Israel to deport human rights official over BDS activities

Pauline Gross
May 13, 2018

"This is not about Shakir, but rather about muzzling Human Rights Watch and shutting down criticism of Israel's rights record", said Iain Levine, deputy executive director for program at Human Rights Watch.

Israeli officials have recently clamped down on groups seen as supporting the global campaign for BDS, which aims to pressure Tel Aviv to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories.

"Neither closing the borders to human rights groups and activists nor other Israeli measures against organizations critical of the occupation will deter us, or them, from reporting human rights violations in areas under Israeli control", it said.

Amnesty International has slammed a decision by Israeli authorities to expel Human Rights Watch official Omar Shakir, in a statement released yesterday.

On November 16, 2017, the Interior Ministry notified Human Rights Watch that, based on a private lawsuit filed in a district court in Jerusalem challenging the work permit, it had initiated a review of Shakir's status in Israel.

Human Rights Watch organizer Omar Shakir could get deported because Israel says he's promoting a boycott against the nation.

Breaking: Israel has revoked Human Rights Watch's work permit and ordered me deported after compiling a 7-page...

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Omar Shakir, a United States citizen of Iraqi descent, said on Twitter that he had been ordered out of the Israeli-occupied territories after the regime compiled a seven-page intelligence dossier against the senior activist.

Gilad Erdan, Strategic Affairs Minister, blacklisted the mayor for being an advocate of the Palestinian cause.

Human Rights Watch applied in January 2018 to extend Shakir's work visa, which was due to expire on March 31.

A month later, he was allowed entry to Israel, the same day the Knesset passed a law banning entry to foreigners who publicly call for boycotting the Jewish state or its settlements.

For its part, Human Rights Watch argues that Shakir's expulsion is a chilling attempt to remove a legitimate non-partisan critic of Israeli policy from the playing field. An investigative report by Ben Birnbaum-whose work on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would later receive the National Press Club's Award for Diplomatic Correspondence-found that multiple members of HRW's own governing bodies agreed with Bernstein, including Judge Richard Goldstone, no stranger to criticism of Israel.

Israeli authorities should reverse the decision, Human Rights Watch said.

Other reports by GizPress

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