Israel has long decried groups like BDS, a movement that wants to isolate Israel over its policies towards Palestinians.

Anti-Israel policy protesters outside the Belgian foreign affairs building in Brussels. (File photo)
Anti-Israel policy protesters outside the Belgian foreign affairs building in Brussels. (File photo)

Israel's Knesset (parliament) on Monday approved a new law barring entry to foreigners who publicly support the boycott of Israel.

Individuals or representatives of groups publicly calling for a boycott excluding Israeli citizens and permanent residents will not be granted visas, according to the law.

"A visa will not be granted nor a residence permit of any kind to any person who is not an Israeli citizen or permanent resident if he, or the organisation or body in which he is active, has knowingly issued a public call to boycott the state of Israel or pledged to take part in such a boycott," a statement on the Knesset's website read.

"In recent years calls to boycott Israel have been growing ... it seems this is a new front in the war against Israel, which until now the country had not prepared for properly," the statement said.

Israel's parliament yesterday evening said it had passed into law a bill barring entry into the country to those supporting a boycott of the Jewish state.

"The knesset (parliament) passed on its second and third readings the Entry into Israel bill," it said in a statement

"A visa will not be granted nor a residence permit of any kind to any person who is not an Israeli citizen or permanent resident if he, or the organisation or body in which he is active, has knowingly issued a public call to boycott the state of Israel or pledged to take part in such a boycott," a statement said.

Israel has been faced with a boycott movement over its nearly 50-year occupation of the West Bank but it has lately intensified the diplomatic and legal fight against it.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement campaigns for a global boycott of Israel until, among other demands, the country withdraws from all occupied Palestinian territories.

Israel sees the movement as a strategic threat and accuses it of anti-Semitism — a claim BDS denies.

Haaretz newspaper said that the wording of the new law left open the possibility that it could be used against Palestinians living in Israel as temporary residents, while their applications for permanent residence were being considered.

Such a process is required by Palestinians seeking right of abode with their Israeli Arab spouses.

Last year Israeli authorities refused to renew the travel documents of prominent BDS campaigner Omar Barghouti.

His family are Palestinian but he was born in the Gulf state of Qatar.

He is married to an Israeli-Arab and as such has permanent resident status, although not full citizenship.

But Interior Minister Aryeh Deri has been considering revoking Barghouti's residence permit, the ministry has said.

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Israel has long decried groups like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which wants to isolate Israel over policies towards the Palestinians.

The BDS movement campaigns for a global boycott of Israel until, among other demands, the country withdraws from all occupied Palestinian territories.

Israel sees the movement as a strategic threat and accuses it of anti-Semitism — a claim BDS denies.

TRT World spoke to Tel Aviv-based journalist Gregg Carlstrom about the law and its targets.

Palestinians may be affected

Israel's Haaretz newspaper said that the wording of the new law left open the possibility that it could be used against Palestinians living in Israel as temporary residents, while their applications for permanent residence are being considered.

Such a process is required by Palestinians seeking right of abode with their Israeli-Arab spouses.

Last year, Israeli authorities refused to renew the travel documents of prominent BDS campaigner Omar Barghouti.

His family are Palestinian, but he was born in the Gulf state of Qatar.

He is married to an Israeli-Arab and as such has permanent resident status, although not full citizenship.

But Israel's Interior Minister Aryeh Deri has been considering revoking Barghouti's residence permit, the ministry has said.

It was unclear when the new policy would take effect, and whether exceptions could be made.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies