Gush Shalom welcomes the decision of the Supreme Court to issue an order nisi in the appeal against the "boycott law" and require the state to explain why it would not revoke this law. "We were the first to appeal against this despicable law, on the very morning after the oppressive Knesset majority passed it. Fortunately, the struggle was soon joined by a broad spectrum of persons and groups who all submitted their own appeals against this law" says former KM Uri Avnery.
"During the preliminary hearing, the state wanted the appeal to be rejected out of hand, asserting that is was 'not ripe'. The Court did the opposite – they accepted our request, not only to deal with the appeal on its own merits but also move the hearing to a wider panel of judges, thus confirming that fundamental constitutional issues are involved. There is room for hope that this is the first step towards removing this outrageous anti-democratic stain from the law books of the State of Israel. It is the democratic right of peace-seeking Israeli citizens to boycott settlements established in Occupied Territory in violation of International Law, settlements which deny Palestinians the possibility of an independent state, and thus deny the citizens of Israel the chance of living in peace. Boycott is a perfectly democratic civic action. The right to boycott settlement products displayed on the shelves at the local supermarket is no less than the right of consumers to boycott exorbitantly priced products, the right of the observant to boycott non-kosher food and the right of animal lovers to boycott meat and fur."
Adv. Gaby Lasky, who along with Adv. Nery Ramati represents Gush Shalom in this appeal, added: "This law severely violates the freedom of expression and the right to equality. After the order nisi was issued, it seems unlikely that the state can offer a convincing justification for this violation, and we hope the court will put an end to it. The enactment of this law was a clear expression of the tyranny of the majority in the Knesset. We hope that the court will make unequivocally clear that also a numerical majority in the Knesset is obliged to maintain the principles of fairness required in a democratic system. "
Those who attended the preliminary hearing last week witnessed a surprising phenomenon: Eyal Yinon, the Knesset's legal adviser, declaring that he himself opposes this law, and that before it was passed he made in vain great efforts to dissuade the right-wing Knesset Members from enacting it. Gush Shalom spokesperson Adam Keller commented: "Yinon is caught in an impossible situation in which he is bound to defend an anti-democratic law that he himself opposes. This reflects the situation in which more and more people are put in 2012 Israel, with the government and the Knesset dominated by aggression and trampling on democratic norms. It is but proper that the court authorized representatives of the settlers, the so-called Forum for the Land of Israel, to participate in the proceedings and respond to the appeal. It is the settlers, the tail wagging the dog, who imposed this law on the State of Israel.”
The deadline set by the court for the state to respond is March 14, 2013. That would be short after the establishment of the new government following the general elections of the coming January. So, it may be the first test of the new government's position regarding the basic democratic rights of the citizens of Israel. "
Adam Keller, Gush Shalom spokesperson 054-2340749
Adv. Gabi Lasky 054-4418988