Israel Bans 20 BDS Groups from the Country

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Israel on Sunday identified 20 activist groups from around the world whose members will be banned from entering the country over their calls to boycott the Jewish state, stepping up its fight against a movement it views as a serious threat.

Asad Rehman, executive director of War on Want, said the blacklist is "a desperate attempt to silence a growing movement that is holding Israel to account for its systematic abuse of Palestinian rights, and persistent violations of worldwide law".

The list, in particular, includes such entities as Jewish Voice for Peace, France Association Palestine Solidarity, BDS France, BDS Italy, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, American Friends Service Committee, American Muslims for Palestine and BDS South Africa.

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 worldwide companies and celebrities to avoid doing business with or in Israel.

As well as War on Want, the list names a second British group, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, of which Jeremy Corbyn is a patron.

"No country would have allowed critics coming to harm the country to entry it", he added.

Rehman urged the British government to condemn "this latest crackdown on human rights defenders" through measures such as the "suspension of trade ties with Israel, including the arms trade".

South African, French, Italian and Chilean branches of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) are also on the blacklist.

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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".

The leaders of those groups will not be allowed to enter Israel.

The list, published by the Strategic Affairs Ministry, includes 20 BDS-linked organizations, a lot of them from Europe and the US.

According to a statement by the Strategic Affairs Ministry, those who have carried out "significant, ongoing and consistent harm to Israel through advocating boycotts may be considered to have their entry barred".

"That is why the leaders of the world's democracies have joined Israel in rejecting this campaign", Erdan said.

"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.

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