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Anti-Israel blacklist not definitive

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ILANIT CHERNICK

However, Israel’s decision to blacklist anti-Israel organisations will not be as definitive as it sounds, according to an official in Israel’s strategic affairs ministry.

Last week, that ministry, in co-operation with the interior ministry, published a blacklist of such organisations, whose members will not be allowed into the country.

BDS South Africa was listed among the 20-plus groups. Strategic affairs minister Gilad Erdan said that in this, Israel was moving from a position of defence to that of attack.

“Boycott organisations need to know that Israel will act against them and will not allow [them] to enter its territory in order to harm its citizens,” he said. “[Such groups] operate consistently, continuously and persistently against Israel by way of pressuring entities, institutes and countries to boycott Israel.”

Erdan said the activities of these organisations were carried out by way of “false propaganda campaigns, aimed at undermining Israel’s legitimacy in the world”.

“Forming a list is another step in our campaign against the false propaganda of boycott organisations,” he added. “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.”

He said the list would be passed on to the interior ministry and the Border and Population Authority.

Asked how this resolution would be implemented, the ministry official told SA Jewish Report: “The registry does not include any names of individuals, only organisations.”

However, he added: “The regulation is aimed at central figures in key boycott organisations and does not make any distinction between individuals on the basis of their country of origin, ethnicity or religion.

“Only those who demonstrate ongoing, consistent and significant action to promote the boycott against the state of Israel will be considered. Any decision on the matter will be subject to the external and security considerations of the state of Israel, with each case being judged on its own merits.”

When pressed for more details on how they would be able to identify anti-Israel activists without a list, the source would not clarify.

However, he highlighted that the regulation would not affect those organisations or people who simply criticise Israel. So, people who stand up and speak at rallies – even rallies held by organisations on the list – and criticise Israel will not be affected.  

The ministry representative specified that anyone who is banned will not be granted entry to Israel at any of its borders. This will make going to the Palestinian territories very difficult. The only other entrance is through Jordan or Egypt, and even then, visitors have to enter via an Israeli security checkpoint.

“It is important to note that all countries have the right to deny entrance to foreign nationals, and, in fact, do so based on various criteria. Israel, like all other democracies, will deny entrance to organisations and individuals working to undermine and harm Israel’s national security.”

BDS South Africa said this latest move by Israel was “a sign of the regime’s increasing desperation and a reflection of the success of the BDS movement. If anything, with this blacklist and barring of people, Israel – like apartheid South Africa – is isolating and BDSing itself!”

In response to the resolution, the ANC Western Cape branch said the move “was an attack on South Africans” and the ruling party.

“The list singles out BDS South Africa, an organisation of South African citizens, many of whom are ANC members. In the ANC-led South Africa, many of our ministers and other senior government officials including MPs, premiers, mayors and others, are vocal, public supporters of Palestine and many have addressed BDS events.” 

On Monday, national director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies Wendy Kahn said: “We can agree or disagree whether a sovereign country has a right to determine its policies of admission, but to contend that Israel’s decision not to welcome BDS activists into their borders is ‘an attack on South Africans’, is an ironic inversion of reality.”

Kahn added that the “ANC’s depiction of BDS South Africa as a ‘peaceful human rights organisation’ could not be further from the truth”.

“The ongoing anti-Semitic incidents at BDS protests and activities expose their hatred for Jewish South Africans in South Africa,” she said. “If anyone is attacking South Africans, it is BDS SA and the ANC Western Cape statement, [which] merely exposes their hypocrisy. It is time that they [the ANC] were concerned for all South Africans, not just the ones that conform to their narrative on Israel.”

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. nat cheiman

    Jan 18, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    ‘Do the ANC and BDS really want to test the resolve of the Israeli’s ?’

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