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Israeli minister calls for 'blacklist' of organizations supporting BDS

Dec. 7, 2016 10:57 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 8, 2016 11:21 A.M.)
Palestinians walk past a sign painted on a wall in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on June 5, 2015. (AFP, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan has proposed that Israel set up a committee to blacklist organizations and individuals which advocate for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Tuesday.

According to the news outlet, Erdan first recommended the maintenance of the blacklist to Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, before sending these recommendations to the treasury.

Erdan’s proposal would block the blacklisted entities from bidding on government tenders or receiving financial benefits from the Israeli government.

The news comes days after Israeli authorities denied entry into Israel to Malawi BDS activist Isabel Phiri, in what Israeli media reported was “the first time” the country “officially” denied entry to a foreign national who supports the movement for Palestinian rights.

The Israeli government 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.

As a result, Israel has enacted numerous policies targeting domestic and foreign nationals involved in the movement, and other pro-Palestinian activities.

A bill banning supporters of the BDS movement from entering Israel was first submitted for consideration to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, last month.

Meanwhile, Israeli Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri and 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.

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 BDS movement has gained momentum over the past year, with activists targeting companies that act in compliance with Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
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