The Chilean National Comptroller ruled that it is illegal for municipalities to boycott Israel.

It is illegal for municipalities in Chile to adopt boycott resolutions against Israel, the Chilean National Comptroller determined last week, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The dramatic decision comes after Shai Agosin Weisz, president of the Chilean Jewish community, submitted a complaint about the Valdivia municipality’s decision to ban the city from signing contracts with any company linked to Israel.

Valdivia called on Israel’s ambassador to Chile to be expelled and declared itself to be “the first municipality in Latin America free of Israeli apartheid,” a phrase often used in anti-Israel campaigns promoted by the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement. The municipality also accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and confiscation of Palestinian land. 

Weisz’s complainant said the boycott violates Chilean law protecting equal rights and prohibiting discrimination in economic matters.

Approximately 18,000 Jews live in Chile, which is also home to more than 400,000 Palestinians, the largest Palestinian community outside of the Middle East.

The Chilean comptroller determined that while the country’s constitution gives local government a degree of independence, it is the state’s responsibility to determine its foreign policy, and municipalities do not have the legal authority to do so. Therefore, Valdivia’s boycott of Israel was determined to be illegal and void. 

The law also prohibits “arbitrary discrimination that is based on considerations such as nationality and that cause a deprivation, disturbance of threat of the exercise in fundamental rights,” the comptroller wrote.

This decision is outstanding as Chile, in general, has adopted an anti-Israel stance at international forums.

The United Kingdom in December 2015 also announced that boycotts on Israel by municipalities were illegal.

Date published: 13/12/2018
Written by: United with Israel Staff
Feature image: Protesters supporting the BDS movement outside Downing Street during Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the UK on September 9 2016
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