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US following deportation case of rights activist in Israel

JERUSALEM (AP) - The U.S. State Department says it is closely following Israel’s case against the local director of Human Rights Watch, who faces deportation under a law barring entry to those who have publicly supported a boycott of Israel or its West Bank settlements.

Last month, an Israeli court ordered Omar Shakir, a U.S. citizen, to leave the country in the law’s first application to someone already residing in Israel.

The State Department said Friday it discussed Shakir’s case with the Israeli government in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling. While stressing U.S. support for free speech, it noted its strong opposition to boycotts against Israel.

Shakir is waiting for a court to rule on an injunction request that would allow him to stay in Israel for the duration of the proceedings.

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