Israel bans entry to members of groups promoting its boycott

18 groups that advocate boycotting Israel will now be denied entry

Yesterday, Israeli authorities announced a list of 22 NGOs from Europe, the United States, South America and Africa, "whose employees and/or members are banned from entering Israel due to their alleged support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign".

The BDS Movement attempts to delegitimize and isolate Israel in an effort to advance Palestinian interests.

The six American organizations include Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a left-wing activist group that "seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem", according its mission statement.

Publication of the list comes nine months after Israel passed a law banning foreigners who support boycotting the country. "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".

Human rights groups condemned the move as an assault on free speech.

Israel had previously refused to divulge the full list of blacklisted groups. Despite a French High Court ruling in October 2016 that the BDS campaign incites hatred and discrimination, the AFPS maintains a website page promoting the boycott of Israel.

He added: "This blacklist is a repressive tactic borrowed from the same playbook used by the apartheid regime in South Africa, when it tried to censor critics". Most recently, pop singer Lorde joined a number of other performers who have canceled performances in Israel amid pressure from BDS activists.




Ismail Patel, the chair of the Friends of Al-Aqsa, said, "the blacklist clearly demonstrates how far Israel is willing to go to stifle the legitimate voice of dissent".

"Liberal democracies do not prevent entry to individuals whose only offense is to draw attention to human rights abuses and to call for non-violent action to address them".

The BDS movement has urged businesses, artists and universities to sever ties with Israel and includes thousands of supporters around the world.

"The boycott organizations are opposed to the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people and are using the boycott as a means to undermine its legitimacy and existence", Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan said in the release.

A statement by Israel's Strategic Affairs Ministry said those who have carried out "significant, ongoing and consistent harm to Israel through advocating boycotts may be considered to have their entry barred".

"Forming a list is another step in our campaign against the false propaganda of boycott organizations", Erdan said.

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