AN EL AL Boeing 777 aircraft is seen at Ben-Gurion Airport.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israeli border authorities will deny entry to a number of hardcore BDS activists who are expected to visit imminently, sources at the Strategic Affairs Ministry told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
According to the sources, “significant” members of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign are part of delegations planning to visit the Jewish state.
Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan did not specifically comment on the expected visit, but told the Post in a statement: “The policy which I have implemented is clear: BDS actors working to delegitimize Israel and harm its national security will not be allowed to enter. Every country has the right to refuse entry to foreign nationals seeking to harm it.”
He added: “This is part of the wider strategy I am leading to counter the BDS campaign and expose its true face. For too long Israel sat idly by – now we are fighting back.”
Interior Minister Arye Deri, in a statement to the Post, said: “The Interior Ministry has prevented in the past, and will prevent in the future, the entry to Israel of BDS activist whose entire purpose is to act against the state of Israel.”
He added: “We will not allow into Israel people who come to act against the state and to encourage boycotts against it.”
In March, the Knesset approved legislation barring foreign nationals who are active in the BDS movement or work on behalf of BDS entities from entering the country.
The law has been enforced against BDS activists, some of whom have ties to terrorist groups. That same month, Israel denied entry to Hugh Lanning, chairman of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the United Kingdom. Lanning met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in 2012 and posed for a group photo with him. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the US and European Union.
The assertive campaign launched by the Strategic Affairs Ministry in 2016 to take the sting out of BDS has exposed connections between BDS and proscribed terrorist organizations.
European banks, meanwhile, have shut BDS accounts because of illicit terrorism financing.