Israel Bans 20 Organizations in Entering the Country
The move is said to be due to BDS support.
Members of organizations that promoted to boycott Israel are now banned from entering the country. The Ministry of Strategic Affairs, a government body responsible for fighting the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, known as BDS, has already released the full list.
The BDS registry released on Sunday has included organizations based in a number of European countries, as well as the United States, Chile and South Africa. According to a report by Haaretz, Some of the organizations included are UK-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and War on Want. Even members who have no position in the organizations and mayors and politicians who promote boycotts will also be denied entry.
“We have shifted from defence to offence,” said Gilad Erdan, Israel’s minister for strategic affairs, according to Haaretz.
Minister Gilad Erdan described the BDS registry “another step in our work to thwart anti-Israel boycott organisations”.
“The anti-Israel boycott campaign seeks not to promote peace but to undermine Israel’s national security and existence,” said Minister Erdan. “The state of Israel will prevent groups working to undermine its security and core interests from entering Israel.”
The list originated from a law that took effect in March 2017 that gave Israel the power to deny a non-resident that promotes boycotting the country to enter. Together with the Foreign Affairs and Justice Ministries, the final list was put together. It is expected that new regulations are to take effect three months from now, which is exactly a year after the law was approved.
“These people are trying to exploit the law and our hospitality to act against Israel and to defame the country. I will act against this by every means,” Arye Dery, head of the interior ministry which is in charge of implementing the list, said.
Meanwhile, Gary Spedding, a British cross-party consultant on Israel and the Palestinian Territories, says otherwise. He told The Independent the list was just an excuse to legally justify its decision to deny activists and human rights observers from entering the country.
“Israel’s publishing of a ‘BDS blacklist’ is the latest example of just how fragile the regime actually is and demonstrates a hypersensitivity to legitimate criticisms made of the state’s actions and policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians,” Mr Spedding, who was refused entry to Israel in 2014, said.
“This isn’t really about targeting BDS activists. It’s about providing an easier legal pathway to justify refusing entry to a wide range of activists and human rights observers – many who may not even support the BDS campaign but are simply supportive of Palestinian liberty and equality.
“Activists who are determined to visit Israel and Palestine, in order to bear witness to the reality on the ground and engage with Israelis and Palestinians, should try to ensure their social media presence is minimal and that they have legitimate tourism plans to elaborate on at entry points into Israel.”
Moreover, campaigners emphasized their point that people still have the right to decide to not profit from human rights abuses. Even the High Court has ruled out the Government was unlawful for restricting “ethical” boycotts of Israel.
Last week, Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry has been granted $36m (£27m) budget to come up with in an agency that will help fight the BDS movement.
BDS or Boycott Divestment and Sanctions is founded as a nonviolent way to go against Israel’s policies in the Palestinian territories. It is backed up by different celebrities, which includes Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, and has claimed successes over the years, such as pressuring the Israeli beverage company SodaStream to transfer its facility from the West Bank to Israel.
Last month, Grammy-award winning artist Lorde canceled her concert in Israel following an online campaign by activists against the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Photo Credit: The Associated Press