Friday, November 18, 2011

Naomi Chazan (November 18, 1946)

Naomi Chazan, former Israeli Knesset member and outspoken human rights activist is currently the head of the New Israel Fund, an organization dedicated to promoting equality and social justice for all Israelis. Through grassroots organizations, NIF leads many efforts to keep Israel a multi-ethnic, tolerant, democratic society in the face of many trends to the contrary.

One of her recent causes is fighting the boycott law, which would institute punishments for Israelis who engage in a boycott of the settlements. She wrote: “The Boycott Law is in some ways the most problematic in terms of basic rights in a democratic society. It touches on fundamental freedoms: freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, freedom of association and certainly also freedom to protest. The law rules out any possibility of protest. From the point of view of democracy, this is a wrong that almost beggars description. Every person who, for reasons of conscience, does not buy products made in the settlements becomes a criminal. What have we come to? At the constitutional level, we are simply starting to unravel the last of the rules of the game. It’s not a flashing yellow light anymore − it’s very red.”

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