The Israeli High Court rejected a petition by human rights organizations, upholding the controversial “boycott law” on Wednesday. The law give grounds for individuals to sue anyone who calls for a boycott of Israel, or areas under its control.
The court struck down only one section of the law, which establishes that one may seek punitive damages for a deliberate call to boycott without needing to prove actual damages. It appears that one will now need to show actual damages in order to win a lawsuit.
Justice Hanan Meltzer, who wrote the majority opinion, ruled that a call to boycott is not consistent with the true purpose of freedom of expression, and therefore is not protected speech. He went on to describe boycott calls as “political terrorism,” adding that the state has a right to defend itself from them.
The human rights organizations that challenged the law responded to the ruling by saying that the High Court failed to protect the freedom of speech. “The Anti-Boycott Law is a law to ‘shut mouths.’ Its sole purpose is to silence legitimate criticism. The Court’s decision allows sanctions on freedom of expression and the right to political action concerning hotly contested issues of debate.”
– Read more: Israel’s High Court Upholds Controversial ‘Boycott Law’ – 972Mag