(Washington, D.C., Jan. 25, 2019)—B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
We strongly condemn yesterday’s passage of the Control of Economic Activity bill, commonly referred to as the Occupied Territories bill, by the Irish parliament. The bill would punish importing or selling products from the West Bank with up to five years of jail time and fines. The penalties would also apply to foreign companies with divisions or subsidiaries in Ireland. In order for it to become law, it will have to win approval in committee.
The bill is a clear-cut example of a double standard applied to Israel. By unfairly singling Israel out, Ireland’s lawmakers are caving to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which ignores atrocities around the world while demonizing the world’s only Jewish state. Rather than taking it upon themselves to prejudge the outcome of a negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians, the Irish parliament would do well to criticize real human rights violations around the world.
Immediately, the Israeli government condemned the bill’s passage and summoned Ireland’s ambassador for an official reprimand. For different reasons, the Irish government also opposed the bill’s passage. Its opposition was based on the advice of the Attorney General, which deemed it a violation of European Union law that would result in heavy fines for Ireland.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org