Government Pushing Bill That Would Bar Boycott Supporters From Entering Israel

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A BDS stand at the University of California Berkeley, January 2015. Credit: Noam Eshel

Israel’s governing coalition is planning to advance a bill in the coming weeks which, if it becomes law, will bar individuals who have called for boycotts of Israel from entering the country.

The law is likely to apply to people who have called for boycotts of products produced in Israeli settlements, as well.

The proposed legislation is the latest in a series of steps Israel has taken against the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanction (BDS) movement and similar organizations.

On Monday, the Knesset Ministerial Committee for Legislation decided to support an identical bill put forward by MK Yinon Magal (Habayit Hayehudi,) but urged him to wait roughly a month to allow the coalition to formulate its own bill. Magal’s bill had the support of 25 other Knesset members from various parties, including Kulanu, Likud and Zionist Union.

“Approval for this bill is necessary,” Magal said. “It is unacceptable that individuals trying to cause harm to Israel are allowed to enter freely. Anyone who calls for a boycott of Israel is engaging in terrorism and must not be allowed to travel the country freely.”

According to Magal’s bill, “anyone who is not an Israeli citizen or a permanent resident will not be granted any kind of visa or permit if they, or any company, organization or foundation they represent, calls for a boycott of Israel.”

If the bill becomes law, it will grant the interior minister special authority to issue visas or permits in exceptional cases. According to the documentation accompanying Magal’s bill, “in recent years, calls for boycotting Israel have intensified. It seems that this is a new front of war against Israel, which the country has yet to sufficiently prepare for. This bill will prevent individuals or representatives of companies, foundations or organizations that call for boycotting Israel from advancing their ideology on Israeli soil.”

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