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Kadima Flip-Flops as Knesset Gears Up for Boycott Law Battle

As MKs take sides over the “boycott law,” MK Elkin says Kadima's change of heart reveals slide to the left.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 7/10/2011, 9:57 PM / Last Update: 7/11/2011, 12:40 AM

Flash 90

Members of Knesset are gearing up for a battle over a law that would ban boycotts on Israel – including boycotts of companies and organizations in Judea and Samaria. Those who violate the law, if it passes, could face civil sanctions.

The law would apply only to those who campaign in an attempt to encourage others to boycott, not to private boycotts. It would also apply only to organizations targeted for their geographic location, and not to boycotts targeting stores for any other reason.

MK Zeev Elkin spoke to Arutz Sheva about his plans to see the bill pass a final reading. Elkin is working to get broad-based coalition support. The importance of the bill makes it important that it pass with a strong majority, he explained.

The political left sees the bill as important as well, he added, and so is working hard to get it voted down. "I hope the MKs will understand that this is a battle between Zionism and the new Left, and will bring a respectable majority," he said.

If the bill does not pass, Israel will lose its right to overseas support, he warned, saying, "If we do not pass this bill, we will lose our moral right to ask other countries to join us in fighting boycotters."

Elkin criticized the Kadima party for its change of heart on the bill. While at one point there were Kadima MKs who supported an earlier, more stringent version of the bill, now the party officially opposes the more lenient version up for vote, he said.

Elkin argued that Opposition head Tzipi Livni had asked MKs in her party to vote against the bill following media pressure. Even more centrist MKs in Kadima such as Yochanan Plesner now oppose it, he said, adding, “Kadima is moving further and further left, and Plesner represents what is happening in the party.”

He dismissed arguments that the bill would restrict freedom of speech as “self-righteous claims with no basis in truth.” Freedom of speech has natural limits, he said, “I am also in favor of freedom of expression, but here there is damage done to another party. One cannot hit in the name of freedom of expression.”

Elkin previously helped to initiate a bill to prevent the transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority over an official PA boycott of Israeli goods.