Labour leader Corbyn is patron of BDS group blacklisted by Israel

09 January, 2018, 01:03 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Interior Security Minister Gilad Erdan at a Likud party conference in Lod

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.

According to the Strategic Affairs Ministry, the regulation does not include those who express political criticism of Israel but only those who have taken significant, ongoing, consistent "material action" to harm Israel through advocating boycotts. It demands equal rights for Palestinians by putting pressure on the Israeli government via economic and cultural boycotts.

The legislation denies permits and residency visas to anyone who has publicly called for a boycott of the country.

"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.

AI and Israel agreed at the time that Raed Jarrar, an advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at the rights group, was prevented from entering the occupied West Bank.

"Forming a list is another step in our campaign against the false propaganda of boycott organizations", Erdan said.

"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", said Kerri Kennedy, an AFSC official responsible for worldwide programs.

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"We will work to thwart anti-Israel boycotts, while pursuing a lasting peace with our neighbors", he added.

Responding to the list, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) said it would continue to work for "peace and justice". The leaders of those groups will not be allowed to enter Israel.

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. Along with other human rights organizations, AFSC has spoken out against the Israeli occupation and advocated for the rights of Palestinians, many of whom live without basic access to water, electricity, and medical assistance.

Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which was also included in the list, said Israel's move was "disconcerting but not surprising".

With the new official blacklist of banned organizations, Israel is seeking to punish and intimidate activists supporting the Palestinian struggle for human rights.

Hassan Jabareen, of the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, said the travel ban was draconian and arbitrary.

"You can not ban groups who are against settlements, occupation and apartheid and still call yourself a democracy", Tibi told Al Jazeera. "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".

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