Israel Takes Offense in Battle Against BDS

The United Nations Security Council chamber in New York City

The United Nations Security Council chamber in New York City

The blacklist now covers around 20 groups the ministry says are part of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) and which it says consistently and openly work to delegitmize Israel.

BDS, which stands for "boycott, divest and sanctions", aims to pressure Israel into complying with global law vis-à-vis its policies toward the Palestinians.

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.

Numerous organizations on the list are affiliated with the "boycott, divestment and sanctions" movement, or BDS, which discourages the purchase of Israeli goods and pressures worldwide companies and celebrities to avoid doing business with or in Israel.

The barring of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) in the United Kingdom could theoretically extend to Jeremy Corbyn - the leader of the opposition Labour Party and a patron of the group, one of the major vehicles for BDS activism in the UK.

He added that Israel has "moved from defense to offense, the boycott organizations should know that the Jewish state will act against them and will not allow them to enter it to harm its citizens".

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

Hassan Jabareen, general director of Adalah, which provides legal aid for Arabs, compared the ban to South Africa's apartheid regime, where they "prepared blacklists in order to punish people and prevent the entry of those opposed to its racist policies".

Israel had previously refused to divulge the full list of blacklisted groups. Only states that wish to protect their ability to act unjustly behave in this way.

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".

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

The Ministry of Strategic Affairs published the list after deciding together with the Ministry of Interior back in back in March, 2017 that entry to Israel would be denied to individuals associated with the listed organizations.

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

"The anti-Israel boycott campaign seeks not to promote peace but to undermine Israel's national security and existence", said minister Gilad Erdan. "The creation of this list is another step in our struggle against the incitement and lies of the boycott organizations".

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