Israel Says Jewish Voice for Peace on BDS Blacklist, Activists Will Not Be Allowed Entry

Strategic Affairs Ministry, which is compiling the list, refuses to name 19 other organizations whose members will be barred from entering the country

Members of Jewish Voice for Peace protest in Washington, on July 21, 2014
Atheer Ahmed Kakan / Anadolu Age

The left-wing organization Jewish Voice for Peace has been placed on a BDS blacklist being compiled by Israel, the Strategic Affairs Ministry confirmed on Saturday, following a report by the Israel Television News Company.

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The ministry has been compiling a list of 20 organizations whose members will not be allowed to enter Israel due to their support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. The ministry has refused to name the other organizations that are on the list.

>>The Jewish voice at the heart of the boycott Israel movement ■ The BDS blacklist: How Israel will discern who enters and who is barred

The list, which is expected to be compiled in March, will then be passed on to the Interior Ministry, which will be responsible for implementing it.

A joint team from the Strategic Affairs and Interior ministries has already determined the parameters that will serve as a basis for barring activists from coming into the country. Those who hold senior or important positions in blacklisted organizations will be denied entry, as well as key activists, even if they hold no official position.

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Mayors and establishment figures who actively and continually promote boycotts will also be prevented from entering, as will activists who arrive to Israel on behalf of or as part of a delegation initiated by one of blacklisted groups.

Two weeks ago, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said that “because the list is still in the process of being prepared, it hasn’t been used as of yet. ... At this point, as long as there’s no final list, the cases are examined ad hoc and the ministry’s recommendation is given based on the data received.”

Jewish Voice For Peace Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson said that "Israel’s decision to specifically ban JVP leaders from entry is disconcerting but not surprising, given the consistent erosion of democratic norms as well as increasing fear of the BDS movement in Israel. JVP members are now joining Palestinians, Muslims from around the world, people of color and other activists who are often barred from entry."

"Our JVP members have no doubt about the justice of fighting for equality and freedom for all people in Israel/Palestine, and the legitimacy of BDS to bring that closer," Vilkomerson continued. "We will not be bullied by these attempts to punish us for a principled political stance that increasing numbers of Jews and all people worldwide support." 

Vilkomerson added that "as someone with considerable family in Israel, this policy will be a personal hardship. But I also believe it is an indicator of the BDS movement's growing strength and hope that it will bring us closer to the day when all people in Israel/Palestine will live together in equality and freedom."