"I'll be back": Human Rights Watch director expelled from Israel

Omar Shakir expelled from Israel over his support for anti-Israel boycotts, vows to return.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Omar Shakir at court hearing in Jerusalem
Omar Shakir at court hearing in Jerusalem

The regional director of Human Rights Watch, Omar Shakir, was expelled from Israel Monday night, after the Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision banning Shakir from Israel over his support for anti-Israel boycotts.

Shortly before he boarded his flight Monday night, Shakir vowed he would return to Israel, and accused the Jewish state of maintaining a “system of discrimination”.

“I’ll be back when the day comes that we have succeeded in dismantling the system of discrimination impacting Israelis and Palestinians,” Shakir said.

Shakir, an American citizen, has led HRW’s operations in Israel since October 2016, after having received work and residency visas.

This year, however, the Interior Ministry refused to grant extensions for his visas, citing his support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

While Shakir denied the claims, both the Jerusalem District Court and the Israeli Supreme Court accepted the accusations, and green lighted Shakir’s expulsion from Israel under the 2017 BDS law, which empowers the state to deny entry to non-citizens who openly support anti-Israel boycotts.

The United Nations lamented Shakir’s expulsion, with a spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General calling on Israel to permit Shakir to continue his “important work”.