UK urges Baghdad to repeal law that sees any Iraqi contacting Israel face death
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UK urges Baghdad to repeal law that sees any Iraqi contacting Israel face death

The Foreign Office told Jewish News: "We have expressed strong opposition to the law with leaders across Iraq’s political spectrum and urge them to repeal it at once.”

Richard Ferrer has been editor of Jewish News since 2009. As one of Britain's leading Jewish voices he writes for The Times, Independent, New Statesman and many other titles. Richard previously worked at the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, edited the Boston Jewish Advocate and created the Channel 4 TV series Jewish Mum Of The Year.

2HGE41X High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, speaks during a news conference with Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein in Brussels, Belgium, January 20, 2022. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Pool
2HGE41X High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, speaks during a news conference with Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein in Brussels, Belgium, January 20, 2022. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Pool

Britain has been swift to condemn a barbaric new law that will see Iraqi citizens who communicate with Israel face death.

News of the medieval legislation, rubber stamped on Thursday by the Arab state’s Council of Representatives, came as senior Iraqi delegates were in London for a trade conference, at which they were feted by British ministers.

The resolution, passed unanimously, forbids any relations with the “Israeli occupation” and criminalises the normalisation of ties.

Its far-reaching effects of the law, which covers foreign nationals in Iraq and Iraqi nationals outside Iraq the country, extends to Iraqis visiting Israeli embassies and Israeli-linked organisations overseas.

The Iraqi embassy in London told Jewish News it would take “two weeks” to respond to questions about the new law and that the ambassador, Dr Salih Al-Tamimi, was unavailable for comment.

Even Iraqis who interact with Israelis on social media face execution.

The Iraqi embassy in London told Jewish News it would take “two weeks” to respond to questions about the new law and that the ambassador, Jaafar Al Sadr, was unavailable for comment. Al Sadr is a cousin of Iraqi Shiʿi leader, Muqtada Al Sadr.

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.”

Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy said: “It is incredibly concerning that the Iraqi government is reportedly planning to criminalise, and even threaten death, for those found to have relations with Israel.

Even Iraqis who interact with Israelis on social media face execution.

“The British government must urgently use its diplomatic weight to deter the Iraqi government from adopting this appalling law. After the historic steps taken to normalise relations in recent years between Israel and its neighbours, this would be a dangerous step that must be roundly condemned.”

The new legislation goes further than similar legislation in states such as Kuwait, making it by far the most punitive anti-Israel law in the Arab world.

2FN8N4H Iraqi demonstrators burn an Israeli flag during a protest to express solidarity with the Palestinian people amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Baghdad, Iraq May 15, 2021. REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily
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