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Jewish Voice for Peace, five other U.S. groups on Israel's BDS blacklist

10 January 2018

The "BDS ban list" includes prominent organisations like Jewish Voice for Peace, War on Want and Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) which have been supporting the global Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanction (BDS) movement.

"The State of Israel will prevent groups working to undermine its security and core interests from entering Israel", Erdan said.

Members of 18 global organizations that promote a boycott campaign of Israel, known collectively as the BDS movement, will be banned from entering the country, according to a list published Sunday by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

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.

"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.

"No country would allow visitors who arrive to harm the country to enter it, and certainly not when their goal is to wipe out Israel as a Jewish country". The Israeli NGOs produced numerous studies on BDS activities, and eventually the government began taking the issue seriously before launching a plan of action. Between 2010-2013 then Strategic Affairs Ministry Director General Yossi Kuperwasser developed an action plan on how to counter BDS.

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"The boycott organizations need to know that the state of Israel will act to stop them and prevent their representatives from entering the country to harm its citizens", Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan said in a statement.

Not every person who is a member of such an organization or who has expressed support for such an organization would be barred from entering Israel.

"As someone with considerable family in Israel, this policy will be a personal hardship".

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".

The US-based Jewish Voice for Peace, which was also blacklisted, said in a Facebook post: "Israel's decision to specifically ban JVP is disconcerting but not surprising, given the further erosion of democratic norms and rising anxiety about the power of BDS as a tool to demand freedom". A message from Vaknin-Gil confirmed, "Dan Diker and the JCPA provided fantastic research on the BDS, anti-normalization and delegitimization phenomena that really needed to be done to ensure that this global campaign can be contained".

Hugh Lanning, chair of the PSC, said in a statement: "This latest announcement should be a wakeup call for the United Kingdom government and all those who continue to describe Israel as a normal liberal democracy". "Israel sees this as a deterrent, but I think that people will be even more dedicated to the cause".

Jewish Voice for Peace, five other U.S. groups on Israel's BDS blacklist