Israel lists 20 groups to be denied entry over boycott calls

Interior Security Minister Gilad Erdan at a Likud party conference in Lod

Interior Security Minister Gilad Erdan at a Likud party conference in Lod

"By waging an all-out intelligence, propaganda and legal war on the peaceful BDS movement for Palestinian rights and by now banning global human rights organizations and advocates from entry, Israel's desperate and brutal attempts to weaken support for BDS are already backfiring", Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of BDS, told the Washington Post.

The statement from Erdan said the NGOs being targeted were "the main boycott organizations which operate consistently and continuously against the state of Israel, while putting pressure on organizations, institutions and countries to boycott Israel".

Israel's Strategic Affairs Ministry has placed the left-wing, California-based Jewish Voice for Peace and five other US groups on a BDS blacklist.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri leads a Shas faction meeting at the Knesset
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri leads a Shas faction meeting at the Knesset

Among the 20 groups, 11 are from Europe, six from the United States, one from Latin America, one from South Africa, and one is an worldwide umbrella organization.

The legislation denies permits and residency visas to anyone who has publicly called for a boycott of the country.

"The boycott organizations need to know that the state of Israel will act against them and not allow [them] to enter its territory to harm its citizens", he said.

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But it is not only Palestinians who are protesting; among the Israelis who support BDS are musicians Aviad Albert and Yoav Beirach.

"We have moved from defense to attack", Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement, according to the Times of Israel. His strategic affairs ministry has a budget of around $36 million to make counter-plan to tackle the BDS movement.

The NGOs on the banned list include the Paris-based Association France Palestine Solidarite, British charity War on Want, and the American Friends Service Committee - a Nobel Peace Prize-winning US Quaker organization.

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Diker expects that BDS leaders who most actively promote their anti-Israel goals will be effectively blocked from entering the country. "I will act against this by every means". "These people are trying to take advantage of the law and our hospitality in order to act against and defame Israel", he said.

"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", the organization said.

According to Diker, "Over the last two years the government has done a lot of homework to determine who are the worst violators in the BDS campaign that completely reject Israel's very right to exist as a Jewish State".

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Israel's obsession with targeting the BDS movement has caused it to ignore a group's long history of support for Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany.

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