Human Rights Watch director says Israel booting him to “muzzle dissent”

Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine Director Omar Shakir. (photo: Human Rights Watch)

The human rights organization has written several reports critical of the military occupation of the Palestinian territories.

By AFP via CBS | May 9, 2018

“Human Rights Watch is a credible human rights organization. Even though we do not agree with all of their assertions or conclusions, given the seriousness of their efforts, we support the importance of the work they do.”
— Mark Toner, US State Department spokesman

Israel has given a Human Rights Watch director two weeks to leave the country, accusing him of promoting a boycott, in a move the rights group said sought to muzzle criticism. The interior ministry said Tuesday it had terminated the residency permit of HRW’s Israel and Palestine director Omar Shakir, a US citizen, over accusations that he supported a boycott of Israel.

“Following the recommendations of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, containing information that Shakir has been a BDS activist for years supporting the boycott of Israel in an active way, the ministry has decided to terminate (his) residence permit,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Israeli officials have clamped down on groups seen as supporting the global campaign for BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions), which aims to pressure Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Israel’s government, seen as the most right-wing in the country’s history, has been accused of putting pressure on both international and local rights organizations.

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