The Israeli government is preparing to take on one of the world’s most prominent NGOs over the group’s explicit endorsement of a boycott targeting Israeli products from Judea and Samaria.
Amnesty International, a British-based NGO which describes itself as a “global movement” dedicated to ending “abuses of human rights”, this summer called for a ban on all Israeli products from eastern Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.
“The international community must ban the import of all goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements and put an end to the multimillion dollar profits that have fuelled mass human rights violations against Palestinians,” Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty declared on June 7th.
“It’s time for states to take concrete international action to stop the financing of settlements which themselves flagrantly violate international law and constitute war crimes.”
In the statement, Shetty called for a global ban on the import of Israeli products from Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem, and encouraged supporters to boycott said products.
That campaign, Israeli officials warned shortly thereafter, violates anti-BDS legislation passed by the Knesset in 2011, making the offenders like Amnesty International liable for financial sanctions.
In July, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon pledged to use “every means we have, including revoking tax benefits” to punish Amnesty over its anti-Israel campaign.
According to a Israel Hayom report Tuesday, the Finance Ministry is poised to impose sanctions on Amnesty International’s Israel branch, formally declaring it in violation of the anti-BDS law, ending the tax exemption on donations to the group, and leaving it vulnerable to lawsuits by companies that have been impacted by boycotts or bans abroad.
The Finance Ministry is expected to call representatives of Amnesty International’s Israel branch to a hearing in the coming days, followed by a formal ruling on the matter.
A spokesperson for Amnesty International issued a statement following the report’s publication, saying “We do not respond to rumors or leaks. We expect that in a legal case as important as this, the Finance Ministry will send a formal, orderly request based on established rules, at which point we will issue a response.”