TORONTO (JTA) — An Arab-Israeli member of Israel’s Knesset appears to have contravened an Israeli law by calling on Canadians to boycott Israel.
Ahmad Tibi, the deputy speaker of the Knesset, called for a boycott of companies and products linked to Israeli towns in the West Bank and other disputed territory, Canada’s Postmedia News reported.
During a visit to Ottawa on Monday, Tibi tested the Boycott Law, which came into force in Israel last July and allows civil actions against those who encourage boycotts against the Jewish state.
"I said that I am willing to test this immoral law trying to prevent me, as a member of the parliament, from expressing my views against the settlements in a peaceful way," Tibi said.
Israeli Jewish settlements on the West Bank "are a cancer spreading all over Palestinian land, and cancer should be treated and eradicated," he said. "I am talking about a peaceful and nonviolent way by not buying or selling or dealing in these products from these settlements."
Tibi said Canada’s staunchly pro-Israel government "is not willing to differentiate between, for example, products coming from settlements and products coming from Israel."
The Jerusalem Post reported that on the following morning, Israel Beiteinu Anglos, the English arm of the nationalist Israel political party, began a social media campaign against Tibi.
"It is about time we boycott Tibi," a party spokesman wrote on the Israel Beiteinu Anglos Facebook Timeline. "He accepts the taxes of those brave Israelis who live over the ‘Green Line’ and then calls to boycott them."