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09 January 2018, 02:09 | Damon Campbell
"We have moved from defense to attack", Israel's Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan announced in a statement that listed 20 groups whose entry will now be barred by the Interior Ministry.
Israel past year enacted a law that would ban any activist who "knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel".
Hadashot News, the Israel Television News Company, first reported Saturday night that members of JVP, which has over 200,000 online supporters and 70 chapters, could be banned from entering the country.
Amnesty did not appear on Sunday's list.
"Forming a list is another step in our campaign against the false propaganda of boycott organizations", Erdan said. The movement has urged businesses, artists and universities to sever ties with Israel and it includes thousands of volunteers around the world.
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Asad Rehman, executive director of War on Want, said the blacklist is "a desperate attempt to silence a growing movement that is holding Israel to account for its systematic abuse of Palestinian rights, and persistent violations of worldwide law". It will focus on lobbying, public campaigns, solidarity visits to Israel for high-profile opinion-makers, social media campaigns and coordinated activities with pro-Israel organizations in North America and Europe. "Minister Erdan has made a decision to ban Jewish activists who oppose the occupation, although they are entitled to Israeli citizenship by the discriminatory law of return". They were chosen because they are the main ones who "operate consistently and continuously" against Israel, according to Erdan's office.
Responding to the list, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) said it would continue to work for "peace and justice". Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of JVP (Jewish Voice for Peace), issued a statement saying the ban was "disconcerting but not surprising, given the further erosion of democratic norms and rising anxiety about the power of BDS as a tool to demand freedom".
The U.S. -based Jewish Voice for Peace, which says it has more than 13,000 members, was also blacklisted.
Hassan Jabareen, general director of Adalah - The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, described the move as "reminiscent of South Africa's apartheid regime which also prepared blacklists in order to punish people and prevent the entry of those opposed to its racist policies".
In one published reaction by a BDS advocate to the new Israeli restrictions, the head of Jewish Voice for Peace in the United States emphasized her family connections to Israel. Israel has also enjoyed new economic partnerships and diplomatic ties despite calls for boycotts and it has become a top destination for global sporting and cultural events.
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