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Published: Tue, January 09, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Israel imposes travel ban on 20 foreign NGOs over boycott movement

Israel imposes travel ban on 20 foreign NGOs over boycott movement

Following an intensive monitoring, the 20 organizations were found to be acting consistently to encourage boycotts and attacks on the State of Israel.

Israel's blacklist includes: the France-Palestine Solidarity Association, the British War on Want, BDS France and Italy, the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine, the Friends of Al-Aqsa, the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the American Friends Service Committee, the American Muslims for Palestine, the Jewish Voice for Peace, the Code Pink and the National Students for Justice in Palestine.

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.

The members of 20 organisations - including one Jewish - that advocate boycott of Israel will be banned from entering the country.

Asad Rehman, executive director of War on Want, said the blacklist is "a desperate attempt to silence a growing movement that is holding Israel to account for its systematic abuse of Palestinian rights, and persistent violations of worldwide law". "No country would have allowed critics coming to harm the country to enter it". It said "central figures in key boycott organizations" risked being prevented entry.

"The boycott organizations are opposed to the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people and are using the boycott as a means to undermine its legitimacy and existence", Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan said in the release. "The creation of this list is another step in our struggle against the incitement and lies of the boycott organisations". The movement has urged businesses, artists and universities to sever ties with Israel and it includes thousands of volunteers around the world.

Members of the organizations from Europe, the United States, Latin America and a group from South Africa will be banned from visiting the country, the Haaretz newspaper reported, citing the so-called BDS blacklist. While its impact has been financially negligible and the campaign has been defied by many, it has created an image problem for Israel by drawing support from high-profile names including the pop singer Lorde, who recently canceled a scheduled performance.

The blacklist came out shortly after a letter was signed by 100 artists in support of New Zealand pop artist Lorde, who made a decision to cancel her Israel concert this summer amid BDS-pressure.

The quaker group won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 for its work in helping World War II refugees, apparently many of them Jews of mixed marriages, according to Haaretz.

"We answered the call for divestment from apartheid South Africa and we have done the same with the call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions from Palestinians who have faced decades of human rights violations", AFSC official Kerri Kennedy said.

In the years since its formation, the BDS movement has persuaded several church organizations to divest themselves of Israel-related investments and has garnered support on USA college campuses.

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. Israel has also enjoyed new economic partnerships and diplomatic ties despite calls for boycotts and it has become a top destination for global sporting and cultural events.

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