Prominent Jewish BDS activist denied entry to Israel
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Prominent Jewish BDS activist denied entry to Israel

Code Pink official Ariel Gold had come to take part in a Jewish studies program at Hebrew University, but ministers say she was actually here to push for a boycott of the country

Ariel Gold (Eric Cortellessa/The Times of Israel)
Ariel Gold (Eric Cortellessa/The Times of Israel)

Israeli officials barred a Jewish pro-Palestinian activist from entering the country late Sunday and began proceedings to deport her over her support for a boycott of the country.

Ariel Gold said that she had arranged her visit ahead of time with Israeli authorities, in line with a demand by Jerusalem after her last visit to the country, but was being deported anyway after landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport.

Gold is the national co-director of US left-wing activist group Code Pink and an advocate of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to isolate Israel internationally.

“I am in the Tel Aviv airport getting deported. I got a visa in advance to enter the country buy they are refusing to honor it and are deporting me now,” she wrote on Facebook early Monday.

I am in the Tel Aviv airport getting deported. I got a visa in advance to enter the country buy they are refusing to honor it and are deporting me now.

Posted by Ariel Gold on Sunday, 1 July 2018

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who petitioned Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to have her visa canceled, said she had been denied entry because of her support for the BDS movement.

“Whoever acts for a boycott of Israel and comes here to cause damage, will not enter the country,” he wrote on Twitter.

Gold had reportedly come to Israel on a visa to take part in a Jewish studies program at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In interviews, she has spoken of her desire to learn more about Judaism.

CodePink activist Ariel Gold interrupts Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer at an event during the 2016 Democratic National Convention (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)

However, Israeli officials believed she was actually here to urge support for a boycott of Israel.

Deri called her a “Jewish woman trying to take advantage of that fact for the worse,” Haaretz reported.

Gold visited Israel last year, and while in the country, was singled out for her BDS activism.

Before leaving the country, officials told her if she wanted to return she would need to clear it with authorities in advance, according to Haaretz.

Israeli and foreign activists, from the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace and the international feminist organization Code Pink, protest against Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, at the Erez border crossing between Israel and Gaza, in southern Israel, Monday June 8, 2009. (AP/Tsafrir Abayov)

“If I am not allowed back I will be very sad,” she told left-wing website +972 last year.

The case shines a light on a relatively new law that allows the interior minister to deport or deny entry to supporters of the BDS movement.

However, Gold’s Jewish heritage likely means that under the right of return extending Israeli citizenship to Jews worldwide, Gold could likely come to Israel as a citizen, but not as a visitor.

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