ADL Slams Israel's Travel Ban: 'New Law Harms' Fight Against BDS

'We are deeply invested in fighting scourge of BDS and delegitimization. This law doesn’t help,' Anti-Defamation League says.

A BDS demonstration in Melbourne, Australia, 2010.
Mohammed Ouda/Wikimedia Commons

The Anti-Defamation League slammed Israel’s new travel ban on Wednesday and said the legislation will cause more harm than good in the battle against boycotts targeting Israel.

The new law, approved by Knesset on Monday, will deny entry into Israel to foreign nationals openly calling for boycotts against Israel and its settlements in the West Bank.

"We are deeply invested in fighting scourge of BDS and delegitimization. This law doesn’t help," the organization tweeted, referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement. "Israel’s democracy, pluralism, open society serve as best defense against BDS. New law harms rather than helps."

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The ADL's tweet and a statement published on Tuesday by the American Jewish Committee point out that the bill is opposed not only by Jewish groups clearly affiliated with the left-wing, such as J Street, but also by more centrist organizations. The AJC, like the ADL, said that while it was fully committed to battling BDS, it did not view the bill approved on Monday by the Knesset as helpful in that regard. 

Other Jewish-American organizations that have spoken out against the new bill so far include the New Israel Fund, whose leadership strongly denounced the bill.

J Street, a leading leftist Jewish group, said in a statement that it was "alarmed" by the legislation and that "there are strong supporters and friends of Israel who participate in or advocate for targeted boycotts of the settlement enterprise beyond the Green Line, motivated by a desire to oppose the occupation and support the two-state solution."

The ban would apply not just to people who call for boycotts against Israel, but also to those who call for boycotts of any Israeli institution or any “area under its control” – i.e., the settlements.