The Strategic Affairs Ministry under Gilad Erdan has compiled a list of organizations it says promote the boycott of Israel, and will cooperate with the Interior Ministry to block members of those groups from entering the country, Hadashot news reported Saturday.
The blacklist currently 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 TV report these include BDS groups from Italy, France, South Africa, Scandinavia, and the Jewish American group Jewish Voice for Peace.
The ministry plans to begin enforcing the blacklist in March.
Erdan told Hadashot news the list was an additional step in Israel’s campaign against BDS.
Last week the government approved a plan setting aside $75 million to fight BDS.
The plan, which would entail the largest monetary investment yet by Israel specifically toward combating the boycott campaign, calls for setting up a not-for-profit organization whose board will be made up of government officials and donors from abroad, the Ynet news site reported.
The $75 million budget will come partly from the government and partly from Jewish donors and communities abroad, the report said. It did not say when the new organization would become operational or established formally.
But the initial funding to the tune of $36 million will come from the budget of the Public Diplomacy Ministry under Erdan. At least 10 Jewish philanthropists have pledged to at least match that sum, with some promising to give $2 and $3 to any dollar put in by the Israeli government beyond the initial funding, according to the report.
The organization envisaged by its creators would operate on a regular basis to counter pressure applied to artists, performers, and commercial enterprises not to engage with Israel. But it would shift into high gear at sensitive periods such as fighting, waves of terrorist attacks, and anti-Israel votes at international forums, the announcement stated.
The new organization’s avenues for action would include public campaigns, lobbying, arranging for solidarity visits to Israel by opinion shapers, establishing new and social media presence, and interacting with pro-Israel organizations worldwide for coordinated action with a focus on Europe.