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Jewish groups join voices against boycott law

JTA

July 14, 2011 | 9:02 am

More major U.S. Jewish groups spoke out against Israel’s anti-boycott law.

“The anti-boycott law is undemocratic,” the American Jewish Committee said in a statement Wednesday. “It ironically has already harmed, rather than helped, our community’s overall efforts to defeat those groups who challenge Israel’s legitimacy.”

The legislation allows advocates of boycotts against Israel or areas under its control to be sued for monetary damages by those who are hurt by the boycotts. It also prohibits the Israeli government from doing business with companies that comply with such boycotts.

The Reform movement also spoke out against the law. “We do not support boycotts or economic sanctions imposed upon Israel, whether internal or external, individual or organized; however, we strongly condemn legislation that limits speech or symbolic speech,” the Union for Reform Judaism said in a statement. “Claims that this bill is necessary to prevent efforts to delegitimize Israel are sorely misguided; it will, in fact, have the exact opposite effect, by tarnishing Israel’s image as a state committed to democratic values.”

Jewish Voice for Peace, which has sponsored and supported targeted boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns, said that the organization “will continue our boycott, divestment, and sanctions efforts despite the muzzling of our allies in Israel, and we will continue to support those individuals and organizations who defy this new anti-democratic law.”

Other U.S. groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Americans for Peace Now, J Street, Ameinu and the New Israel Fund have also come out against the law. The Zionist Organization of America says it opposes such laws in principles.

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