Israel announces travel ban on pro-Palestinian boycott advocates

10 January, 2018, 01:55 | Author: Kim Reid
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Hadashot News, the Israel Television News Company, first reported Saturday night that members of JVP, which has over 200,000 online supporters and 70 chapters, could be banned 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", said Spedding.

Members of 18 global organizations that promote a boycott campaign of Israel, known collectively as the BDS movement, will be banned from entering the country, according to a list published Sunday by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

One of the groups on the list whose leaders will be banned from entering Israel is the US-based Jewish Voice for Peace.

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The statement from Erdan's office said that the proscribed NGOs were "the main boycott organisations which operate consistently and continuously against the state of Israel, while putting pressure on organisations, institutions and countries to boycott Israel".

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, appointed to spearhead the battle against BDS and other such movements, said Sunday that the blacklisting was "another step in our work to thwart anti-Israel boycott organizations".

Free speech advocates slammed the law as a form of "thought control", and note that Israel already controls who enters the Palestinian territories, with the exception of one border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. "No country would have allowed critics coming to harm the country to enter it".

Israeli Interior Minister Arye Dery, who is responsible for implementing the list, slammed these groups for "trying to exploit the law and our hospitality to act against Israel and to defame the country".

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"I will act against this in every way", said Deri.

The US-based Jewish Voice for Peace, which was also blacklisted, said in a Facebook post: "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". Its director, Rebecca Vilkomerson, issued a statement, saying: "We will not be bullied by these attempts to punish us for a principled political stance that increasing numbers of Jews and non-Jews support worldwide".

According to reports past year, Hugh Lanning of PSC became the first British citizen to be refused entry to Israel under the law.

In the years since its formation, the BDS movement has persuaded several church organizations to divest themselves of Israel-related investments and has garnered support on USA college campuses.

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