World

UK-based NGOs slam restriction on entry to Israel

UK-based NGOs slam restriction on entry to Israel

Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs published a list Sunday of the 20 entities that will be banned from entering the country after Israel's parliament approved legislation to deny entry visas to foreign nationals who call for or promote any kind of boycott.

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 United States progressive Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

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

The BDS campaign encourages people to boycott Israel, urges universities and other organizations to divest from the country, and calls for worldwide sanctions until Tel Aviv complies with global law with respect to Palestinians and withdraws from Palestinian land.

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

In the official statement issued with the blacklist, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan explained, "We have moved from defense to attack". "No country would have allowed critics coming to harm the country to enter it".

Supporters of the movement say the tactics are a nonviolent way to promote the Palestinian cause. It will focus on lobbying, public campaigns, solidarity visits to Israel for high-profile opinion-makers, social media campaigns and coordinated activities with pro-Israel organizations in North America and Europe.

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"No country would allow visitors who arrive to harm the country to enter it and certainly not when their goal is to wipe out Israel as a Jewish country", said Erdan.

"We will work to thwart anti-Israel boycotts, while pursuing a lasting peace with our neighbors", he added.

"I believe that BDS leads to increasing hatred", his office quoted him as saying in English.

The Palestine Group of Norway was among the groups named on Sunday.

"The state of Israel will actively prevent such groups from spreading their falsehoods and odious methods from within the country", he said.

A Palestinian protester uses a sling to hurl stones towards Israeli troops during clashes as Palestinians call for a "day of rage" in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, near the West Bank city of Ramallah December 8, 2017.