Groups digging in against Israels anti-boycott law

The board of directors of Americans for Peace Now has voted unanimously to support a boycott of products manufactured in West Bank Jewish settlements.

Meeting in a special session July 19 to discuss Israel’s new anti-boycott law, the APN board endorsed the Israel-based Peace Now campaign to challenge the law and voted to join in the settlement boycott, according to a statement.

Debra DeLee, APN’s president and CEO, called the law passed last week by Israel’s Knesset “a travesty of democracy.”

“APN proudly supports our colleagues in the Israeli Peace Now movement as they lead domestic efforts to challenge the new law,” DeLee said. “They understand what this law means for Israel and for their future as Israelis. They know that it is not just their own ability to fight for peace, but also the very soul of Israel that it is at stake.”

DeLee said that APN continues to oppose BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions) against Israel and the Israeli people as a whole, and urged consumers to buy Israeli products.

“However,” she said, “today it is clear that Israeli extremists are exploiting concerns about BDS, turning them into a pretext to effectively outlaw peaceful opposition to settlements and the occupation.”

DeLee said the new law is not about boycotts or settlements, but rather is “about stifling dissent, smothering activism and suppressing freedom of expression.”

Meanwhile, the left-wing Meretz Party issued a call this week to label products made in Jewish settlements in stores throughout Israel.

In a challenge to the anti-boycott bill approved last week — but still not in effect — Meretz activists entered supermarkets July 17 and placed stickers on products made in settlements.

Right-wing Israeli lawmaker Aryeh Eldad filed a police complaint this week against Meretz under a criminal law that prohibits conspiracy to harm an individual or his livelihood. The law carries a two-year prison sentence. — jta