Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Israel Bans 20 Organizations from Entry for Promoting Boycott of Country

Signs at a pro-BDS protest in New York following the US decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem Signs at a pro-BDS protest in New York following the US decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem
Andrew Cummings | 09 January, 2018, 02:09

JERUSALEM/BRUSSELS-As part of a renewed effort to fight the BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions) movement, Israel's strategic affairs ministry has listed around 20 groups that are part of the movement and will work with the Ministry of the Interior to block members of these groups from entering Israel.

"Israel's decision to specifically ban JVP is 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", the organization said.

Israel's blacklist includes: the France-Palestine Solidarity Association, the British War on Want, BDS France and Italy, the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine, the Friends of Al-Aqsa, the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the American Friends Service Committee, the American Muslims for Palestine, the Jewish Voice for Peace, the Code Pink and the National Students for Justice in Palestine.

Publication of the list comes nine months after Israel passed a law banning foreigners who support boycotting the country. It includes the UK-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and War on Want. "Boycott organizations need to know that Israel will act against them and will not allow [them] to enter its territory in order to harm its citizens".

Mr Rehman said: "This measure is typical of Israel's ongoing repression of the Palestinian people".

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South African, French, Italian and Chilean branches of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) are also on the blacklist.

"Hugh Lanning, the chair of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: "[The campaign] should be a wake-up call for the United Kingdom government and all those who continue to describe Israel as a normal, liberal democracy.

The leaders of those groups will not be allowed to enter Israel. Only states that wish to protect their ability to act unjustly behave in this way.

"Clearly, the Israeli government is very aware that increasing numbers of Jews and all people worldwide support the BDS movement, and are seeking to intimidate and coerce us into silence", JVP executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson wrote in a Haaretz op-ed. It will focus on lobbying, public campaigns, solidarity visits to Israel for high-profile opinion-makers, social media campaigns and coordinated activities with pro-Israel organizations in North America and Europe.

"We have shifted from defense to offense", Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said. He called the blacklist "another step in our battle against the incitement and lies spread by the boycott groups".

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