Amnesty International Tax Breaks at Risk Over Boycott Call

YERUSHALAYIM - Amnesty International will be called to a hearing at the Israel Finance Ministry in the wake of its advocacy for a boycott on goods from Yehudah and Shomron.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon wants to strip the international NGO of tax breaks for donors under the 2011 Boycott Law, which mandates denial of government benefits to groups or individuals that support boycotts of Israel. If the sanction is imposed, it would be the first such application of the law since it was passed.

In a defiant response, Amnesty International accused Israel of conducting a “systematic persecution” against critics of Israeli policies in Yehudah and Shomron.

“The issue is bigger than the approval of tax breaks,” Haaretz quoted the group as saying. “The issue is the Israeli government’s systematic persecution of human rights groups and activists that criticize the government’s actions in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.”

“Israel needs to thoroughly consider whether it is interested in being a member of the dubious club of countries whose governments persecute Amnesty International activists and imposes sanctions on them, such as Turkey, Thailand, Russia and Iran,” it said.

A spokesman for the group said that since the report of a pending review of its tax status, it has been inundated with pledges of financial support.