Iraq poised to pass law criminalising contact with Israel (updated)

Update: The Council of Representatives of Iraq has approved  a draft resolution on banning any relations with the “Israeli occupation” and criminalizing the normalisation of ties. The bill was passed unanimously during an ordinary session in Baghdad, according to the state news agency INA. See Jewish News report.

While half the Arab world is busy normalising relations with Israel, Iraq appears to be going backwards. The Iraqi parliament is expected to pass a law criminalising Iraqis who have contact or communication with Israelis, even on social media. Those found guilty could face long terms of imprisonment or even execution. Jewish News reports:

Miss Israel, Adar Gandlesman, left, with Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, a prominent advocate of normalisation.

Iraq is set to introduce a draconian law that would see citizens who communicate with Israelis executed.

News of the barbaric legislation comes as senior Iraqi delegates were due in London this week for a trade conference at which they will be feted by British ministers.

Analysts have highlighted the far-reaching effect of the proposed legislation, which covers foreign nationals in Iraq and Iraqi nationals outside Iraq. The drafting extends to Iraqis visiting Israeli embassies and Israeli-linked organisations overseas.

Alongside a ban on travel to Israel, it also prohibits “communication” with Israelis, including via social media. This goes further than similar legislation in states such as Kuwait, making it by far the most punitive anti-Israel law in the Arab world.

Members of the Iraqi Council of Representatives last week voted to progress the draft bill, titled ‘Banning Normalisation and Establishment of Relations with the Zionist Entity’. It is now before a parliamentary sub-committee, but commentators say it is expected to become law.

The bill bans “contact and communication of any kind and means with the occupying Zionist entity, its nationals, and representatives, whether individuals or institutions or organisations, for any reason”.

It also bans any “financial or moral assistance” to Israel or Israeli organisations, as it does the “promotion of any ideas, ideologies, principles, or Israeli or Zionist conduct, in any form”. Anyone found guilty would face “execution or lifelong imprisonment”.

If it is introduced, the law would cover all of Iraq, including the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, with Iraqi Jews warning that it would risk family members speaking to one another across borders upon pain of death.

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