Israel bans 20 global NGOs under anti-BDS law

Israel bans 20 global NGOs under anti-BDS law

Israel bans 20 global NGOs under anti-BDS law

The "BDS ban list" includes prominent organisations like Jewish Voice for Peace, War on Want and Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) which have been supporting the global Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanction (BDS) movement.

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

Israel on Sunday identified 20 activist groups from around the world whose members will be banned from entering the country over their calls to boycott the Jewish state, stepping up its fight against a movement it views as a serious threat. There are a few groups from South America and one from South Africa as well.

A statement by Israel's Strategic Affairs Ministry said those who have carried out "significant, ongoing and consistent harm to Israel through advocating boycotts may be considered to have their entry barred".

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Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan declared in a statement that the move reflected how Israel has "moved from defense to attack" and called out the BDS movement for spreading "false propaganda". Unfortunately, the Israeli government is not willing to see beyond its contempt for a peaceful movement such as BDS, even when the group in question did so much to help their own during one of the most horrific periods of world history. Between 2010-2013 then Strategic Affairs Ministry Director General Yossi Kuperwasser developed an action plan on how to counter BDS.

Gary Spedding, a British and a member of the Alliance Party's youth wing, who was refused entry by Israel in 2014 noted that the list was "merely an excuse to legally justify barring activists and human rights observers" from reporting the ground realities. The leaders of those groups will not be allowed to enter Israel.

"I will act against this in every way", said Deri. "These people are trying to take advantage of the law and our hospitality in order to act against and defame Israel", he said.

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". "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". A message from Vaknin-Gil confirmed, "Dan Diker and the JCPA provided awesome research on the BDS, anti-normalization and delegitimization phenomena that really needed to be done to ensure that this global campaign can be contained".

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