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Legal Scholars Assail Irish Anti-Israel Legislation as Discriminatory

Legislation that passed the Irish Senate, known also as Seanad Éireann, which would criminalize commercial dealings with Israeli businesses in the West Bank would constitute “unprecedented state-sanctioned discrimination,” according to a legal expert, The Jewish Chronicle reported Thursday.

Brooke Goldstein, the executive director of the Lawfare Project, which fights discrimination around the world, said that her organization “will do everything in our power to prevent this unprecedented state-sanctioned discrimination from becoming law in Ireland.”

The legislation was described by The JC as seeking “to outlaw any goods or services produced by an Israeli person based beyond the armistice lines agreed at the end of the Six Day War in 1967.”

The bill was introduced by Independent Senator Frances Black, who said that Palestinian farmers suffered due to settlements. It passed the Senate by a vote of 25-20 with 14 abstentions.

The penalties in the proposed law include fines up to 250,000 euro ($292, 000) and five years in jail.

While the Irish government opposes the law, it is a minority government and may not be able to prevent its eventual passage.

statement released by the Lawfare Project pointed out that the law, if passed, could create a number of legal problems.

American companies that would comply with the Irish law, would find themselves in violation of United States anti-boycott legislation that penalizes businesses and individuals for singling out Israel for boycotts.

The law also, according the Lawfare Project, “would violate foreign trade competences that belong exclusively to the European Union.”

The Lawfare Project’s Spanish counsel, Ignacio Palacios, said, “The Irish bill would enact an official, highly aggressive anti-Israel boycott policy within a national government that targets individuals not based on their conduct, but on their national origin and place of residence. That specific scenario had not materialized before.”

Eugene Kontorovich, a professor of international law at Northwestern University, pointed out on Twitter that the standard the Irish legislation adopts for “occupied territory,” applies only to the West Bank and not to any other disputes such as Western Sahara or Northern Cyprus.

The arbitrary nature of the law, Kontorovich observed, shows that criticism of Israel for “settlements” is “not about [international] law at all.” It is instead an “epithet.”

He also noted that the law would put U.S. companies that have a presence in Ireland in a bind, “who will face penalties under US boycott laws for complying.”

[Photo: Eylon Levy / YouTube ]