Israel OKs bill banning foreign boycott activists


On Monday, Israel's parliament voted into law a bill that denies entry visas to foreign nationals who publicly call or support any kind of boycott - economic, cultural or academic - against Israel or its West Bank Jewish settlements. The legislation could limit [press release, in Hebrew] the entry of Palestinians who are temporary residents in Israel while their applications for permanent residency are under review. The ban also applies to boycotts of any area "under Israeli control", which means it includes those who call for a boycott strictly of the settlements - which includes a significant number of prominent American Jewish figures and organizations.

The law, immediately compared by critics to Trump's Muslim ban, is a disturbing attempt to silence critics of Israeli policy, and its vagueness only increases the possibility of abuse.

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The language of the law is extremely broad and vague, referring to any individual, entity, or organization and applies not only to those who openly support the boycott, but also those who have actively taken part in a boycott efforts. "In recent years, a new antisemitic front has been initiated against Israel".

"Why should I bring someone into my house who demonizes and undermines the state?" asked panel chairman David Amsalem, a member of the Likud party.

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"With this new law, the message to young Jews, and the rest of the world is no longer: 'Come, see for yourself, let's have a discussion - even an argument in which I try to change your views". "The State of Israel creates with it own hands the ammunition for BDS activists and I call for a stop to this madness that this right-wing government is leading us into". Joint List leader Ayman Odeh told the Knesset: "These are people who act not against the state but against the occupation".

Haaretz quoted her as saying: "It's ostensibly against the boycotters of Israel but it doesn't make a distinction between Israel and the settlements and it thus serves the BDS movement". Many U.S. Jewish groups slammed the new law. Such a move could be destabilising because the Palestinians want to have the capital of an independent Palestinian state in the east of the city and the final status of the city is supposed to be determined via direct negotiations between the Israel and the Palestine.

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- Israel has stepped up its battle against global critics with a new law that would bar entry to supporters of an worldwide boycott movement against the Jewish state.