Israel reveals blacklist of BDS groups not welcome in Jewish State

Posted January 09, 2018

The prominent British campaign group War on Want has been listed as one of 20 foreign NGOs whose representatives are banned from visiting Israel over their support of the pro-Palestinian boycott, sanctions and divestment (BDS) movement.

"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".

Hadashot News, the Israel Television News Company, first reported Saturday night that members of JVP, which has over 200,000 online supporters and 70 chapters, could be banned from entering the country. It includes the UK-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and War on Want.

The blacklist follows up on a controversial law enacted by Israel past year which bans any activist who "knowingly issues a public call for boycotting" the country.

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The leaders of those groups will not be allowed to enter Israel.

Rehman urged the British government to condemn "this latest crackdown on human rights defenders" through measures such as the "suspension of trade ties with Israel, including the arms trade".

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". "We won't end BDS until Israel ends its occupation", he said.

"Hugh Lanning, the chair of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: "[The campaign] should be a wake-up call for the United Kingdom government and all those who continue to describe Israel as a normal, liberal democracy. "The organizations' activities are carried out through a false propaganda campaign aimed at undermining Israel's legitimacy in the world".

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"Liberal democracies do not prevent entry to individuals whose only offense is to draw attention to human rights abuses and to call for non-violent action to address them".

The blacklist came out shortly after a letter was signed by 100 artists in support of New Zealand pop artist Lorde, who chose to cancel her Israel concert this summer amid BDS-pressure. "The creation of this list is another step in our struggle against the incitement and lies of the boycott organisations".

Erdan, who is the minister responsible for coordinating the Israeli government's response to the BDS campaign of boycott and delegitimization of Israel, acknowledged that "today we need a new approach to the fight against BDS".

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