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July 11, 2018 1:20 pm

Israel Slams ‘Immoral’ Bill Passed by Ireland’s Senate Outlawing Trade With West Bank Jewish Communities

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Irish legislation outlawing trade with Israeli settlements could put the Irish operations of US companies like Apple (pictured) at risk from US anti-boycott rules. Photo: Reuters / Michael MacSweeney.

Legislators in Ireland’s Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that will prohibit “the import or sale of goods and services” from Jewish communities in the West Bank, deemed to have been under Israeli “occupation” since the June 1967 Six-Day War.

Passed by a vote of 25-20, the bill drew support from all Ireland’s major political parties, except the governing Fine Gael party.

Before the vote, PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi called on “the Irish people in light of our historical relationship to stand up and to reject the importation of any settlement products — because settlements are, after all, a war crime and an ongoing aggression against the Palestinian people and they want you to be complicit in this war crime.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned Ireland’s ambassador in Tel Aviv, Simon Coveney, to condemn the Senate’s “absurd” initiative. The  ministry said the bill “will harm the livelihoods of many Palestinians who work in the Israeli industrial zones affected by the boycott.”

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The bill, which passed its second reading on Tuesday, still has eight more procedural hurdles to jump, including a vote in the Irish Parliament’s House of Representatives, before it can be signed into law by the Irish president.

Commenting on the legislation, Prof. Orde F. Kittrie — who teaches law at Arizona State University and is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) think tank — asserted that if “companies abide by the Irish law, they could violate U.S. law, which prohibits U.S. companies from participating in foreign boycotts that the U.S. government does not endorse.”

“The bill, if enacted, would put at risk Ireland’s economic links to the United States, which are vital to Irish prosperity,” Kittrie noted in an article for Fortune magazine.

Observing that in 2017, the US accounted for 67% of all foreign direct investment in Ireland, Kittrie warned that “this bill could make US companies with divisions or subsidiaries in Ireland, Irish companies with divisions or subsidiaries in the US, and their employees who are Irish citizens or resident in Ireland, choose between violating the Irish law or violating the anti-boycott provisions of the US Export Administration Regulations.”

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