in that it caps damages claims at NIS 100,000, and does not apply to “a one-time expression of support for boycotts”.

Read: 13 questions about the origins, objectives and war on BDS 

Welcoming the ministerial backing, Erdan said: “The main boycott activists, who devote all their time to hurting Israeli citizens and the Israeli economy, must know that they can be charged an economic price for the damage they inflict on the State”.

MK Kish was similarly bullish: “The time has come for the state to have the ability to strike at the economic power behind the BDS movement, its satellites, and anyone calling for the boycott of Israel and its citizens. We will not stop until this phenomenon is completely eradicated”.

Last year, Israel budgeted NIS 118 million ($32 million) to fight the BDS movement, with measures including “blocking the entrance of activists into Israel and encouraging its allies worldwide, especially in the US, to promote anti-BDS legislation”.

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