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Israel's boycott ban meets swift resistance

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There is also concern about efforts of pro-Palestinian activists to lobby for international sanctions against Israel, such as the exclusion of academics from conferences abroad.

However, the law is also aimed an Israeli doves who have called on the public to boycott visiting the settlements and to avoid buying goods made there. Last year, a group of state-employed actors refused to participate in a performance by Israel’s national theater company in the settlement of Ariel, stirring a furor.

"The Knesset has put an end to the stupidity of boycotts emanating within our midst," says Zeev Elkin, the parliamentary whip for the ruling Likud Party. "The boycott law isn’t meant to shut people up but defend the citizens of Israel."

The law was criticized by the Palestinian Authority, which said that the law would empower the government to sanction international groups that boycott the settlements. The bill "sends a clear message that Israel is not committed to a two-state solution," said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in a statement.

Israeli critics said that the law would penalize only certain types of boycotts and that it reflects a blow to minority rights in Israel. It’s the latest in a line of legislation backed by Israel’s rightist parliament that critics say erodes the country’s democratic principles.

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