Israel releases new BDS blacklist, denying entry to members of 20 groups

Israel releases new BDS blacklist, denying entry to members of 20 groups

Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs has published a list of 20 anti-Israel organizations that actively support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement and whose activists will be denied entry into the Jewish state.

"But I am also heartened by this indicator of the BDS movement's growing strength, and hope that it will bring the day closer when just as I go to visit my friends and family in Israel, so will Palestinian friends and colleagues be able to return home".

BDS groups from around the world are included on the list as is the US-based organization, Jewish Voice for Peace, which is calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

Israel on Sunday published a list of organizations whose members are henceforth banned from entering the country due to their support of the BDS movement, which calls for boycotting and imposing sanctions on Israel. "No country would have allowed critics coming to harm the country to enter it".

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

The representatives of various United Kingdom -based non-profit organizations reacted on Monday to a recent ban on their members from entering Israel.

The project will work to counter BDS pressure applied to artists, performers, and commercial enterprises not to engage with Israel.

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

"That is why the leaders of the world's democracies have joined Israel in rejecting this campaign", Erdan said.

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". Only states that wish to protect their ability to act unjustly behave in this way.

"We have shifted from defense to offense", Gilad Erdan, Strategic Affairs Minister, said.

The BDS movement calls for governments, businesses and individuals to cut ties with Israeli entities, with the aim of forcing Israel to change its policies in the occupied territories.

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". He called the blacklist "another step in our battle against the incitement and lies spread by the boycott groups".

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