Two years after the ILF successfully defended the legality of the Boycott Law in the Supreme Court, another stage in the battle to defend human rights in Israel has been completed – an amendment to the Boycott Law designed to make it more effective, was submitted to the Knesset.
The Boycott Law was intended to enable victims of the effort to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel (BDS) to sue for damages against those who are acting to harm them academically, economically or culturally, solely due to their national origin.
However, despite extensive boycott activity, not a single lawsuit has been filed to this day, unfortunately, due to the ineffectiveness of the current law.
Here is why: The circumstances of torts claiming damages as a result of BDS campaigns make it virtually impossible to prove damages in the classic sense. Normally, damages are determined by requiring the victim to quantify the exact damage caused and to link every lost dollar directly to the offense; however, certain torts such as suits claiming libel, verbal sexual harassment, the violation of intellectual property have always been understood to be exceptions. In some cases, cases involving BDS fall into this exceptional category.
In the 2015 Supreme Court ruling, the Court accepted our claim regarding the legality of the Boycott Law, (the Law does not infringe upon the rights guaranteed to all citizens , however, one article was deemed disproportionate – the article that was intended to enable the awarding of punitive damages -independent of the proof of damage.
Now, after a careful legal analysis prepared by attorney Yifa Segal, Director of the International Legal Forum (ILF) the Law has been adapted to achieve a balance between the rulings of the Supreme Court on the one hand, and the great need to implement the Law, virtually the only legal tool to battle the BDS movement.
The amendment was presented to the Knesset by MK Yoav Kisch, and Minister for Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan.
Once the amendment is approved by the Knesset, those who are acting with the intent to promote a cultural, academic, or economic boycott to harm Israelis solely because of their national origin will be immediately exposed to legal action.
This amendment will finally allow victims of BDS to act against those who sought to harm them and will act as a deterrent against future BDS efforts. This amendment will leave no doubt that the rights of citizens will be protected.