Israeli Parliament self-boycotts by seeking to Ban BDS Supporters from Israel

Ma’an News Agency | – –

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Knesset committee approved on Wednesday a first reading of a bill that would ban supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement from entering Israel, Israeli media reported.

According to The Jerusalem Post, the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee of Israel’s parliament approved the first reading of the bill, which is supported by MK Bezalel Smotrich from the far-right Jewish Home party.

A bill needs to go through three readings in the Knesset before becoming a law.

“Why should I let someone who slanders the state and harms it into my home?” The Jerusalem Post quoted committee chairman David Amsalem as saying.

The Arab Joint List — the political bloc which represents parties in the Knesset led by Palestinian citizens of Israel — did not immediately respond to a request for comment, although a spokesperson told Ma’an that the coalition was “completely” opposed to the bill.

The BDS movement was founded in July 2005 by a swath of Palestinian civil society as a peaceful movement to restore Palestinian rights in accordance with international law through strategies of boycotting Israeli products and cultural institutions, divesting from companies complicit in violations against Palestinians, and implementing state sanctions against the Israeli government.

The introduction of the bill to the Knesset in November came after months of Israeli efforts to crack down on the BDS Movement.

Israeli Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri and Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan announced in August that they were forming a joint task force to “expel and ban the entry of BDS activists” into Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.

“We must not allow BDS activists to enter the state of Israel. This is a necessary step, given the malicious intentions of these activists to delegitimize and spread lies and distortions about the reality in our region,” Erdan was quoted as saying in a statement released at the time, adding that the boycott movement against Israel “must have a price.”

Erdan and Deri also alleged that BDS activists traveled to the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem to “incite” Palestinians.

The planned crackdown on BDS supporters has led to outcry from groups like the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).

“Isolation of Palestinians by denying access and/or deporting human rights activists aims to make Palestinian communities already vulnerable and suffering from abuse…even more vulnerable,” ISM said in a statement in August.

The boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel has gained momentum over past years, with activists targeting companies that act in compliance with Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The Israeli government, meanwhile, has grown increasingly concerned about the growth of the BDS movement, as the movement’s support base has expanded to include companies, universities, and religious institutions around the world divesting from organizations complicit in Israel’s violation of Palestinian rights.

In January 2016, the Israeli Knesset held a conference to discuss ways to combat BDS, and dedicated 100 million shekels ($26 million) of the government’s 2016 budget to the issue.

In May, Israel issued a travel ban on BDS cofounder Omar Barghouti, a permanent resident in Israel, as Mahmoud Nawajaa, the general coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, stated at the time that the decision reflected “the lengths [Israel] will go to in order to stop the spread of the non-violent BDS movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality.”

Via Ma’an News Agency

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

Ilan Pappe and Gideon Levy on BDS

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3 Responses

  1. Does anyone in Israel understand that most of Israel’s actions these days are counterproductive and just make Israel’s future even more questionable?

    Israelis might want to think about . . .

    “Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.” – Thomas Jones (1892 – 1969)

    Israel’s actions are making it very hard to be Israel’s friend and increasing Israel’s enemies.

    Just where do Israelis think this is going to end up?

    Israel has very limited resources. It has no major natural resources or agriculture that can not easily be sourced elsewhere. It has only about 6 million Jewish humans and it is very likely no more than 4 million may be willing to die for Israel and the rest will flee a major war. A major part of the Israeli economy is brain based and most of those brains will leave Israel when the major shooting starts.

    What am I missing? why do Israelis think they can continue to antagonize the Arabs and not eventually suffer major negative consequences?

    Sure, the present day leadership in the Arab countries would prefer to avoid war with Israel, but eventually Israel is going to antagonize so many Arabs and others, the Arab leaders will be forced into war, which Israel can NOT win and could very possibly lose.

    Banning BDS supporters will NOT fix any of the problems Israel faces and in fact will only make the problems worse.

  2. Dear Professor Cole

    The Enemy Agent uncovered by Al Jazeera subverting UK politics was particularly targeting support for BDS among students in UK

    REVEALED: NUS official colluded with Israeli embassy to oust student leader
    #IsraelLobby
    NUS Vice President Richard Brooks worked with figures linked to the Israeli embassy and offered resources to oppose Malia Bouattia

    NUS endorsement of Israeli boycott

    The Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement has gained traction on campuses across the UK over the last few years.

    The campaign on British campuses has led universities to divest from companies like G4S and Veolia, which are accused of profiteering from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

    The Ministry of Strategic Affairs in Israel has been at the forefront of attempts to counter the worldwide growth of the BDS movement.

    REVEALED: Secret tapes expose Israeli influence over UK Conservative Party

    In September, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan described the UK as the “centre” of the BDS movement.

    In 2014 the NUS’s national executive voted to endorse the BDS campaign, amid widespread public concern over the deteriorating situation in Gaza after Israel’s devastating military operation in the coastal enclave in the summer of that year.

    I look forward to further revelations of the extent of penetration of Parliament Government and organisations.

    • “The Ministry of Strategic Affairs in Israel has been at the forefront of attempts to counter the worldwide growth of the BDS movement.”

      In fact, evidence surfaced that the Israel Foreign Ministry had played a key role in the lawsuit filed against the Olympia Food Co-op in Washington to seek reversal of a board of directors resolution to boycott Israeli goods.

      The action, filed in 2011 by several pro-Israel co-op members, has been pending for over five years and is being defended on a pro-bono basis by the Center for Constitutional Rights.

      It had been revealed that Stand With Us, a group with links to Israel, had posted a $400,000.00 bond to allow the case to proceed. The suit has been the subject of intensive investigative reporting as to who is behind the plaintiffs in the expensive litigation.

      Here are some links:

      link to richardsilverstein.com

      link to mondoweiss.net

      link to mondoweiss.net

      link to ccrjustice.org

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