Israel to deport foreign BDS activists

Israeli officials will establish a task force to deport foreign activists promoting an international boycott of Israeli goods aiming to protest against the illegal occupation of Palestinian land.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Thousands of Pro-Palestinian protesters take to the streets of Cape Town, South Africa to protest against Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land and the persecution of Palestinians.

Israeli officials have decided to deport Pro-Palestinian activists involved in promoting an international boycott of Israeli goods.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Interior Minister Arye Dery will establish a joint task force to detect pro-boycott activists for deportation, and prevent further entry of such groups into the country.

Erdan also called Israelis to report anyone they believe has been working as an activist having entered Israel as a tourist.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Erdan said such activists “provoke Palestine violence” by visiting the West Bank, where they are believed to be most active.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted an unnamed government official as saying they were concerned about being seen as cracking down on human rights activists and would only deport those who were primarily engaged in promoting a boycott of Israel.

Neta Golan, from pro-Palestinian activist group International Solidarity Movement, defended the involvement of international volunteers in "non-violent resistance".

"We find that our presence sometimes results in reducing the level of lethal force used by the Israeli military against unarmed Palestinians.

“Further isolation of Palestinians by denying access and/or deporting human rights activists will mean that communities already vulnerable and suffering from abuse will be left even more vulnerable."

Palestine-born movement Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) has grown into a global movement advocating for an economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel until it withdraws from territories occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Much of Israeli foreign policy has been dedicated to countering the campaign's momentum by requesting foreign governments do not allow such boycotts, especially in public institutions.

This led to a significant, but temporary fallout with the European Union last year when it passed guidelines stipulating any goods from Israeli settlements in occupied territories must be labeled as such, a move seen by Israel as facilitating the boycott.

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his government had "beaten" the global movement to boycott Israeli goods.

TRTWorld and agencies