ACRI petitions against anti-boycott regulation

ACRI in Israel petitions Supreme Court to revoke regulations protecting Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria from boycotts.

Gary Willig ,

Likud MK Miri Regev
Likud MK Miri Regev
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) launched a petition to the Supreme Court against Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud), demanding that it revoke the 'Loyalty in Culture' law initiated by Regev to prevent artists from boycotting Jewish venues in Judea and Samaria.

The "Regev Amendments," as they are called collectively, target artists who refuse to perform in Judea and Samaria, said the ACRI in its petition.

The ACRI complained that while artists and institutions that perform in the Negev and Galilee are still eligible for state-funding, "only those who appear in the settlements will receive additional bonuses, thus giving them priority."

The ACRI further elaborated that "'as the entire budget of the ministry is determined in advance, a bonus given to one institution automatically hurts the support of another institution."

"The forms the artists fill out require them to say whether they will perform in the settlements, but there is no requirement to state the reason they will not perform in the settlements."

According to Attorney Dan Yakir, the legal advisor to the ACRI, these tests are not consistent with the boycott law passed by the Knesset in 2011. "The boycott law determines sanctions only against those who call for a boycott or undertake to participate in the boycott. The Supreme Court explicitly ruled that the law does not apply to artists who abstain from performing in the settlements." Yakir said.

"Not appearing in the settlements is not illegal. Only a call to boycott or a public declaration that one is participating in a boycott."

"Now, instead of trying to harm artists because of their political positions, Minister Regev is instead trying to punish them through the practical implications of their beliefs," Yakir concluded.