Left-wing NGO blames Trump for Israeli deportation plans

Human Rights Watch says Trump to blame for Israeli bid to deport Omar Shakir, HRW's regional chief.


Trump, Netanyahu after US Golan recognition
Trump, Netanyahu after US Golan recognition

The head of Human Rights Watch has said Israel would be not be seeking to expel the organisation's country director without US President Donald Trump in power.

Israel has been trying to expel HRW's American director for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Omar Shakir, after accusing him of advocating a boycott of the Jewish state, a claim he denies.

HRW's executive director Ken Roth told AFP late Thursday Trump had provided Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with the protection he needed to crack down on organizations critical of the Jewish state.

"Would the Netanyahu government have tried to expel Omar without Trump in the White House? I doubt it. I think Trump has given a green light to whatever Netanyahu wants to do," Roth said.

"You can't appeal to Trump to promote human rights when he is so busy embracing autocrats around the world."

The Trump administration has taken a series of steps to protect Israel from hostile resolutions at the United Nations.

Human Rights Watch's regional director Omar Shakir
Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images

Roth was visiting Israel for the expected final court session for Shakir, who is appealing against his expulsion.

But the session was delayed at the last minute and is now unlikely to take place until September.

Israel says it is seeking to expel Shakir based largely on comments he made before joining HRW in which he praised the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for a boycott of Israel.

In 2017, Israel passed a law allowing it to expel any boycott supporter.