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Israel’s court backs deportation of HRW official

The highest court in Israel has authorised the deportation of Human Rights Watch (HRW) official Omar Shakir, a US citizen, for allegedly supporting BDS, the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement.

In 2017 Israel passed legislation criminalising support for BDS and blocking entry to those who have supported a boycott of Israel or its illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Shakir has denied supporting any boycotts on Israel during his work for HRW but it assumed that he has been deliberately targeted because of HRW’s opposition to the settlements in the West Bank and calls for private companies to stop aiding these settlements.

Amnesty International has also complained that Israel has blocked a member of its staff from travelling abroad as a “punitive measure” because of his human rights work.

Laith Abu Zeyad, Amnesty International’s campaigner on Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories, was held at a border crossing with Jordan whilst on leave to attend a relative’s funeral.

This is a landmark decision in Israel as it is the first time someone working legally will be deported under the anti-BDS legislation.

Read the Guardian’s article here.