Israel publishes list of BDS-linked groups banned from entry

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Just last week, the Israeli government allocated a whopping $72 million to fight BDS.

This is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement established by Palestinians as a way of drawing the world's attention to their wretched state under Israeli occupation.

Members of 18 worldwide 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.

Israel's Strategic Affairs Ministry was initially created as a ministry whose sole goal was to try to talk up a war with Iran.

After announcing that the top leaders of the 21 blacklisted organizations will will be turned over to border authorities, Erdan said, "Israel switched from defense to offense".

The blacklist follows up on a controversial law enacted by Israel past year which bans any activist who "knowingly issues a public call for boycotting" the country.

"This list is another step forward in our battle against the incitement and lies of the BDS organizations".

Calling the move a shift from defence to offence, Erdan said, "The boycott organisations need to know that the state of Israel will act against them and not allow them to enter its territory to harm its citizens".

Included on the list are six US-based organizations and 10 European groups.

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The ban will include individuals who hold senior positions in the listed organizations and those who are particularly active in promoting the boycott, including establishment figures from various countries. Groups in Europe, Latin America and South Africa are also named. That role had been championed by Israeli think tanks such as the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) headed by former Foreign Ministry Director General Dr. Dore Gold and others including the Reut Institute.

But it is not only Palestinians who are protesting; among the Israelis who support BDS are musicians Aviad Albert and Yoav Beirach. His strategic affairs ministry has a budget of around $36 million to make counter-plan to tackle the BDS movement. The challenge was that he lacked the necessary funds at that time to execute the plan.

In the years since its formation, the BDS movement has persuaded several church organizations to divest themselves of Israel-related investments and has garnered support on USA college campuses.

The Ministry of Strategic Affairs acknowledged JCPA's efforts.

Shamiul Joarder, head of public affairs at Friends of Al Aqsa (FOA), said the list was proof that "BDS is working".

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

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".

Responding to news of the blacklist, Gary Spedding, a British cross-party consultant on Israel and the Palestinian Territories, told The Independent the blacklist was merely an excuse to legally justify barring activists and human rights observers from entering the country.

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