Israel publishes list of BDS-linked groups banned from entry

Jan 09, 2018, 00:40
Israel publishes list of BDS-linked groups banned from entry

Israel's Strategic Affairs Ministry has placed the left-wing, California-based Jewish Voice for Peace and five other USA groups on a BDS blacklist.

BDS groups from around the world are included on the list as is the US-based organization, Jewish Voice for Peace, which is calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. They were chosen because they are the main ones who "operate consistently and continuously" against Israel, according to Erdan's office.

European groups on the list include BDS France; BDS Italy; War on Want; Friends of Al-Aksa; The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine; and Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

The other U.S. groups on the list are: American Friends Service Committee; American Muslims for Palestine, Code Pink, National Students for Justice in Palestine; and the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

Erdan said Israel had "shifted from defence to offence" with the publication of the list.

"The anti-Israel boycott campaign seeks not to promote peace but to undermine Israel's national security and existence", said minister Gilad Erdan.

Israel a year ago enacted a law that would ban any activist who "knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel".

The travel ban is the latest in a series of populist moves by the Israeli government, the most rightwing coalition in the country's history.

Not every person who is a member of such an organization or who has expressed support for such an organization would be barred from entering Israel. Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of JVP (Jewish Voice for Peace), issued a statement saying the ban was "disconcerting but not surprising, given the further erosion of democratic norms and rising anxiety about the power of BDS as a tool to demand freedom".

"As someone with considerable family in Israel, this policy will be a personal hardship".

The BDS Movement attempts to delegitimize and isolate Israel in an effort to advance Palestinian interests. "This ban is an overt violation of the constitutional rights of Israeli citizens and the rights guaranteed to Palestinian residents of the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories] under worldwide humanitarian and human rights law". Most recently, pop singer Lorde joined a number of other performers who have canceled performances in Israel amid pressure from BDS activists.

In November Israel denied entry to a USA employee of Amnesty International as part of its anti-boycott offensive under the same rules.

The list made public Sunday follows up on that legislation and could impact thousands of people if it is enforced.

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