Israel Bans Entry For 20 Groups Over BDS Support

Rachel Megawhat  Breitbart London

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a quaker NGO group that advocates for human rights and was one of the 20 organizations included on Israel's "BDS Blacklist" published Sunday, responded that it would not be deterred in its pursuit of "peace and justice".

Israel's ministry of strategic affairs, a governmental department, has drawn up the list created to fight the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, known as BDS.

But activists said the new policy represented a "broader crackdown" on nonviolent Palestinian rights movements aimed at holding Israel accountable to worldwide law.

The American groups on the list include the American Friends Service Committee, Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace - the latter an overtly anti-Zionist group that operates outside the formal structures of the Jewish community, with financial support from the U.S. progressive Rockefeller Brothers Fund. It said "central figures in key boycott organizations" risked being prevented entry.

"The boycott organizations must know that the state of Israel will act against them", Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement. The movement has urged businesses, artists and universities to sever ties with Israel and it includes thousands of volunteers around the world.

Israel on Sunday banned representatives of 20 NGOs working in the country from its territory due to their support for a campaign opposed to the occupation of Palestine.

The US-based Jewish Voice for Peace, which was also blacklisted, said in a Facebook post: "Israel's decision to specifically ban JVP is disconcerting but not surprising, given the further erosion of democratic norms and rising anxiety about the power of BDS as a tool to demand freedom".

Members of the organizations from Europe, the United States, Latin America and a group from South Africa will be banned from visiting the country, the Haaretz newspaper reported, citing the so-called BDS blacklist.

"We answered the call for divestment from apartheid South Africa and we have done the same with the call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions from Palestinians who have faced decades of human rights violations", said Kerri Kennedy, AFSC's associate general-secretary for global programmes.

The quaker group won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 for its work in helping World War II refugees, apparently many of them Jews of mixed marriages, according to Haaretz.

Most of the groups named have long-established records of support for the Palestinian cause, and several of them - notably BDS South Africa - enjoy the support of influential elements in both government and public life, as well as public funds.

However, a spokesperson for the Labour leader revealed last month that Corbyn does not support the BDS movement.

The BDS movement is a global campaign to put more economic and political pressure on Israel to end violations of worldwide law.

Even so, a slew of other musicians have defied boycott calls and performed.

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