Israel Orders Human Rights Watch Representative to Leave, Says He Urged Boycott

A Palestinian woman walks past a mural calling people to boycott Israeli goods in the al Azzeh refugee camp near the West Bank city of Bethlehem

AFP 2018 AHMAD GHARABLIBorder Bungle? Israel ‘Barred’ Dublin Mayor for BDS Support Then Mayor Tweets from West Bank

Contrary to HRW's claim that "neither Human Rights Watch nor its representative, Shakir, promotes boycotts of Israel", that is exactly what Shakir has done for years.

"Human Rights Watch stands fully behind Shakir and has retained counsel to challenge the decision before an Israeli court", the organization stated.

The interior ministry said Tuesday it had terminated the residency permit of Omar Shakir, a USA citizen, over accusations that he supports a boycott of Israel. Headquartered in New York City, Human Rights Watch has registered offices in 24 countries around the world, including Lebanon, Jordan, and Tunisia.

The PPS said in a statement that during the last three years, Israel deported a number of rights activists while denying entry into the country to supporters of peace and Palestinian rights, including European Union parliamentarians.

The non-violent BDS movement seeks to replicate the boycott of the South African apartheid regime by applying economic pressure on the Israeli government to dispense with its discriminatory policies targeting Palestinians.

Most activities listed in the dossier predate Shakir's employment with Human Rights Watch and relate to his activism as a student at Stanford University, calling for full and equal rights for Palestinians.

Israel had initially denied Shakir a work permit past year, in a move criticized by the US.

In other words, the Israeli government is right that Human Rights Watch and Shakir have been dishonest about their motivations and their work. The government said it was because of Shakir's alleged support for boycotts of Israel.

The dossier also cites how Shakir is mentioned in In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine, a book by Electronic Intifada editor Nora Barrows-Friedman, "as an individual committed to work to "end the occupation and to have a liberated Jerusalem" by 2030".

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

Human Rights Watch has published a series of reports that were highly critical of Israel and biased against it, especially after wars or periods of heightened violence with Palestinian terrorists. The Interior Ministry acknowledged in its May 7 letter that "no information has surfaced regarding such (boycott) activities" since Shakir joined Human Rights Watch.

Israel based its decision on a dossier a government ministry compiled on Shakir's activities spanning over a decade, nearly all of them predating his Human Rights Watch employment, stressed the press release.

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