Jerusalem: Members of 20 international organisations 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.
The list was created after Israel’s parliament in March approved legislation that would deny entry visas to foreign nationals who publicly back or call for any kind of boycott – economic, cultural or academic – of Israel or its West Bank settlements.
BDS, which stands for ”boycott, divest and sanctions,” aims to pressure Israel into complying with international law vis-à-vis its policies toward the Palestinians. The movement discourages the purchase of Israeli goods, pressures international companies not to conduct business in Israel and urges celebrities not to visit or perform in the country.
The Israeli government increasingly views the BDS campaign as a threat and has ramped up the fight against what it calls delegitimisation efforts.
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.”
“The state of Israel will actively prevent such groups from spreading their falsehoods and odious methods from within the country,” he said.
Among those featured on the list are six US organizations, including two run by Jewish activists – Jewish Voice for Peace and Code Pink.
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The ban will include individuals who hold senior positions in the listed organisations and those who are particularly active in promoting the boycott, including establishment figures from various countries.
Although details of the ban have yet to be worked out, the ministry said that there was no intention of barring entry to individuals who express political criticism of Israel and that it would not apply to those who hold Israeli citizenship.
Some of the organizations included in the ban responded on social media, with the Jewish Voice for Peace tweeting: “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.”
Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, said in a statement that the ban was a “badge of honor.”
“When Israel, which aims to portray itself to the world as liberal and democratic, blacklists activists dedicated to nonviolent organising and dissent, it only further exposes itself as a fraud,” he wrote on the group’s website.
Here is a full list of the organizations set to be banned entry into Israel:
AFPS (France-Palestine Solidarity Association)
ECCP (The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine)
FOA (Friends of al-Aqsa)
IPSC (Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
Norge Palestinakomitee (The Palestine Committee of Norway)
Palestinagrupperna i Sverige (PGS- Palestine Solidarity Association of Sweden)
PSC (Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
War on Want
– United States
AFSC (American Friends Service Committee)
AMP (American Muslims for Palestine)
JVP (Jewish Voice for Peace)
NSJP (National Students for Justice in Palestine)
USCPR (U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights)
– Other groups
BDS South Africa
BDS National Committee
The Washington Post