In Ireland, the opposition calls for the government to enact sanctions against Israel as it did against Russia, considering that both countries likely committed war crimes. Additionally Israel has been in breach of international law for a very long time. In general, "rogue countries" which persist in actions seen as illegal by the international community get slapped with international sanctions.

Are international sanctions of any kind ever considered against Israel? If not, why?

  • 9
    Considered by whom?
    – Stuart F
    Nov 17, 2023 at 13:23
  • Relevant Wikipedia article, which also includes some efforts by other countries: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boycotts_of_Israel
    – xyldke
    Nov 17, 2023 at 13:57
  • 2
    @StuartF international sanctions are usually the domain of the UN, but any significant group of countries is relevant as well.
    – Erwan
    Nov 17, 2023 at 16:07
  • I've downvoted for a lack of basic research. Sanctions on Israel are considered all the time. They are normally blocked in the UN by the USA.
    – James K
    Nov 20, 2023 at 18:38
  • 3
    @JamesK thank you for explaining your downvote, much appreciated. However I don't know how to find more information about any blocked sanctions. This is also not mentioned by any of the two answers (and neither by any comment), so I'm not convinced that this information is so simple to find. So an answer would be be very welcome.
    – Erwan
    Nov 21, 2023 at 9:19

2 Answers 2


Yes, there are sanctions against Israel.

According to BDS Watch (2014),

More than 17 EU countries have issued guidance discouraging businesses from having economic ties with Israeli settlements. The German, Dutch and French governments have all intervened to prevent companies under their jurisdiction from engaging with Israeli projects in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

I would consider sanctions by the European Union to be "international sanctions".

  • The United States currently has sanctions on 17 Israeli companies and individuals;
  • New Zealand imposed diplomatic sanctions on Israel in 2005;
  • Iran has sanctioned Israel with no trade allowed for many years. In late October 2023, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian called for an oil embargo and other sanctions on Israel by all members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation;
  • Lebanon has had total sanctions on Israel since 1955.

Note that BDS Watch is not necessarily an up-to-date source, as it claims that international airlines flights between Israel and the UAE were prohibited, which wasn't true between January 2021 and 7 October 2023. So it might be the case that fewer or more EU members have sanctions on Israel as described above.

  • 6
    +1 overall, but NSO sanctions have nothing to do with Israel sanctions. NSO's sanctioned for selling specialized smartphone intrusion software to dubious governments, for dubious purposes. Had they stuck to selling it to "approved" Western law enforcement agencies, they'd be A-OK right now. Instead, they helped hack government critics, or even personal opponents in UAE, among others. Basically NSO didn't care who bought their spyware and why. Same thing happened w Italian firm. Nov 17, 2023 at 20:15
  • 2
    @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica thank you, I didn't realize that. I will correct my answer. Nov 20, 2023 at 18:12
  • 1
    Thanks for correcting! I'll just leave the comment up though, just in case someone else thinks of NSO. Nov 20, 2023 at 18:44


Are international sanctions of any kind ever considered against Israel? If not, why?


Israel has faced and continues to face many different types of international boycotts some have gone on since the day they were founded in 1949, others more recent. The Boycotts against Israel include Diplomatic, Economic, Sports, Arms Embargos, Academic and cultural boycotts.

Of all of these the effort which potentially could have the greatest sway and has evoked the strongest reaction from Israel is the BDS movement. This movement attempts to bring Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel. It is an attempt to bring the same sort of decades long public activism used against the Apartheid policy in South Africa and use it against Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu claimed this BDS movement was Israel's greatest existential threat.

Israel has struck back hard against this effort trying to deny it critical mass.

One aspect of Israel's opposition to the BDS campaign has taken the form of passing laws against it.

Anti-BDS tide hits Europe and North America

Economic Embargoes, Trade Sanctions, Prohibited Parties, and Anti-Boycotting Laws

U.S. anti-boycott laws prohibit individuals and entities from participating in a boycott that the U.S. government has not approved. The U.S. Department of Commerce publishes a list of recent examples of boycott requests.

As of 2023 in the United States nearly ever state has passed laws or used executive orders to discourage boycotts of Israel.

Anti-BDS laws

enter image description here As of 2021, 35 states have passed bills and executive orders designed to discourage boycotts of Israel. Many of them have been passed with broad bipartisan support. Most anti-BDS laws have taken one of two forms: contract-focused laws requiring government contractors to promise that they are not boycotting Israel; and investment-focused laws, mandating public investment funds to avoid entities boycotting Israel. There has been debate over whether the laws violate the right to free speech and organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) have challenged many of them in court cases.

  • 3
    Boycotts are a bit different, since they depend on individuals' choice. Official international sanctions are usually voted by the UN and have legal consequences, companies/individuals must follow them. Thanks anyway.
    – Erwan
    Nov 17, 2023 at 16:05
  • 4
    @Erwan, They are related. If it's against the law for an individual to participate in a boycott against a country, there is no chance that such a country would sanction the same. Like there is no chance the UN will pursue sanctions against Israel, due to Israel's strong support from important members. Therefore grass roots organizations like those which brought down Apartheid are the best and only viable option to express one's opposition to objectionable policies; which is why they are being made illegal in the US and across Europe. Thanks anyway.
    – JMS
    Nov 17, 2023 at 16:34
  • 2
    You could state that last point/coment more clearly your answer though. Nov 17, 2023 at 22:30

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