Israeli Blacklist Documents BDS Groups to be Blocked From Country

Among the strategic threats identified by the newly created ministry include the BDS movement which calls for a cultural, academic and consumer boycott of Israel till it complies with worldwide law, ends its illegal occupation of the West Bank, and blockade of Gaza.

Israel's ministry of strategic affairs, a governmental department, has drawn up the list created to fight the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, known as BDS.

Members of the 20 organisations listed will not be allowed to enter the country due to their support of a boycott of Israel.

Asad Rehman, executive director of War on Want, said the blacklist is "a desperate attempt to silence a growing movement that is holding Israel to account for its systematic abuse of Palestinian rights, and persistent violations of worldwide law".

"No country would have allowed critics coming to harm the country to entry it", he added.
It said "central figures in key boycott organizations" risked being prevented entry.

Israel's Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, said the country has "shifted from defense to offense" by publishing the list. "The creation of this list is another step in our struggle against the incitement and lies of the boycott organisations". "These people are trying to take advantage of the law and our hospitality in order to act against and defame Israel", he said.

"Support for the BDS movement has been growing around the globe in recent years, as more and more people recognize the brutal reality of Israel's apartheid regime and almost 50-year-old military occupation of Palestinian lands", committee head Mahmoud Nawajaa said in a statement. According to the TV report these include BDS groups from Italy, France, South Africa, Scandinavia, and the Jewish American group Jewish Voice for Peace. The final list was worked out in collaboration with the interior, foreign affairs and justice ministries.

"We answered the call for divestment from apartheid South Africa and we have done the same with the call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions from Palestinians who have faced decades of human rights violations", said Kerri Kennedy, an AFSC official responsible for global programs.

The group, together with the Friends Service Council, a British Quaker organisation, won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 for assisting Second World War refugees, primarily Jews.

Most of the groups named have long-established records of support for the Palestinian cause, and several of them - notably BDS South Africa - enjoy the support of influential elements in both government and public life, as well as public funds.

Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which was also included in the list, said Israel's move was "disconcerting but not surprising".

However, a spokesperson for the Labour leader revealed last month that Corbyn does not support the BDS movement.

It recently achieved a huge win after more than 100 artists signed an open-letter supporting New Zealand based singer Lorde to cancel her show in Tel-Aviv as part of the Palestinian call to boycott Israel.

Even so, a slew of other musicians have defied boycott calls and performed.

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