Israel Takes Offense in Battle Against BDS

Casey Dawson
January 9, 2018

The ministry said that the list names the primary BDS groups, "who consistently and continuously act against the State of Israel by pressuring groups, institutions and states to boycott Israel".

The BDS campaign encourages people to boycott Israel, urges universities and other organizations to divest from the country, and calls for worldwide sanctions until Tel Aviv complies with global law with respect to Palestinians and withdraws from Palestinian land.

The list made public Sunday, which includes a Nobel Peace Prize winning organization, follows up on that legislation.

The listed groups, from the United States, France, South Africa and beyond, count thousands of people as members.

Supporters of BDS say a boycott will incentivize Israel to come to the negotiating table with Palestinians.

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.

Erdan said Israel had "shifted from defence to offence" with the publication of the list.

He added: "This blacklist is a repressive tactic borrowed from the same playbook used by the apartheid regime in South Africa, when it tried to censor critics".

"Rather than change its disastrous occupation policies, Israel is preoccupying itself with campaigns of harassment against anyone who dares criticise its inhuman treatment of Palestinians".

Ben Jamal, a director at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said the move prevents peaceful human rights activists like him, who are of Palestinian origin and have family and friends in Palestine, from entering Israel.

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Ismail Patel, the chair of the Friends of Al-Aqsa, said, "the blacklist clearly demonstrates how far Israel is willing to go to stifle the legitimate voice of dissent".

"This merely reinforced FOA's support for the vital BDS campaign which is growing steadily".

"We have moved from defense to attack", Erdan wrote.

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

The ban includes individuals with senior positions at the listed organizations and establishment figures from various countries who have actively promoted the boycott.

According to Haaretz, Phiri was put back on a plane after she arrived at Ben-Gurion International airport in December 2016.

The Strategic Affairs Ministry was created in 2006 at the request of Avigdor Lieberman.

Israel's move elicited a variety of responses from the targeted groups, with some expressing disappointment and condemnation, and others hailing it as a "clear victory" for the BDS movement.

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 global law, ends its illegal occupation of the West Bank, and blockade of Gaza. One of them - the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP) - acts as a co-ordinator for more than 40 pro-BDS groups around Europe, including some larger associations that are specified separately on the Israeli list.

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