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Ireland poised to criminalize shopping in Israel

A bill being considered in Ireland would criminalize shopping in Israel in addition to its proposed goal of stopping imports from Israeli communities in the West Bank.

Though the bill passed its first reading several months ago, lawyer and professor Eugene Kontorovich has been posting articles and warnings lately on Twitter about the ramifications of this law which would be a big victory for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

“The proposed Irish law is the most extreme anti-Israel legislation proposed anywhere outside the Arab league,” he said. “If you come to the Holy City and you buy some holy water, if you buy a Jewish prayer shawl or religious books and bring them back to Ireland—bang, jail.”

The bill is officially known as the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill and needs to pass more votes on its way to becoming law. It proposes fines up to $284,000 or five years in jail for importing or selling any goods or services from the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem or West Bank settlements.

The law would be mostly symbolic as Ireland does not do big business with Israel anyway (between only $580,000 and $1.1 million annually), but it would make it the first in Europe to create such a law and could encourage other EU nations to do so as well. Contrast this with Germany, who just labeled the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (against Israel) as anti-Semitic.

The Palestinians are already promoting the possible Irish law. Mustafa Barghouti, the secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative party, vowed “to pass similar laws in a number of European countries in the near future.”

CBN News interviewed Irish citizens Karen and Norman who were visiting Israel with their children and spoke about how such a law, should it be passed, would’ve affected their trip.

“We bought ice cream and we bought water here in the old city next to the Jaffa Gate and if this bill passes what we just did would be illegal,” Karen told CBN News.

Kontorovich noted that the bill discriminates against Israel and Jews while other ethnic and religious groups in Israel are not mentioned. Ultimately, though Irish leaders may have to fear reprisal from America where anti-boycott laws are strict and could result in American sanctions on Ireland.

Karen and her husband said they are speaking up because the bill is unfair to Israel and extremely unsympathetic to their viewpoint.

“We love Israel. We are Christian Zionists and we support the Jewish people and the Palestinian people,” she said.

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