Israel lists 20 groups to be denied entry over boycott calls

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The Ministry of Strategic Affairs announced over the weekend that 20 organizations, including six that are based in the USA, are on the list.

Numerous organizations on the list are affiliated with the "boycott, divestment and sanctions" movement, or BDS, which discourages the purchase of Israeli goods and pressures global companies and celebrities to avoid doing business with or in Israel.

"Clearly, the Israeli government is very aware that increasing numbers of Jews and all people worldwide support the BDS movement, and are seeking to intimidate and coerce us into silence", JVP executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson wrote in a Haaretz op-ed.

Israel a year ago enacted a law that would ban any activist who "knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel".

The other U.S. groups on the list are: American Friends Service Committee; American Muslims for Palestine, Code Pink, National Students for Justice in Palestine; and the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights. The BDS National Committee; BDS Chile; and BDS South Africa also are on the list.

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 Interior Ministry will be responsible for enforcing the list, reportedly beginning in March. "Boycott organizations need to know that Israel will act against them and will not allow [them] to enter its territory in order to harm its citizens". It is reported to be limited to those who hold senior or key positions in the groups that appear on the blacklist, or important or high-profile activists.

The Jewish Voice for Peace, one of two American organizations listed, shared a statement condemning the ban as an attempt to "punish us for a principled political stance".

This has fueled a lot of opposition backlash, with many waring that it's just going to further distance those NGOs from the situation inside Israel and make changing their minds harder. Supporters say the BDS movement uses peaceful means to pressure the Israeli government, but Jerusalem sees it as a strategic threat motivated by anti-Semitic animus against the Jewish state.

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