Bill Banning Boycott Backers From Israel Passes Preliminary Reading

'Anyone who wants to boycott is welcome to do so from Syria,' says MK Yinon Magal, who submitted the bill. Gov't supports such a law but finds current version extreme.

A man wearing a T-shirt with the message, "Boycott Israel Apartheid" holding a Palestinian flag during a protest on a bridge overlooking umbrellas placed along the artificial beach along the "Paris Plages" event, in Paris, France, August 13, 2015.
Reuters

The Knesset approved Wednesday the preliminary reading of a bill forbidding entry into Israel of anyone who calls for a boycott against Israel. The bill, which passed 55-31, followed Wednesday morning's decision of the European Union to adopt new guidelines for labeling products from Israeli settlements. 

"Anyone who wants to boycott Israel will be able to do it here," said MK Yinon Magal (Habayit Hayehudi), who submitted the bill. "He is invited to boycott Israel from Syria. The absurd situation in which a person exploits Israeli democracy and what Israel has to offer to advance boycotts against it is about to stop. The days are over when people who called for boycotting Israel landed at Ben-Gurion and took a taxi to Bil'in to throw stones at soldiers."

Interior Minister Silvan Shalom, who responded in the name of the government, said: "This bill is no doubt extreme, and there needs to be a thoughtful discussion about it and provisions for exceptions. The government is supportive subject to coordinating legislation with it."

MK Dov Khenin (Arab Joint List), who opposed the bill, said, "The real headline for this bill is the law for encouraging boycotting the State of Israel." He observed that according to the bill, "anyone who participates in labeling products can't enter Israel."

He added: "All of Europe is out. People are prepared to pay the price of deepening delegitimization and of hurting tourism in order to protect the settlements."

The European Commission adopted Wednesday morning the Notice on indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, a senior EU official said. Following the decision, EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem for a reprimand.