February 22, 2019

Irish Parliament Advances Bill Criminalizing the Purchasing of Products From Judea, Samaria

Photo from Wikipedia.

The Irish parliament advanced a bill that would criminalize the purchasing of goods from Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

On Thursday, the lower house of parliament voted to advance the bill, which would impose a five-year prison sentence or a fine that could be more than $280,000 for those who purchase products from “Israeli settlements” outside of the pre-1967 borders. According to the Jerusalem Post, this would include East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

The Israeli government will be reportedly reprimanding Ireland’s Ambassador to Israel, Alison Kelly, over the bill’s advancement.

“Israel is outraged over the legislation which is indicative of hypocrisy and anti-Semitism,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

“It is disturbing and disappointing that the initiators of the law are focusing on a hypocritical attack on Israel, rather than on dictatorships that slaughter their citizens,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “This is a clear expression of obsessive discrimination that should be rejected with disgust.”

The Irish Foreign and State Ministries have also signaled their opposition to the bill, noting that while they oppose Israeli settlements, the law would be in violation of the European Union’s (EU) trade policies.

The Lawfare Project indicated in July that they would file a lawsuit against the Irish government if the bill becomes law, arguing that it is illegal under EU laws.

“Commercial discrimination on the basis of nationality is shameful in any form, but it is particularly frightening when it emanates from the halls of government—from the same lawmakers who were elected to protect the legal rights of their constituents,” Lawfare Project executive director Brooke Goldstein said at the time. “We will do everything in our power to prevent this unprecedented state-sanctioned discrimination from becoming law in Ireland.”

Bloomberg columnist Eli Lake has pointed out that the bill “would force Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook to choose between their Irish tax haven and their business in the Jewish state.”

However, supporters of the bill, such as parliamentarian Fiona O’Loughlin, have stated that they will continue to support the bill because it expresses “our solidarity with the Palestinian people who are living in dreadful conditions in the occupied territories.”

The American Jewish Committee tweeted that they were “deeply disappointed” in the Irish parliament:

StandWithUs executive director Michael Dickson tweeted that the bill is “disgusting” and “discriminatory”: