Israel bans entry for 20 BDS groups, shows it ‘won’t turn a blind eye’ to delegitimisation

January 10, 2018 by  
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Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry on Jan. 7 published a list of 20 organisations affiliated with the BDS movement that will be barred from entering the country, marking the Israeli government’s first major step to ban entities that seek to undermine the Jewish state since legislation targeting such groups was passed last year. 

A protest in London calling for a boycott of Israel. Credit: Claudia Gabriela Marques Vieira via Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan referred to the list’s publication as “another step in our work to thwart anti-Israel boycott organizations.”

“The state of Israel will actively prevent such groups from spreading their falsehoods and odious methods from within the country,” he said.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, whose ministry will enforce the ban, said that BDS activists “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.”

Prof. Gerald Steinberg, founder and president of the NGO Monitor watchdog group, told JNS that the government’s move signals that Israel “won’t turn a blind eye to those who work to delegitimize it, but the downside is that it also serves to raise the profiles of these groups.”

According to the Israeli government, people in senior positions in the blacklisted organizations as well as key activists—even if they do not hold official positions—will be denied entry, Haaretz reported. Additionally, mayors and establishment figures who actively promote boycotts will also be prevented from entering, as will activists arriving in Israel as part of delegations initiated by one of the blacklisted groups.

The list’s publication comes after the Israeli Knesset last year passed legislation that denies entry visas to known BDS activists. The list, which includes BDS groups from the U.S., Europe, South America and South Africa, will be enforced in March.

Blacklisted groups

The European groups included on the list are the France-Palestine Solidarity Association, BDS France, BDS Italy, European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Palestine Committee of Norway, Palestine Solidarity Association of Sweden, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, War on Want and BDS Kampagne.

The U.S.-based groups on the list are the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), American Muslims for Palestine, Code Pink, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights. The other organizations on Israel’s list are BDS Chile, BDS South Africa and BDS National Committee.

The American groups on the blacklist have taken extreme stances on Israel in recent years, including accusing Israel of being an “apartheid state” and featuring convicted terrorists as speakers at conferences.

AFSC is among the leaders of BDS efforts on U.S. campuses and churches; has accused Israel of “slow and systematic ethnic cleansing;” and rejects dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, according to NGO Monitor.

JVP last year hosted convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh, who played a role in a 1969 Jerusalem bombing that killed two Hebrew University students, as a speaker at a conference in Chicago.

Reaction

“Israel’s decision to specifically ban JVP is disconcerting but not surprising,” tweeted JVP.

New Israel Fund CEO Daniel Sokatch said in a statement that “banning political opposition is the policy of autocracies, not democracies.”

“Our position is principled: We do not support the BDS movement. We oppose the government’s travel ban and all its actions to punish those with whom it disagrees,” he said.

NGO Monitor’s Steinberg said any country has the right to decide who can enter, and he does not find it surprising that “groups which demonize and advocate boycotts of the Jewish state find themselves barred from visiting it.”

“While the groups listed aren’t the only ones involved in anti-Israel political warfare, they are among the worst,” Steinberg said. “AFSC is today a leader of BDS on campuses and in churches across North America. JVP and SJP work closely together towards the same goals.”

The publication of the blacklist came a week after the government approved some $75 million to combat BDS. Some of the funding will be used to create a nonprofit organization comprised of Israeli government officials and foreign donors.

Written by Aden Abrams and Sean Savage [JNS.org]

Comments

3 Responses to “Israel bans entry for 20 BDS groups, shows it ‘won’t turn a blind eye’ to delegitimisation”
  1. john nemesh says:

    As a supporter of a 2 state solution, and of the Zionist Union within israel, this time disagree with their attitude that it is a stupid move.
    With all due respect, many Israelis are completely devoid of the effects of BDS “bahootz l Aretz”.

    I srtongly believe their advocates must be confronted at every turn in the most aggressive way we can muster.

    We must never leave them as the only team on the playing field.

    We must never leave their challenges go unanswered.

    And we must devote substantial long term energies and people over a long time to go on the offensive and swift counter attack…rather than always needing to defend after the fact.

    We must do our research on the groups and their leading individuals.

    And we must produce glossy simple and hard hitting factual flyers, videos, and web sites etc.

    Erdan is correct in the long term.
    These organizations mostly are too used to giving it—but not taking it.Let us see who amongst them has a glass jaw!

    • Joe Weinstein says:

      Hi,

      Since you are a “supporter of a 2 state solution….” I would like to respond to that. Since I am very much against it for the following reasons:

      Perhaps you are not aware that the “Palestinians” (really the Muslim Arabs) have had 70 years of agreeing to & Setting up a State (2nd next to ISRAEL; they have FAILED to do so.

      2 state solution is simply a Front in Appeasing the Radical Islamic States. Israel does NOT need a fully Sovereign TERRORIST State on its door step.

      Moreover, the Israels Unilateral Withdrawal from Gaza has by default a “Two State Solution” with/ by the Same Muslim Arabs calling themselves “Palestinians”. What was the result of this Independent Gaza State; 70,000 Rockets firing onto Israel.

      Lastly, the Oslo “Peace” Agreement is Long Dead & Gone. It brought no Peace at all.
      There is absolutely no Normal People to make any agreements with.

      Let’s get it Right: After 70 years of appeasing, negotiating & trying to come to some sort of agreement; The only way that the “Palestinians” will agree to Create a 2nd State is on The Grave of Israel (G-d Forbid)

      So my friend this is the Very END of any Two State
      There is only ONE

  2. Bella Ceruza says:

    All boycotters, BDS supporters should be helped to actually boycott Israeli products.

    They shoudl be sent or publicly presented with an exhaustive list of the things they must boycott.

    Taking away their phones in public seems appropriate. Israel should set up a group to do this in public – to publicly embarrass all highfliers, pop idols, movie stars and others – esp the Arabs and Moslems who use phones and advocate BDS.

    Star with Jeremy Corbyn and Lorde…. easy to do as they both like being interviewed.

    A bit of humour to show their hypocrisy would do no harm, but it would show them up to be the hypocrits they are, and also at the same time it would show the world what it owes Israelis.

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