Israel imposes travel ban on 20 foreign groups for boycott movement

A general view shows the Arab village of Bartaa in Wadi Ara which straddles the Green Line between Israel and the Palestinian territories

"By waging an all-out intelligence, propaganda and legal war on the peaceful BDS movement for Palestinian rights and by now banning global human rights organizations and advocates from entry, Israel's desperate and brutal attempts to weaken support for BDS are already backfiring", Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of BDS, told the Washington Post.

Israel announced the list of 20 foreign organizations whose representatives are to be banned from entering Israel because they advocate for a boycott of Israel based on its treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories. The members of the banned organisations will be denied entry visas and residency rights under a controversial law.

Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan defended the Israeli crackdown in a Hebrew-language statement. Unfortunately, the Israeli government is not willing to see beyond its contempt for a peaceful movement such as BDS, even when the group in question did so much to help their own during one of the most horrific periods of world history.

Diker told World Israel News (WIN) that the list published by Erdan is "a well thought out minimalist list that includes the worst of the worst BDS groups in the world". Most recently, pop singer Lorde joined a number of other performers who have canceled performances in Israel amid pressure from BDS activists.

Arye Dery, heading the Interior Ministry who will be responsible for implementing the list, said: "These people are trying to exploit the law and our hospitality to act against Israel and to defame the country".

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Included on the 20 banned NGOs is the Quaker American Friends Service Committee, which won a 1947 Nobel Peace Prize for helping refugees flee the Holocaust during WW2.

"I will act against this in every way", said Deri. "We will not be bullied by these attempts to punish us for a principled political stance that increasing numbers of Jews and non-Jews support worldwide", Rebecca Vilkomerson, Jewish Voice for Peace executive director, said in a statement issued Saturday.

According to reports a year ago, Hugh Lanning of PSC became the first British citizen to be refused entry to Israel under the law.

They also came to understand that BDS organizations have similar goals to anti-Israel terror groups like Islamic Jihad, some of whose members have been directly involved in the BDS campaign, and the BDS group Students for Justice in Palestine, which has featured Hezbollah and Hamas flags as they run an ominous campus network of students and faculty who actively work to subvert the State of Israel.

Shamiul Joarder, head of public affairs at Friends of Al Aqsa (FOA), said the list was proof that "BDS is working".

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