A new draft bill sponsored by members of Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition would see activists who promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) campaign face criminal charges and jail time.
According to the proposal, reports Haaretz, “the crime in question, which already exists in the penal code, harms ‘Israel’s interests or Israel’s relations with a country, organization or institution’.”
The new element, backed by Likud MKs David Bitan (coalition whip), Anat Berko, and David Amsalem, as well as Kulanu lawmakers Yfat Shasha-Biton and Tali Plosko, is “including the promotion of anti-Israel boycotts as one of the acts that can result in indictment on this charge”.
The bill’s explanatory notes state that the law “is meant to apply to anyone who takes an active part in a movement that boycotts Israel or its products”.
Read: BDS’ effect on Israel
“Anyone who lends a hand to a boycott that harms Israel’s economy or harms it in other ways, like an academic boycott, must be called to account for it”, it continues.
“This is the difference between legitimate criticism and an assault that is a thuggish act in itself (boycott) and causes harm Israel and its citizens”.
The bill states that “if a boycott activist caused intentional harm, he could be liable for a prison term of up to 10 years or, in certain cases, even life”.