ADL: Boycott Law Impinges Upon Israelis' Democratic Rights

ADL president visiting in Israel says while the league opposes boycott of Israel, law allows government to 'legally stifle calls to action', is disservice to Israel's democratic nature.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed serious concern over the recently passed boycott law on Tuesday, calling it an unnecessary impingement of Israelis’ basic democratic right to freedom of speech.

The league’s President, Abraham H. Foxman, who is currently in Israel, issued a statement Tuesday saying that while the ADL “has a long history of vigorous opposition to any and all boycotts of Israel”, the recently passed law runs counter to the league’s belief in the importance of democratic ideals.

Abe Foxman, AP
AP / Corrado Giambalvo

Foxman went on to commend Israel for its “vibrant democracy”, adding that the six-hour-long debate in Knesset Monday before the bill was passed was testimony to this. However, he said, the boycott law is a disservice to Israel’s democratic nature, allowing the government to “legally stifle calls to action – however abhorrent and detrimental they might be”.

He then called on the Supreme Court to take up a review of the law “and resolve the concerns it raises”.

According to the recently passed law, a person or an organization calling for the boycott of Israel, including the settlements, can be sued by the boycott's targets without having to prove that they sustained damage.

The court will then decide how much compensation is to be paid. The second part of the law says a person or a company that declare a boycott of Israel or the settlements will not be able to bid in government tenders.