ISRAEL – The Israeli Knesset passed a bill on Monday night that will bar foreigners who have made “public calls” supporting the international boycott movement against Israel and its settlements in the West Bank.
The bill passed with a 46-28 majority, with supporters saying it aims to condemn the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Critics within the Knesset, such as MK Tamar Zandberg, and American pro-Israel groups have called the ban a move against freedom of political expression.
According to Haaretz, the ban does not distinguish between boycotts against the state of Israel itself and boycotts of the settlements in the occupied West Bank; it could bar members of pro-Israel groups that have criticized the settlements from entering the country, including foreign-born Jews.
The new law is unclear as to how the Interior Ministry will determine “public call” for boycott, whether through social media or public demonstrations. It is also unknown if foreign-born Jews who have supported the boycott will be able enter with their right-of-return. The law does not exempt Palestinians with temporary residency in Israel who have supported the boycott.
To read more about the ban, check out this article from Foreign Policy.
SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa revoked its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court yesterday after a High Court ruled that the decision to leave by President Zuma and his cabinet was unconstitutional. The opposition Democratic Alliance party argued in court that the government had to seek approval from lawmakers, rather than through executive order.
Last month, the African Union (AU) called for a mass withdrawal of member states from the ICC, accusing the Hague court of undermining national sovereignty and targeting Africans. While the court aims to prosecute individuals for crimes against humanity, it has only prosecuted people from African nations.
President Zuma’s government originally pursued a withdrawal after receiving backlash from the courts for failing to arrest Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who attended an AU meeting in Johannesburg in 2015. Al-Bashir faces outstanding ICC arrest warrants on charges of genocide in Darfur.
For more information about what an South African withdrawal could mean for the ICC, check out this New York Times article.
PERU – The Peruvian government recalled its Venezuelan ambassador earlier this week as a direct response to insults made by Venezuela’s Foreign Minister to President Kuczynski. Foreign Minister Rodriguez called the Peruvian president a “coward” and “dog” loyal to the United States after he gave a speech at Princeton University which criticized President Maduro’s policies.
According to The Guardian, Kuczynski has been the most vocal critic of “Chavismo” since elected last year. Kuczynski is the latest center-right leader to come to power, following Brazil and Argentina, slowly isolating Maduro’s left-wing government. Peru has maintained uneasy relations with Venezuela since last year when the country called upon the Organization of American States (OAS) to activate the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
The Charter makes it possible for any OAS member to call a meeting of the General Assembly or Council of Foreign Ministers to review alterations in any member state’s democratic order. Peru attempted to invoke the Charter again after it was invoked by Secretary General Luis Almagro, in response to the Venezuelan government delaying a recall referendum that could have ousted Maduro from power.