Deported BDS activist scheduled to address Knesset

A parliamentary aide to Touma-Suleiman told Arutz-7 said Shakir is tentatively scheduled to address the gathering, adding that a final roster of speakers has yet to be drawn up.

By World Israel News Staff

Despite being deported from Israel in April 2019 due to his support for BDS, Omar Shakir, the Israel and “Palestine” director of Human Rights Watch, is scheduled to address the Knesset via Zoom, Arutz-7 reports.

Israel enacted a law in 2017 barring entry to any foreigner who “knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel.” The ruling was the first time the law was applied to a person already residing in the country.

Shakir, a U.S. citizen, has been the New York-based group’s Israel and ‘Palestine director’ since October 2016.

Israel’s interior minister ordered Shakir’s deportation in May 2018, calling him a “boycott activist.”

Shakir “continues his actions publicly to advance a boycott against Israel, but it’s not on the stages at conferences or in university panels, rather through disseminating his calls to advance boycott primarily through his Twitter account and by other means,” the court said.

Human Rights Watch argued neither the organization nor Shakir promotes Israel boycotts, but has called for companies to cease operations in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria because they “inherently benefit from and contribute to serious violations of international humanitarian law.”

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The court upheld the law applying to boycotts of “areas under (Israel’s) control,” namely the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), not just of Israel proper.

Most recently, in April 2021, the NGO released a 213-page report, penned by Shakir, accusing Israel of apartheid and crimes against humanity, slamming the Jewish State for alleged persecution of Palestinians.

Shakir’s address – titled “After 54 Years: Between Occupation and Apartheid” – is being organized by Meretz MK Mossi Raz and Aida Touma-Suleiman, a member of the Hadash faction within the Joint Arab List, says Arutz-7. It is being sponsored by far-left groups, including Human Rights Watch, b’Tselem, Adalah, Peace Now, Yesh Din and Breaking the Silence.