A nine-member panel of the Israeli Supreme Court dealt a blow to the Boycott Israel and BDS movements Wednesday by unanimously rejecting leftist petitions against a law that prohibits boycotts of goods from Israel.
The part of the legislation that protected products from Judea and Samaria from boycotts also was upheld by the court, but only by a 5-4 margin.
The only part of the legislation that was struck down by the justices was a clause allowing people to sue for more than compensation covering damage.
The law was passed in 2011 to thwart the boycott campaigns, but the Supreme Court suspended the law in December 2012 following petitions challenging the constitutionality of the legislation.
Justice Hanan Meltzer wrote in Wednesday’s ruling that boycotts are “political terrorism.”
The anti-boycott law allows lawsuits against any company, individual or organization that has been discriminated against “solely because of their affinity with the State of Israel, one of its institutions or an area under its control, in such a way that may cause economic, cultural or academic damage.”
The anti-boycott has been effective even when while it was suspended.
The left-wing 972 Magazine website, which states that is against the “occupation,” wrote Wednesday:
Civil society organizations self-censored in order to protect themselves from civil suits…. (Two years ago the editors of +972 Magazine decided to stop self-censoring boycott related articles.) [Parentheses are in the original content – [ed].
NGOs opposing the bill were quoted by the website as having commented on the court’s unanimous ruling, “The boycott law is a law to silence legitimate criticism. The High Court ruling is a serious blow to freedom of expression and basic rights for political participation on a disputed topic.”
“Freedom of expression” is very a popular concept among those who exploit it to demonize Israel and try to turn it into an Arab country.
The law does not ban debates against Israel. Nine justices on a court that is one of the most liberal judicial bodies in the Western world ruled that the law is constitutional. The decision implicitly made it clear that “freedom of expression” does not cover discrimination against a country’s goods simply because they are made by Jews, regardless of where they live.
Justice Meltzer explicitly wrote that Israel has the right to protect itself from people trying to use “freedom of expression” to destroy the country.
Even the 972 website told its readers that many anti-Israelis use the boycott “desire the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.”