May 23, 2019

Why Is Israel Trying to Deport Omar Shakir?

“I cover Israel and Palestine for Human Rights Watch. A year ago, the Israeli government revoked my work permit and ordered me, a U.S. citizen, to leave the country within two weeks, claiming that I promoted boycotts of Israel. We challenged the revocation and the law it was based on, which forbids entry to boycott advocates. An Israeli lower court froze the deportation order for the duration of proceedings.

Last month, though, the court upheld the deportation and gave me two weeks to leave. We appealed that decision to Israel’s Supreme Court and await a decision on whether I’ll be allowed to remain living and working here while the appeal is considered.

Some contend that measures like this are needed to protect Israel against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. But regardless of where you stand on BDS, this decision should trouble you for three reasons. In fact, it is people who support Israel who should be most concerned by this attempt to deport me.”

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