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June 17, 2020 2:06 pm

‘Major Blow to BDS’: Bill Criminalizing Business With Israeli Settlements Shelved by New Irish Coalition

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A general view picture shows houses in the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, in the West Bank, Feb. 15, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad / File.

An Irish bill that would have criminalized doing business with Israeli settlements was shelved this week, when it was not included in the incoming coalition government’s five-year plan.

The legislation — which would have fined any Irish citizens involved in goods and services produced in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem 250,000 euros and sentenced them to five years in prison — will not be part of the Program for Government in Ireland adopted by the new coalition.

The Ireland Israel Alliance (ILA) called the bill “shameful and illegal” and noted it was supported by, among others, the BDS group Al-Haq, whose leader has been linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group.

In 2018, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express all shut down their operations enabling online donations to Al-Haq due to its terror connections.

The ILA called the defeat of the bill “a major blow to the BDS movement.”

However, the group added, “We are under no illusion that we have heard the last of this bill.”

The UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) group described the bill’s failure “a major defeat for the antisemitic BDS movement, which put large resources behind a campaign to pass the bill over the last three years.”

UKLFI particularly praised Irish opposition party Fine Gael — now part of the new coalition — for opposing the bill, which the party said was a violation of EU law.

The chief executive of UKLFI, Jonathan Turner, said, “It was very important to win this. If we had lost, other EU countries might well have followed. The legal objections were decisive and this shows the significance of the legal component in fighting BDS and other anti-Israel activities.”

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