Israel Takes Offense in Battle Against BDS

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

The Israeli Strategic Affairs Ministry on Sunday published a "blacklist" containing names of 20 BDS-linked organizations from around the world who will be banned from entering the country.

Among the banned groups are 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 organisation.

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".

The list, published by the Strategic Affairs Ministry, includes 20 BDS-linked organizations, a lot of them from Europe and the US. Corbyn is a long-time supporter of the group which describes him as a "tireless" pro-Palestine campaigner.

Erdan said Israel had "shifted from defence to offence" with the publication of the list.

According to a statement by the Strategic Affairs Ministry, those who have carried out "significant, ongoing and consistent harm to Israel through advocating boycotts may be considered to have their entry barred". The new regulations would take effect in March 2018, one year after Israel enacted the law enabling the ban.

"I will act against this in every way", said Deri.

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.

"As someone with considerable family in Israel, this policy will be a personal hardship".

The BDS Movement attempts to delegitimize and isolate Israel in an effort to advance Palestinian interests. "This ban is an overt violation of the constitutional rights of Israeli citizens and the rights guaranteed to Palestinian residents of the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories] under global humanitarian and human rights law".

South African, French, Italian and Chilean branches of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) also featured on the blacklist.

In November Israel denied entry to a USA employee of Amnesty International as part of its anti-boycott offensive under the same rules.

The list made public Sunday follows up on that legislation and could impact thousands of people if it is enforced.

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