Israel’s top judicial panel has upheld much-disputed 2011 legislation, which allows lawsuits and penalties against companies, NGOs and individuals who attempt to impose a boycott on Israel or its West Bank settlements.
The bill was passed four years ago to combat the nascent Palestinian-born Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, but has been in legal limbo ever since, over accusations that it is unconstitutional. It was suspended by the same High Court of Justice in December 2012, and has never been used.
On Wednesday, the nine-person panel voted unanimously to preserve the broadly-worded legislation that allows anyone who 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,” to file legal charges. An identical vote kept the right of the Ministry of Finance to take away funding, or even fine any organizations that support the BDS campaign.