Israel and human rights split due to irreconcilable differences

By Louis Frankenthaler who lives in West Jerusalem with his family. He is a human rights worker and doctoral student.

I read, today, in Haaretz that “two controversial bills – one prohibiting calls for a boycott against Israel, and the other restricting the ability of human rights groups to raise funds abroad – are likely to be the focus of fierce debate in the Knesset next week.” This will be just the latest example of Israel’s counter-democratic parliament passing bills and laws with little resemblance to democracy.

The Knesset - Parliment of Isreal

What first comes to mind is the incongruent nature of the two bills. On the one hand, the anti-boycott bill forbids causing economic harm to institutions, arms, etc. of the State of Israel for political reasons via boycotts… That, is, the Occupation, as an institution of the State of Israel is protected from boycott, and anti-Occupation boycott advocates are subject to punishment. On the other hand the Knesset is toying with a bill to legislatively boycott human rights NGOs. It seeks to limit the human rights community’s ability to accept donations that originate from foreign government sources, essentially only because they advocate for human rights and reveal, criticize and seek to change Israeli human rights policy. It seems that for the Knesset, human rights is like cottage cheese…

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