An Israeli court on Tuesday approved the interior ministry’s decision to expel Human Rights Watch’s country director for allegedly supporting a boycott of the country.
Omar Shakir, a US citizen, will have until May 1 to leave Israel, according to the decision by the Jerusalem district court, which rejected his appeal against the original expulsion order, noting he could take it to the supreme court.
Israeli court asked me to vow not to call for "boycotts"- defined under law to include asking companies to respect their human rights responsibilities by ceasing activities in illegal settlements. I refused. Court approved my deportation, citing my refusal https://t.co/GtN6uW3M8O pic.twitter.com/0mALvjOoX9
— Omar Shakir (@OmarSShakir) April 17, 2019
The district court delayed Shakir’s deportation while it heard HRW’s challenge against the ministry’s decision to terminate his work permit.
Tuesday’s ruling said:
“Those who call to boycott Israel aim their arrows at it, but the individuals living in it are the ones who pay the price of the boycott.”
Omar Shakir's residency permit canceled over accusations that he promotes boycotting Israel ■ Lawyers plan to appeal, say ruling endangers human rights groupshttps://t.co/6KWmfiOWo2 pic.twitter.com/0jOMnnC1On
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) April 17, 2019
The court also noted that “it has been proven” that Shakir “continues to publicly call for a boycott on Israel or parts of it, while at the same time asking that it opens its gates for him”.
Hence “the interior minister’s decision to not enable the petitioner that is reasonable under the circumstances and does not justify intervention,” it said.
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) April 16, 2019
In 2017, Israel passed a law banning entry to foreigners who support boycotting the country.
The law was passed in response to a movement to boycott Israel by those seeking to pressure the country over its occupation of Palestinian territory.
Israeli court upholds deportation order against the Israel/Palestine director of Human Rights Watch, alleging that US citizen Omar Shakir's activities against West Bank settlements amount to illegal boycott https://t.co/P7HBjLoxtb
— DAILY SABAH (@DailySabah) April 17, 2019
HRW denied in response that the group or Shakir promoted a boycott of Israel, saying that Tuesday’s ruling was a “new and dangerous interpretation of the law,” since it equated criticism of businesses operating in the occupied West Bank to boycotting Israel.
HRW said it would challenge the decision with the supreme court and seek an injunction allowing Shakir to remain in Israel for the duration of the process.
(Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, PC, Social Media)