Israel Denies Entry to Foreign BDS Supporters
by Stephen Lendman
On the day Trump released his revised travel ban targeting designated Muslim countries, Israeli hardline MKS passed legislation banning foreign BDS supporters from entering its territory and areas it controls.
Both actions warrant universal condemnation, each abhorrent – Trump’s scheme to keep out unwanted Muslims, unrelated to border control and protecting national security, Israel wanting critics barred.
According to extremist MK Yinon Magal, “(a)ny who calls for a boycott of Israel is engaging in terrorism and must not be allowed to travel the country freely.”
The measure defines boycott to mean “deliberate avoidance of economic, social or academic ties or ties to a person or other body just because of his connection to the State of Israel, its institutions or regions under its control, in order to harm it economically, social or academically.”
According to Israeli activist Sahar Vardi, all Israeli banks finance settlement construction, supporting occupation, benefitting from its expansion at the expense of Palestinians grievously harmed.
US-based Jewish Voices for Peace executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson issued a strong statement, saying:
“On the same day as the Trump administration signed the second version of an unconstitutional and discriminatory executive order barring visitors from specific Muslim countries, Israel just passed its own discriminatory travel ban barring supporters of nonviolent tactics to end Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.”
“My grandparents are buried in Israel, my husband and kids are citizens, and I lived there for three years, but this bill would bar me from visiting because of my work in support of Palestinian rights.”
“The profiling and denial of entry that Palestinians have long faced when traveling to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is now being extended to apply to anyone who supports boycotts and other acts of conscience to oppose Israel’s policies.”
“I’m very proud to support the BDS movement, and hope that the response to this ban will hasten the day when anyone can travel there freely.”
On Monday, the measure passed its third and final reading – 46MKs in favor, 28 opposed. It’s unclear when the ban becomes effective.
The law also bans supporters involved in advocating boycotts of settlement products – produced on stolen Palestinian land.
It excludes foreign nationals with residency permits. It lets the interior ministry make exceptions. Under current Israeli law, anyone can be barred from entering Israel, including Jews.
Joint (Arab) List head Ayman Odeh said banning settlement opponents would prevent many Jews who are “not against the country, but against the occupation.”
Last week, Israel denied entry to Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine director Omar Shakir for the second time in less than a month because of his BDS activism.
On Monday, he was surprisingly allowed in, for how long and how he’ll be treated unknown.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.