Israel to Expel HRW Official Over Support for BDS

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On Tuesday, Israel revoked the residency permit of Omar Shakir, the Israel/Palestine director for Human Right Watch, on the grounds that he advocates for the boycott of Israel. It included a recommendation, endorsed by the strategic affairs and public diplomacy minister, Gilad Erdan, that "Shakir should be stripped of his work visa and denied re-entry into the country".

In January, the municipality of Gennevilliers, led by Leclerc, voiced its recognition of the state of Palestine, citing a 2014 French parliament vote.

Before joining Human Rights Watch in 2016, Shakir was a legal fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, an organization that has filed war crimes lawsuits against former defense minister Moshe Ya'alon and former director of the Shin Bet security service Avi Dichter, a current member of Knesset.

"This is not about Shakir but rather about muzzling Human Rights Watch and shutting down criticism of Israel's rights record", Levine said.

The strategic affairs ministry, which leads Israel's well-funded effort to combat the growing global movement in support of Palestinian rights, compiled a dossier of Shakir's activities, which it said demonstrates his support for BDS. In 2017, in addition to documenting abuses related to the occupation, Human Rights Watch reviewed Israel's record on women's rights and reported on the incommunicado detention of Israeli citizens Avera Mangistu and Hisham al-Sayed by Hamas, and criticized the Palestinian Authority's draconian cybercrime law that restricts free expression. The government said it was because of Shakir's alleged support for boycotts of Israel.

In an ideal world, both Human Rights Watch and the Israeli government would be more concerned with human rights and less with scoring partisan political points from their most extreme supporters.

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Human Rights Watch staff is based and operates freely in Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia.

HRW say they will challenge the decision in Israeli court.

Fifteen Israeli human rights groups on Wednesday slammed the government decision to deport local director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) Omar Shakir after he was accused of promoting a boycott against the Jewish State.

Human Rights Watch has published a series of reports that were highly critical of Israel and biased against it, especially after wars or periods of heightened violence with Palestinian terrorists.

HRW called on Israeli authorities to reverse the decision. It later granted him a one-year work visa.