January 21, 2018

Main » Israel Bans Entry of NGO Representatives Supporting Boycott

Israel Bans Entry of NGO Representatives Supporting Boycott

09 January 2018

The blacklist now covers around 20 groups the ministry says are part of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) and which it says consistently and openly work to delegitmize Israel.

"It is a desperate attempt to silence a growing movement that is holding Israel accountable for its systematic abuse of Palestinian rights and persistent violations of worldwide law", Rehman said.

One such organization included in the list is the American Friends Service Committee, an organization honored with a Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 for its assistance in aid for victims of Nazis.

The members of 20 organisations - including one Jewish - that advocate boycott of Israel will be banned from entering the country.

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.

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

Mr Rehman said: "This measure is typical of Israel's ongoing repression of the Palestinian people". The BDS National Committee; BDS Chile; and BDS South Africa also are on the list.

The representatives of various United Kingdom -based non-profit organizations reacted on Monday to a recent ban on their members from entering Israel. Liberal democracies do not prevent entry to individuals whose only offence is to draw attention to human rights abuses and to call for non-violent action to address them. Israel says the campaign goes beyond fighting its occupation of territory Palestinians claim for their state and often masks a more far-reaching aim to delegitimize or destroy the Jewish state.

Israel's Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, said the country has "shifted from defense to offense" by publishing the list. He called the blacklist "another step in our battle against the incitement and lies spread by the boycott groups".

"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. Most recently, pop singer Lorde joined a number of other performers who have canceled performances in Israel amid pressure from BDS activists.

Erdan, who is the minister responsible for coordinating the Israeli government's response to the BDS campaign of boycott and delegitimization of Israel, acknowledged that "today we need a new approach to the fight against BDS".

Israel Bans Entry of NGO Representatives Supporting Boycott