(Jerusalem) – Israeli authorities on May 7, 2018, revoked the work permit for Omar Shakir, the Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine director, and ordered him to leave Israel within 14 days. The government said it was because of Shakir’s alleged support for boycotts of Israel.
Authorities based the decision on a dossier a government ministry compiled on Shakir’s activities spanning over a decade, almost all of them predating his Human Rights Watch employment. The decision comes a year after the Interior Ministry granted Human Rights Watch a permit to employ Shakir as a foreign expert, after initially refusing to issue it.
“This is not about Shakir, but rather about muzzling Human Rights Watch and shutting down criticism of Israel’s rights record,” said Iain Levine, deputy executive director for program at Human Rights Watch. “Compiling dossiers on and deporting human rights defenders is a page out of the Russian or Egyptian security services’ playbook.”