Israel Supreme Court expels human rights activist

Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine Director, looks up before his hearing at Israel’s Supreme Court in Jerusalem, Sep 24, 2019. (photo: Ammar Awad / Reuters)
The government’s real motivation was to hamper Human Rights Watch activities in the country. Previously, Shakir had been forced to leave Egypt and Syria over his human rights work, and was denied an entry visa to Bahrain.

By Steve Hendrix and Ruth Eglash | The Washington Post | Nov 5, 2019

‘The Supreme Court has effectively declared that free expression in Israel does not include completely mainstream advocacy for Palestinian rights. If the government now deports a Human Rights Watch’s researcher for asking businesses to respect rights as we do across the world, there’s no telling whom it will throw out next.’
— Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch executive director

Israel’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the government could expel the head of Human Rights Watch’s Israel and Palestine office after accusing him of supporting boycotts against the country.

The ruling represents the likely culmination of the protracted effort to remove Omar Shakir, a US citizen, and marks an escalation in Israel’s determination to prevent critics from operating in the country under new laws that equate support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) with challenging Israel’s right to exist.

Others have been denied entry visas under the laws, including two US congresswomen in August, but Shakir, who first had his work permit revoked in May 2018, would be the first to be expelled. He has 20 days to leave the country. . . .

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How the internet “punishes” Palestinians

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(photo: Mauritz Antin / EPA)

PayPal, Google, and Airbnb have all been accused of limiting services to Palestinians in the occupied territories.

By Ylenia Gostoli | Al Jazeera | Feb 2, 2018


PayPal, which operates in 202 countries including war-torn Yemen, doesn’t offer its services to Palestinians in Gaza or the West Bank — while making them available to Israeli settlers living in the same territory and using the same currency.

Google Maps brings [Palestinians] to settler roads, even putting them in danger by taking them to the entrance of a settlement. It’s an apartheid reality that you have streets for settlers only, and Google Maps functions to serve the Israelis and Israeli needs.


As governments across the globe increasingly use the internet to crack down on dissent, manipulate information and control access, the idea of the web as a space of democracy and freedom has all but withered.

In the past two years, Palestinians launched several campaigns accusing tech companies of discrimination and bias, with hashtags such as #FBCensorsPalestine and #PayPalForPalestine going viral.

Multinational tech companies such as Google, Facebook and PayPal have also been accused of complicity in rights violations for controlling how knowledge and services are provided, and who can access them.

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