UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

Irish Parliamentary Committee warned of damaging consequences of BDS Bill

The Ireland Israel Alliance has made a detailed submission to the Select Committee of the Irish Parliament for Foreign Affairs, which is scrutinising a Bill introduced by Senator Frances Black that would make it a criminal offence to supply goods or services produced wholly or partly by Israelis in the West Bank (East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria).

The submission is backed by numerous annexes and makes a number of important points, some of which have not been effectively addressed in debates on the Bill to date:

  • Israeli businesses in the West Bank employ over 30,000 Palestinians, who receive salaries much higher than they could obtain from employment in Palestinian areas. These salaries support probably over 300,000 Palestinians. The Annexes include a book of essays by Israelis and Palestinians describing their experiences working in these businesses produced by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

  • An annexed memorandum by The Lawfare Project of New York draws attention to potentially massive losses of US tax benefits for US companies with subsidiaries in Ireland if the Bill is passed, which could lead to major names relocating their operations away from Ireland

  • Annexed research by the Kohelet Policy Forum in Israel identifies operations of international companies in occupied territories around the world and investments in these companies by the Irish government and leading Irish institutions. The submission highlights the hypocrisy of the Bill targeting only Israeli businesses operating in the disputed territory of the West Bank.

  • The submission invites the Committee to view a film produced by the Ireland Israel Alliance in conjunction with the International Legal Forum, showing the impact the Bill would have, if it is passed, on Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem

  • Avoiding regulatory divergence between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland has been a major objective of Ireland and the EU in the Brexit negotiations. The submission points out that this position could be compromised if the Irish Parliament enacts a Bill that creates regulatory divergence by proscribing in Ireland goods and services that are lawful in Northern Ireland.

  • The Bill contradicts the recent resolution of the German Parliament, supported by all parties except the far right and the far left, which rightly recognises that the arguments and methods of the BDS movement are antisemitic

Following scrutiny by the Committee, a final decision will be made as to whether the Bill requires a “money message” from the Irish government on the grounds that it would increase government expenditure. The government has stated that it will refuse to provide a “money message” if it is required.

UK Lawyers for Israel assisted Ireland Israel Alliance in the preparation of the submission.