A Chilean citizen of Palestinian descent urged his country to refuse entry to Israeli tourists after he was barred from entering Israel on April 10.
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Anuar Majluf, executive director of the Palestinian Federation of Chile and a prominent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement activist, was refused entry when he arrived in Israel leading an annual Easter pilgrimage.
“The Chilean government should act reciprocally and refuse entry to Israeli citizens who come as tourists to Chile. If Israel knew that its repressive actions and laws have consequences, it would be much less likely to enact them,” he said.
Chilean Senator Eugenio Tuma, who is of Arab descent, slammed Israel for barring Majluf. “As Chile allows the free entry and passage of Israeli citizens, it is unacceptable that Israel openly violates the rights of Chilean citizens,” said Tuma, whose statement was echoed by two other Chilean congressmen.
As a public promoter of the BDS movement, Majluf acts to undermine bilateral relations between Israel and Chile, with an emphasis on economic ties and trade.
Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan described Majluf as “a major boycott activist whose organization is trying to significantly harm Israel” and said his attempt to enter the country was “intended for this purpose.”
The move to bar Majluf came after the Knesset gave its final approval to a bill that forbids granting entry visas or residency rights to foreign nationals who call for economic, cultural or academic boycotts of either Israel or the settlements.
In February, a senior official of an entity tied to the Chilean government threatened to expel Israeli tourists from hostels in the country after a group was removed from a national park.
One month before, a young Jewish and gay activist wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the flag of Israel was attacked at a Santiago park and suffered several razor cuts perpetrated by three men who carried neo-Nazi symbols.
Chile is home to some 15,000 Jews. The country is also believed to host the largest Palestinian community outside of the Arab world, with more than 300,000 members.