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  • Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine Director, looks up before his hearing at Israel's Supreme Court in Jerusalem September 24, 2019.

    Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine Director, looks up before his hearing at Israel's Supreme Court in Jerusalem September 24, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 November 2019

“Israeli Supreme Court upholds my deportation over my rights advocacy,” Shakir tweeted about the unanimous decision by the three-judge court.

Israel’s Supreme Court upheld a government decision to deport a Human Rights Watch (HRW) official accused of backing an international pro-Palestinian boycott campaign, an edict he said was aimed at stifling criticism of Israel.

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The court ratified an Interior Ministry refusal to renew the work visa of Omar Shakir, a U.S. citizen representing New York-based HRW in Israel and the Palestinian territories, and ordered him to leave within 20 days.

Israel says he supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which it has criminalized.

It has lobbied Western powers to follow suit, and Shakir’s case was a test for its anti-boycott legislation.

Shakir contested the argument that his past pro-Palestinian statements, before being appointed to the HRW post in 2016, constituted current backing for boycotts of Israel.

“Israeli Supreme Court upholds my deportation over my rights advocacy,” Shakir tweeted about the unanimous decision by the three-judge court.

He said that if the Israeli government forces him to leave, it will be joining Iran, North Korea and Egypt in

“We won’t stop. And we won’t be the last,” Shakir wrote.

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