Israel Anti-boycott bill becomes law after passing Knesset

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

Bill to provide civil penalties for anyone calling for boycott on Israel, settlements; Knesset legal adviser: Legislation may fail High Court test.

The Knesset adjourning for its spring break.
Photo by: Courtesy

The “Boycott Bill” was approved in its final reading in the Knesset on Monday night, after a plenum discussion that lasted nearly six hours and uncertainty throughout the day as to whether a vote would take place.

The bill passed with 47 in favor and 38 opposed, despite the fact that most Shas lawmakers were absent because of MK Nissim Ze’ev’s daughter’s wedding.

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In addition, many cabinet members – including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – did not attend the vote and the Independence faction chose not to participate.

Netanyahu’s spokesman would not comment on why the prime minister did not vote.

Earlier on Monday, the legislation’s sponsor, coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), and like-minded MKs held a press conference in support of the anti-boycott bill, after Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and his deputies voted five to three to bring it to the plenum.

“This bill defends the State of Israel,” Elkin said. “We have no right to ask our allies to do the same, if an Israeli citizen can do as he wishes.”

The new law allows citizens to bring civil suits against persons and organizations that call for economic, cultural or academic boycotts against Israel, Israeli institutions or regions under Israeli control. It also prevents the government from doing business with companies that initiate or comply with such boycotts.

Elkin defended the measure, calling it “vegetarian” and saying that its meat was removed when the clause making boycotts a criminal offense was removed.

“The law says that if you harm me [with a boycott], I have the right to ask for damages, and if you boycott the State of Israel, don’t ask it for benefits,” he said. “It was significantly softened.”…READ MORE

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Israeli President Shimon Peres thanks Greek president for stopping flotilla

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

Source: JTA, 7-11-11

Israeli President Shimon Peres thanked his Greek counterpart, Karolos Papoulias, for his country’s help in stopping a flotilla bound for Gaza.

Peres hosted Papoulias on Monday in Jerusalem for a reception and a working meeting.

“I genuinely thank you for fulfilling the directives of the Secretary-General of the United Nations by stopping the flotilla,”  Peres told Papoulias. “I thank you for not allowing people interested in violating the law and disrupting order to reach Gaza, which is ruled by a terror organization.

“Greece, in an impressive manner, showed the U.N. that she stands ready to assist. Your contribution to lower tensions benefits the entire region as well as Gaza itself.  You acted legally and carefully, and I thank you for your personal involvement in this matter.”

Peres called the Greek president’s visit “the start of the opening of a new chapter in Greece-Israel relations. Both of our nations share an ancient past, and I believe we share a great future.”

He also thanked the country for sending firefighting planes and firefighters to help in extinguishing last year’s Carmel forest fire.

During their meeting the two leaders discussed strengthening relations between Greece and Israel in a number of areas, particularly diplomatic and trade relations, Peres’ office told journalists.

Glenn Beck to Israeli parliament: Chin up, I’m with you

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

Source: CS Monitor, 7-11-11

Political commentator Glenn Beck spoke at an Israeli parliament meeting today, pledging his love for the Jewish state and criticizing a ‘skewed’ US press.

US TV commentator Glenn Beck gestures as he speaks in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem, Monday, July 11. Beck received several rounds of applause by Israeli lawmakers as he voiced his unequivocal support for Israel during a visit to Jerusalem. He spoke Monday before a packed parliamentary committee.

Sebastian Scheiner/AP

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Former Fox host Glenn Beck gave a public relations pep talk in the Israeli parliament today, urging legislators not to mince words that the conflict with the Palestinians threatens Israel’s existence.

Mr. Beck is making three solidarity trips to the Jewish state this year at a time when Israelis are anxiety ridden about diplomatic and economic isolation from the deep freeze in the peace process. The parliamentary hearing comes just days after Mr. Beck hosted his last program on the Fox News channel.

He’s the latest US religious conservative figure to find fans among pro-settler Israeli politicians like Danny Danon, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party who hosted Beck at a parliamentary committee.

“In America, the media is skewed on Israel,” Beck said at a hearing of the Knesset’s Committee on Immigration and Diaspora affairs. “The Israeli Palestinian conflict … is about the destruction of Israel and the end of the western way of life. Period.”…READ MORE

Israel’s backers must reach out, Beck tells Knesset committee

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

Source: JTA, 7-11-11

Talk show host Glenn Beck told a Knesset committee that advocates for Israel must reach out to synagogues and churches alike.

In an address to the Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee, Beck also quoted the book of Ruth, saying, “Where you go, I shall go, Your people is my people, your God is my God.”

Beck addressed the committee Monday at the invitation of its chairman, Danny Danon of the Likud Party.

“We invited Glenn Beck to our committee because he has done such a wonderful job of explaining the basic truth on his programs,” said Danon, the Knesset’s deputy speaker. “Israel has always been and always will be the homeland of the Jewish People, and any attempts to delegitimize this right should not be accepted by fair and free people around the world.”

Beck’s visit, including his address to the Knesset committee, reportedly is being filmed for his online show, which will be used to promote his announced “Restoring Courage” rally to be held in Jerusalem in late August.

Herman Cain, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, and U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) have said they will attend the rally.

Beck’s show on Fox aired for the final time at the end of June.

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