MK Yoav Kisch, chairman of the Interior Affairs Committee (Miriam Alster/Flash90) (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Yoav Kisch

The Knesset gave initial approval to measures that will intensify Israel’s war against those who attempt to harm it through boycotts.

By: United with Israel Staff

The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Wednesday set in motion a bill that would allow courts to require payment of NIS 100,000 in compensation without requiring proof of damage from anyone who “maliciously, more than once,” calls to boycott Israel.

The fine could reach NIS 500,000 if there is evidence that the activity was systematic.

After a heated debate, nine Members of Knesset (MK) supported the bill, which was approved in its first reading in the Knesset plenum but still must pass second and third readings to become law. Lawmakers from the opposition abstained.

The bill, sponsored by MK Yoav Kisch others, is an amendment to the original Law for Prevention of Damage to State of Israel through Boycott passed in 2011, which states that individuals or organizations who publicize a call for an economic, cultural or academic boycott against a person or entity merely because of its affiliation to the State of Israel or to a specific region under Israeli control could face a civil suit by a party claiming that it might be damaged by such a boycott.

The law, commonly known as the Boycott Law, also allows Israeli authorities to deny benefits such as tax exemptions or participation in government contracts to individuals or organizations who publicize calls to boycott the Jewish state and those who themselves commit to participate in such boycotts.

Justice Committee Chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky said the significance of the bill is that anyone who calls to boycott Israel will be fined.

Kisch said that “against the BDS we must be united and send out a clear call that the State of Israel cannot be boycotted. This [bill] is meant to harm all those who seek to harm us. A boycott on Israel must have a painful price, mainly if it comes from within us.”

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