Israel has published a blacklist of 20 organisations whose leaders will be banned from entering the country for supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. “We have gone from defense to offense,” the Minister of Strategic Affairs, Gilad Erdán, who is in charge of preparing the list, told local press.
Airport and border officials will be authorised to prevent people named on the list from entering the country. Included on the blacklist is Jewish Voice for Peace, a group based in the United States that seeks the end of the Israeli occupation in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, territories that the Israeli government considers “in dispute”.
American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group that won a Nobel Prize for rescuing Jews from the Nazi’s during World War II also features on the list.
“The boycott organisations must know that the State of Israel will act against them and will not authorise them to enter this country to harm its citizens,” said Interior Minister Arie Deri, who said that activists and supporters of BDS “seek to take advantage of our laws and our hospitality to act against Israel and to defame it.”
Gary Spedding, a British cross-party consultant on Israel and the Palestinian Territories told the Independent newspaper that rather than trying to protect Israel the purpose of the list is to prevent human rights observers from entering the country to document abuses. “Israel’s publishing of a ‘BDS blacklist’ is the latest example of just how fragile the regime actually is and demonstrates a hypersensitivity to legitimate criticisms made of the state’s actions and policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians,” said Spedding.
The blacklist drawn up by Netanyahu’s Executive includes several European organisations such as the French Association of Solidarity with Palestine, BDS of France, Italy, the European Coordination Committees, and Association for Palestine, Friends of Al-Aqsa, the Palestinian Committee of Norway and the Swedish Association of Solidarity with Palestine, among others.