Published: Tue, January 09, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Israel Imposes Travel Ban On 20 Foreign Ngos Over Boycott Movement

Israel Imposes Travel Ban On 20 Foreign Ngos Over Boycott Movement

The Israeli Strategic Affairs Ministry on Sunday issued a list of 20 global organizations, which will be denied entry to the country over their support for the "Boycott, Divestment Sanctions" (BDS) campaign against Israel, local media reported.

Israeli officials said the blacklist is part of a policy aimed at turning the tables on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Among those featured on the list are six USA organizations, including two run by Jewish activists - Jewish Voice for Peace and Code Pink.

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

The blacklist follows up on a controversial law enacted by Israel a year ago which bans any activist who "knowingly issues a public call for boycotting" the country.

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

The blacklist names groups from the U.S., Europe, Chile and South Africa. 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.

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"Hugh Lanning, the chair of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: "[The campaign] should be a wake-up call for the United Kingdom government and all those who continue to describe Israel as a normal, liberal democracy.

Not every person who is a member of such an organization or who has expressed support for such an organization would be barred from entering Israel. Only states that wish to protect their ability to act unjustly behave in this way.

Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan stated that "the consolidation of the list is another step in our struggle against the incitement and lies of the boycott organizations".

"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.

"No country would allow visitors who arrive to harm the country to enter it and certainly not when their goal is to wipe out Israel as a Jewish country", said Erdan. Most recently, pop singer Lorde joined a number of other performers who have canceled performances in Israel amid pressure from BDS activists.

Supporters of the movement say the tactics are a nonviolent way to promote the Palestinian cause, while 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 nation of Israel.

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