The Israeli government on Sunday identified 20 international organizations it says promote a boycott of Israel, and said the Interior Ministry will work to block members of those groups from entering the country.
Israeli officials said the blacklist is part of a policy aimed at turning the tables on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“We have moved from defense to attack,” Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement, according to the Times of Israel. “Boycott organizations need to know that Israel will act against them and will not allow [them] to enter its territory in order to harm its citizens.”
The BDS movement calls for governments, businesses and individuals to cut ties with Israeli entities, with the aim of forcing Israel to change its policies in the occupied territories. Supporters say the BDS movement uses peaceful means to pressure the Israeli government, but Jerusalem sees it as a strategic threat motivated by anti-Semitic animus against the Jewish state.
The blacklist names groups from the U.S., Europe, Chile and South Africa. The six American organizations include Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a left-wing activist group that “seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem,” according its mission statement.
American pro-Israel groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee have accused JVP of exploiting its status as a Jewish organization to bolster the BDS movement.
Israel’s parliament passed legislation in March 2017 that would deny entry visas to people who publicly support any kind of boycott of Israel or its West Bank settlements. The blacklist announced Sunday, which follows from that measure, identifies groups that are waging “a false propaganda campaign” and “undermining Israel’s legitimacy in the world,” the Interior Ministry said.
“Forming a list is another step in our campaign against the false propaganda of boycott organizations,” Erdan said. “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.”