Confirmed expulsion of Human Rights Watch director

Cheryl Sanders
November 7, 2019

Amnesty International, for one, called the decision "a cowardly move that confirms Israel's oppressive intent on silencing independent human rights organizations at any cost". The country's Entry to Israel Law refuses entry to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to anyone who supports or calls for a boycott of Israel.

HRW says the Shakir case is significant as it is the first time the government has used the anti-BDS legislation to try to deport someone legally working in the country.

He said that if the Israeli government forces him to leave, it will be joining Iran, North Korea and Egypt in blocking access for HRW officials monitoring rights violations.

"I think anyone who values Israel's commitment to basic democratic values should ask if that's a club they want to join, " he said.

The court said the decision fell within the purview of the Interior Minister Aryeh Deri.

But Shakir has denied the allegations.

The judge who wrote the decision appeared to play down its potential future impact on other rights groups and activists. His ruling primarily dealt with the legality of the decision to expel Shakir rather than the 2017 boycott law. Shakir, a U.S. citizen, now has 20 days to leave Israel.

HRW says it does not support boycotts of Israel. It said Shakir, who is a United States citizen, is being targeted for the rights group's opposition to the settlements and its calls for companies to stop working with the settlements.

It warned of the decision's consequences.

"The Supreme Court has effectively declared that free expression in Israel does not include completely mainstream advocacy for Palestinian rights, " said Kenneth Roth, executive director.

But supporters said Israel's moves were well within the bounds of other democracies that claim the right to bar those they deem hostile to national interests.

"The worldwide community, including Israel's allies such as the US, have a responsibility to press Israel to reverse this reprehensible decision and make clear to them that this kind of blatant repression is completely unacceptable and will have consequences". "If the government now deports Human Rights Watch's researcher for asking businesses to respect rights as we do across the world, there's no telling whom it will throw out next". Most of the global community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal. The BDS movement says it is a nonviolent campaign for Palestinian rights and does not endorse a specific solution to the conflict.

A Palestinian employee of Amnesty International has been handed a travel ban by Israel as he was trying to enter Jordan to attend a relative's funeral.

A lawyer for Shakir said the ruling meant that his client "would need to leave within 20 days" or face deportation.

Other reports by iNewsToday