JERUSALEM, Israel - A new bill pending approval by the Irish government is just a few steps away from becoming law.
The proposed law would make it illegal for Irish citizens to buy goods and services from Israeli citizens in what they define as the occupied territories. That would make it illegal to buy an ice cream, a postcard or a bottle of water in the old city of Jerusalem.
Irish citizens Karen and Norman Ievers along with their twins Natalie and Nathaniel visit Israel often and would be significantly affected by the law
“We bought ice cream and we bought water here in the old city next to the Jaffa Gate and if this bill passes what we just did would be illegal,” Karen told CBN News.
“It’s an infringement upon our freedoms,” Normal added. “I just hope it won’t hurt anybody and that it won’t hurt Ireland.”
The bill is called the “Control of Economic Activity (in) Occupied Territories”. If convicted under the bill, an Irish citizen could be fined more than a quarter of a million dollars and spend up to five years in jail.
“The proposed Irish law is the most extreme anti-Israel legislation proposed anywhere outside the Arab league,” said Prof. Eugene Kontorovich. “If you come to the holy city and you buy some holy water, if you buy a Jewish prayer shawl or religious books and bring them back to Ireland, bang, jail.”
Prof. Kontorovich says the bill targets Israel.
“What’s shocking about this law is that it’s clearly discriminatory in nature. So, they say, ‘We consider this occupied territory. We have a problem with occupied territory.’ But other than the fact that it’s not occupied territory, the law does not apply to any other people or group other than Jews in their biblical homeland.”
One Israeli legal organization called the International Legal Forum (ILF) is raising awareness about Ireland’s law and are representing the Iever family and produced this YouTube video.
“We met the nice couple Karen and Norman and we decided to help them and to do something about this and kind of make the world understand better how ridiculous this whole situation.” Said ILF director Yifa Segal.
Karen is concerned the bill would prevent them from supporting both Israelis and Palestinians.
“We love Israel. We are Christian Zionists and we support the Jewish people and the Palestinian people. And we think this bill is unfair and we wanted our voices to be heard,” she said.
Prof. Kontorovich says Irish leaders may be hesitant to pass the bill.
“One of the only reasons the law has not been passed yet is because the Irish government is properly worried about the consequences it’s going to have for Irish companies doing business in America and many of the large American companies doing business in Ireland like Apple. Because America has strict laws against boycotting Israel,” he explained.
In the meantime, the Ievers hope their next visit to Jerusalem won’t land them in jail.