In July 2011, the Israeli Knesset passed a law enabling civil suits to be filed against any individual or entity that calls for an economic, academic, or cultural boycott of the State of Israel or Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Additionally, it authorizes the finance minister to impose economic sanctions on individuals, groups, or institutions that benefit from state financing if they call for or participate in a boycott. Arguing that what is known as the anti-boycott law violates freedom of expression, a coalition of eight civil society organizations filed a petition against the law in March 2012.
In April 2015, the Israeli Supreme Court delivered its ruling on the petition. In a 5–4 decision, the court rejected the portions of the petition claiming that the law violates freedom of expression. The court did, however, strike down the section of the law permitting courts to order those calling for a boycott to pay unlimited compensation without proving damages.
Presented below is an excerpt from the court’s summary of its decisions, translated from Hebrew by Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. The full summary, which includes the justices’ independent opinions, is available at www.adalah.org.