Photo Credit: Gilad Erdan's Facebook page
Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud)

Recently, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan published a blacklist banning the entry into Israel of some 20 NGOs from Europe, the United States, Chile and South Africa, which are engaged in leading boycotts against Israel.

The Lev HaOlam organization, which markets products made in Judea and Samaria, has issued a survey of the reactions of BDS groups around the world to Minister Erdan’s move. Enclosed are but a few samples:

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Kemal Hawwash, a known BDS activist in England, who is now banned from entering Israel, wrote on his personal blog that he and the head of Jewish Voice for Peace, Rebecca Vilkomerson, were hit “hard by the ban… First, I for now and Rebecca potentially are unable to visit Israel and the OPT to show our solidarity with Palestinians.”

He added his hopes the Israeli regime “will be consigned to the dustbin of history.”

The American group Jewish Voice for Peace has played a major role in campaigning for BDS and was named among the top 10 anti-Israel groups by the Anti Defamation League.

The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) wrote on its Facebook page that the ban is an “attack on free speech.”

The “Middle East Eye” website ran an op-ed by a central figure in the BDS Movement, that said “the goal of Israel is to hide war crimes” and described Erdan’s action as “intimidation and violation of the right to freedom of expression and of movement.”

The Facebook page of the French-based AFPS offered a message describing the move as a “serious threat to freedom of thought and access to Occupied Palestine.”

Another French organization wrote, “We will not be able to reach the youth organization with which we collaborate in the West Bank. We won’t be able to coordinate projects… This is Israel’s way of silencing us.”

The Friends of Al Aqsa (FOA) wrote that “the blacklist clearly demonstrates how far Israel is willing to go to stifle the legitimate voice of dissent… immediate concerns raised are the implications for those who wish to travel to the Holy Al-Aqsa sanctuary.” A comment, now deleted, on the page, roused visitors to “forget signatures, get your guns, it’s time for action.”

The Irish ISPC called on its Facebook page for the European Union to condemn the move by Israel and cut ties: “The apartheid regime wants to arrest our colleagues… scary, sad, anti-Democratic.”

Attorney Nati Rom, CEO of Lev HaOlam, said in response, “We are pleased by and bless the decision by Minister Erdan to take a strong stance. This is another step towards stopping groups that aim to harm Israel, [which] has led these groups to show their true faces and only reinforces the need to refuse these individuals entry into the country. Their outrage and concern show that Minister Erdan is pressuring the right spot.”

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