Sunday, 3 Jul 2022 - 4 of Tammuz, 5782

U.S. and the U.K. condemn passing of law in Iraq criminalizing ties with Israel

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The legislation passed by the Iraqi parliament stipulates that violation of the law is punishable by death or life imprisonment.

 

The United States and the United Kingdom condemned the vote by the Iraqi parliament of a bill criminalizing normalization of ties and any relationship, including trade, with Israel.

The legislation stipulates that violation of the law is punishable by death or life imprisonment.

The law was approved by 275 MPs voting in favor of it in the 329-seat parliament. A parliamentary statement said the legislation is “a true reflection of the will of the people.’’

Influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose party won the most seats in last year’s Iraqi parliamentary elections, called on Iraqis to take to the streets to celebrate the “great achievement.”

Hundreds of people then gathered in central Baghdad, chanting anti-Israeli slogans.

Iraq has not recognized Israel since the country’s creation in 1948 and the two nations do not have diplomatic relations.

Last year, more than 300 Iraqis gathered in the Kurdish capital of Erbil for a conference where speakers called for normalization of ties with Israel, although the event was quickly condemned by the government in Baghdad.

The United States blasted the law,  saying it fosters “an environment of anti-Semitism.”

“The United States is deeply troubled by the Iraqi parliament’s passage of a law that criminalizes normalizing relations with Israel,” the State Department said.

“In addition to jeopardizing freedom of expression and promoting an environment of anti-Semitism, this legislation stands in stark contrast to the progress Iraq’s neighbors have made in building bridges and normalizing relations with Israel, creating new opportunities for people throughout the region,” it said, in a reference to the Abraham Accords that Israel signed in 2020 with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.

The State Department also reiterated the United States’ “strong and unwavering support” for Israel, “including as it expands its ties with its neighbors in pursuit of greater peace and prosperity for all.”

In London, a Foreign Office spokesperson told Jewish News: “The UK is fundamentally opposed to the passing of a law by the Iraqi Parliament criminalising normalisation of relations with Israel, including by death. We have expressed our strong opposition to the law with leaders across Iraq’s political spectrum and urge them to repeal this law at once.”

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