Israel publishes blacklist of BDS groups to be barred from country

Strategic affairs minister says the country is moving from defense to attack against organizations that seek to harm the Jewish state

Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan at a Likud party conference in Lod, on December 31, 2017. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan at a Likud party conference in Lod, on December 31, 2017. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The Strategic Affairs Ministry on Sunday published a list of organizations it says promote the boycott of Israel and that, in cooperation with the Interior Ministry, it will block members of those groups from entering the country, including an American Jewish group.

The blacklist covers some 20 groups the ministry said are part of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) and which it said consistently and openly work to delegitimize Israel.

“We have moved from defense to attack,” Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement that listed the targeted groups. “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.”

A pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel protest in Gothenburg, Sweden, in November 2015. The signs in Swedish read ‘Boycott Israel.’ (Marianne Pleen Schreiber)

Here is the full list.

United States:
• AFSC (American Friends Service Committee)
• AMP (American Muslims for Palestine)
• Code Pink
• JVP (Jewish Voice for Peace)
• NSJP (National Students for Justice in Palestine)
• USCPR (US Campaign for Palestinian Rights)

• AFPS (The Association France Palestine Solidarité)
• BDS France
• BDS Italy
• ECCP (The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine)
• FOA (Friends of al-Aqsa)
• IPSC (Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
• Norgeׂׂ Palestinakomitee (The Palestine Committee of Norway)
• PGS Palestinagrupperna i Sverige (Palestine Solidarity Association in Sweden)
• PSC (Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
• War on Want
• BDS Kampagne

Latin America
• BDS Chile

South Africa
• BDS South Africa

• BNC (BDS National Committee)

The list will be passed on to the Interior Ministry and the Border and Population Authority, the statement said.

The groups, considered central to the boycott movement, “operate consistently, continuous and persistently against Israel, by way of pressuring entities, institutes, and countries to boycott Israel,” the statement declared.

“The activities of the organizations are carried out by way of a false propaganda campaign, aimed at undermining Israel’s legitimacy in the world.”

“Forming a list is another step in our campaign against the false propaganda of boycott organizations,” said Erdan, who is also public security minister. “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 ministry noted that last month Denmark and Norway, under pressure from Israel, said that they were clamping down on funding of Palestinian organizations that uphold boycotts, and in some cases would cancel their funding.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri leads a Shas faction meeting at the Knesset, January 1, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri vowed to prevent boycott promoters from entering the country.

“I made it unequivocally clear that I will use my authority to prevent the entry of members of organizations and individuals whose whole aim is to harm Israel and its security,” he said. “These people are trying to exploit the law and our hospitality in order to act against Israel and to defame the country. I will act against this in every way.”

According to Hebrew media reports, the ministry plans to begin enforcing the blacklist in March.

Also Sunday, President Reuven Rivlin met with Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide and thanked her for her government’s stance against the BDS movement.

“I believe that BDS leads to increasing hatred, and does not work against it, and it symbolizes all that stands in the way of dialogue, debate, and progress,” Rivlin said. “It is against all our cooperation, and against our lives together here. You must work against it no less than we, because it stands in the way of progress.”

President Reuven Rivlin, right, meets with Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide, at the President’s House in Jerusalem, January 07, 2018. (Mark Neyman/GPO)

In March, the Knesset amended the Law of Entry to prevent leaders of the BDS movement from being allowed into Israel. The amendment applies to organizations that take consistent and significant action against Israel through BDS, as well as the leadership and senior activists of those groups.

Four months later, in July, five members of the Jewish Voice for Peace were prevented from boarding a flight to Israel due to their support for the boycott movement.

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.

JTA contributed to this report.

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