Israel 'kick-starting process to ban Amnesty International'

Israel 'kick-starting process to ban Amnesty International'
2 min read
12 September, 2017
Amnesty Israel has refused to comment on the situation, citing that they do not respond to rumours or leaks
Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank [AFP]
Israel plans to ban human rights organisation Amnesty International after it launched a campaign encouraging people to lobby companies and governments to boycott products grown and manufactured in illegal settlements.

An anti-boycott law was passed in 2011 which penalises organisations and people that call for the boycott of Israel or illegal Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land.

Israelis found donating to these organisations would be denied tax benefits, and would even have to pay a tax on the amount they have donated.

This is the first time the Israeli government will putting the anti-boycott law into action.

According to Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, which is close to the prime minister's party Likud, Israel’s Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has decided to take action against Amnesty for its “Israel’s Occupation: 50 Years of Dispossession" summer campaign.

The campaign marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It urged people across the world to understand the grim realities for Palestinians living under the Israeli occupation, and to boycott Israeli settlement products as a result.

Because Amnesty International in Israel is registered as an Israeli organisation, the Israeli government cannot directly ban the organisation the way it could with any other foreign organisation.

Palestinian sources have speculated to The New Arab that this step marks a more significant move to potentially ban Amnesty in Israel altogether and that this step is to put Amnesty at both a strategical and financial disadvantage.

The report had also said that in the coming days the representatives of Amnesty in Israel will be called for a hearing in the Ministry of Finance. After this, Kahlon will have to make a final decision on the official imposition of the financial sanctions. The organization may also be subject to claims for compensation.

Amnesty has refused to comment on the situation, saying they do not respond to rumours or leaks and will await an official summoning before making any statements.